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单田芳,将中国古老传统推向现代的评书大师

更新时间:2018-9-19 20:13:18 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Shan Tianfang, a Superstar of Chinese Storytelling, Dies at 83
单田芳,将中国古老传统推向现代的评书大师

Shan Tianfang, a storyteller whose energetic oral renditions of classical Chinese novels and historical events propelled the ancient pingshu tradition into the modern age for generations of Chinese, died on Sept. 11 in Beijing. He was 83.

说书人单田芳于9月11日在北京去世,享年83岁。他对中国古典小说和历史事件做出充满激情的演绎,将古老的评书传统推向现代,让几代中国人得以欣赏。

The cause was multiple organ failure, said Xiao Jianlu, Mr. Shan’s business associate and the manager of the Shan Tianfang Culture Communication Company.

单田芳的业务合伙人、单田芳文化传播公司经理肖建陆称他死于多器官衰竭。

Mr. Shan tried for many years to avoid becoming a performer of pingshu, the Song dynasty-era storytelling tradition. Growing up in 1950s China in a family of folk art performers, he had seen struggle firsthand. It was a life of constant financial troubles and low social status.

单田芳曾经并不希望成为这种源于宋代的故事讲说传统的表演者。他在20世纪50年代中国的一个民间艺人家庭长大,亲眼目睹了这一行的艰难。那是一种持续处于经济困境、社会地位低下的生活。

So it was with great reluctance when, out of financial necessity, he became an apprentice to a family friend who was a master of pingshu. He made his debut in 1956.

因此,当他出于生计上的需要,成为一个家族朋友——一个评书大师——的徒弟时,他非常不情愿。他于1956年首次登台演出。

In the pingshu tradition, the performer wears a traditional gown and sits behind a desk equipped with a folding fan and a wooden block, which is used like a gavel. The storyteller recounts a legend — typically a classical Chinese epic — from memory, using different voices and exaggerated gestures as well as adding occasional background detail and commentary.

在评书传统中,表演者身着传统的长袍,坐在桌子后面。桌上有一把折扇和一个作醒木之用的木块。说书人讲述通常来自中国古典史诗的传奇故事。他们根据记忆来表演,使用不同的声音、夸张的手势,偶尔还加入背景细节和评论。

Mr. Shan grew to love the storytelling form, which is popular across northern China. It is a demanding profession that combines acting, oration, writing, historical research and literary criticism and requires countless hours of memorization.

单田芳渐渐喜欢上了这种在中国北方流行的讲故事方式。这是一个要求很高的职业,集表演、演说、写作、历史研究和文学评论于一体,需要记忆无数个小时的材料。

But bothered by what he felt were the many historical inaccuracies and superstitious fantasies found in the classical epics, Mr. Shan, who had studied history, soon began performing his own interpretations based on his meticulous historical research.

不过,在古典史诗中发现的许多历史错误和迷信幻想令单田芳感到烦恼。曾研究历史的他很快就开始根据自己对历史的细致研究进行诠释和表演。

In teahouses around the northeastern region, he became celebrated for his fresh takes on the classics.

在东北地区的许多茶馆里,他以对经典的新颖演绎而闻名。

“The new China was not the same as before,” he once said in an interview. “People wanted to see a pure stage free of superstition with characters that actually made sense.”

“新中国不一样,”他曾在一次采访中说。“要求净化舞台、破除迷信,这些色彩都得清除。”

He soon discovered that performing on radio was vastly different from doing so in teahouses. There were no props, no reactions from the audience to guide him — just Mr. Shan and the microphone in a recording studio.

他很快发现,在电台表演和在茶馆表演有很大的不同。电台没有道具,没有观众的反应来引导他——只有单田芳自己和录音棚里的麦克风。

So for his first radio performance, an abridged version of the historical novel “The Romance of Sui and Tang Dynasties,” Mr. Shan used the studio’s three recording technicians as his audience and adjusted his performance based on their reactions.

因此,在他的第一次广播演出——节略版的历史小说《隋唐演义》中,单田芳用了演播室三名录音师作为观众,根据他们的反应对自己的表演进行调整。

The performance had its premiere in 1980 on Chinese New Year, and more than 100 million Chinese were estimated to have tuned in during the 56 hours over which it was broadcast. It was the beginning of a dramatic second act both for Mr. Shan and for pingshu in the People’s Republic of China. He was soon a household name across the country.

这次表演于1980年在中国农历新年首播,在播出的56个小时里,估计有超过1亿中国观众收听。对于单田芳和中国评书来说,这都标志着戏剧性的第二春的开始。他很快在全国家喻户晓。

“In the 1980s everyone had a radio, so you could hear Shan Tianfang everywhere, in homes and in taxis,” Zhu Dake, a Chinese cultural critic, said in an interview. “He took a traditional art form and made it popular by adapting it to the new era in the most simple way.”

“上世纪80年代,每个人都有一台收音机,所以在家里和出租车里,到处都能听到单田芳的声音,”中国文化评论家朱大可在接受采访时说,“他采用了一种传统的艺术形式,并通过最简单的方式使其适应新时代,而变得流行起来。”

Over six decades, Mr. Shan recorded more than 110 stories for radio and television totaling about 12,000 episodes and spanning 6,000 hours. His best-known works include his renditions of Chinese classics like “White-Eyebrow Hero” and “Sanxia Wuyi” and his dramatizations of historical figures like Zhuge Liang and Lin Zexu.

60多年来,单田芳为广播和电视录制了110多个故事,总共约12000集,时长6000小时。他最著名的作品包括对《白眉大侠》、《三侠五义》等中国经典名著的演绎,以及对诸葛亮、林则徐等历史人物的戏剧化改编。

Even today, hop into a Beijing taxi and the driver may be listening to one of Mr. Shan’s recordings.

即使在今天,如果你坐上一辆北京出租车,司机可能还是在听单田芳的录音。

“For my generation, Shan Tianfang was a master,” said Zhao Fuwei, 48, a Beijing taxi driver. “If back then there was such thing as a viral star, then Shan Tianfang was definitely the hottest viral star.”

“对我们这代人来说,单田芳就是一个大师,”48岁的北京出租车司机赵福为(音)说,“过去是没有网红一说,要是像现在这样,那单老爷子准是网红。”

“Listening to his stories has made it easier to kill time in bad traffic,” Mr. Zhao added. “He was so good at making complicated historical stories simple and interesting. You feel like you could relate to the characters in his stories, even though they lived a long time ago.”

“北京这破路,堵死,听听书还舒服点,”赵先生接着说,“人家能把复杂故事简单化,听着特别带劲儿。虽然他讲的都是古人的事,但是你能感觉到自己和这些人物能产生共鸣。”

Shan Chuanzhong was born on Dec. 17, 1934, in Tianjin, China. His mother, Wang Xianggui, was a stage actress. His father, Shan Yongkui, was a folk musician who played the sanxian, a three-stringed Chinese lute.

单传忠(单田芳本名——译注)于1934年12月17日在中国天津出生。他的母亲王香桂是一名舞台演员。他的父亲单永魁则是一名民间音乐家,主要演奏一种名叫“三弦”的中国弹拨乐器。

Growing up, Mr. Shan and his four sisters frequently moved around northeastern China with their parents, an experience that left him longing for a more stable life and career. But in the early 1950s, when his parents divorced and his mother left the family, Mr. Shan gave up his dream of being a doctor and embraced his performance heritage.

在成长的过程中,单田芳和他的四个妹妹在中国东北地区频繁搬家。因为有着这样的一段经历,单田芳非常希望拥有一个稳定的生活和工作。但是,在20世纪50年代早期,他的父母离异,母亲离开了这个家。而从那以后,单田芳就放弃了当医生的梦想,接过了家里做表演行当的衣钵。

After completing his apprenticeship with a pingshu master, he joined a folk arts troupe in Anshan, a town in northeastern China known then for its teahouses and pingshu performers.

他先跟着一个评书师父做学徒,学成后加入了一个民间曲艺团。这个团体驻扎在鞍山,而在那时候,这个东北小镇正是一个以茶馆和评书闻名的地方。

He found early success on the regional teahouse circuit until the Cultural Revolution, beginning in 1966, derailed his career for a decade.

在演艺生涯的初期,单田芳在鞍山地区的茶馆里表演,演出非常成功。但到了1966年,中国开始进行文化大革命,他的演艺生涯也因此沉寂了十余年。

He is survived by his son, Shan Ruilin; his daughter, Shan Huili; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. His wife, Wang Quangui, died in 1992.

单田芳身后留有他的儿子单瑞林,女儿单慧莉,两个孙辈,以及一个重孙。他的妻子王全桂已于1992年去世。

The revival of Mr. Shan’s career in the early 1980s and his subsequent rise to national prominence paralleled the re-emergence of the pingshu tradition.

单田芳在20世纪80年代复出,随后享誉全国,而与此同时,评书这一传统也重新出现在大众面前。

But in recent years many of the great pingshu performers have died, and the tradition is fading. By the time Mr. Shan retired in 2007, interest in pingshu among Chinese had all but been replaced by mobile phones and gaming.

然而近年来,许多优秀的评书人都相继去世,这一传统也在逐渐消失。到了2007年单田芳退休的时候,中国人对评书的兴趣已经被手机和游戏所取代。

Nevertheless, even after retiring, Mr. Shan worked tirelessly to promote pingshu among young Chinese, mentoring apprentices and starting a school dedicated to the folk arts.

然而,即使在退休后,单田芳也依然辛勤地工作,在中国年轻人当中推广评书、教导学徒,还办了一家民间艺术学校。

Ever willing to adapt to new technologies, he posted a message to his Sina Weibo microblog account on Sept. 6, five days before his death. It was an announcement about a new live-streamed lecture series about pingshu.

对于生活里出现的新科技,单田芳始终抱着接纳的态度。在他去世的前五天,也就是9月6日,他还在他的新浪微博账号上发送了一条消息。在那条微博里,他向大家宣布,他的线上评书公开课开讲了。

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