Ms. Lin Xiling was born in 1935, and studied law. At one time, she was a reporter for China Youth Daily. In 1957, Mao Zedong(1) called her the typical "rightist."(1) For this, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) put her in jail for 15 years. In 1979, the CCP pardoned all the rightists in China. Deng Xiaoping mandated that five of them could not be pardoned. Ms. Lin was one of the five. The other four have passed away. Thus, Ms. Lin is known as "the last rightist in China." She moved to France in 1983 and now lives in the United States.
Ms. Lin Xiling began her literature and art career at a young age, and is famous for being "the last rightist in China." She has seen four performances by the Divine Performing Arts company. Before Christmas 2007, after watching Holiday Wonders in New York for the second time, Ms. Lin was moved and felt hope returning for the future. A week later, Ms. Lin's memories and feelings from the show fresh in her mind, she accepted our interview.
Ms. Lin: "My parents were both "Shanghai Style" artists. My father had a good voice, and was a fan of theater and Chinese opera. He used to carry me on his shoulders to watch Master Mei Lanfang's performances. My mother was born in an educated family and was a music teacher and composer. I had a good artistic education growing up.
"I joined the army entertainment corps when I was only 13 years old. I was very capable and could play many musical instruments, sing, and direct. I watched countless performances in China, by Chinese or international performers. After going into exile, I watched many premier international shows in Paris, Sydney, and Vienna, but the Divine Performing Arts shows moved my heart like nothing has before.
A Longing Fulfilled: Divine Performing Arts Displays the Serene Beauty of Heaven and Man as One
"I have been wondering, what has caused me to watch the shows by the Divine Performing Arts company repeatedly? Why has it touched my soul so deeply?" I think on the surface the show manifests the beauty of heaven and earth.
"The show displays solemn divine kingdoms, the graceful Qing Dynasty palace, and the battle between good and evil happening in China right now. It also displays images from the great Tang Dynasty's battlefields, to the flower blossoms of Southern China's water townships, to the dreamy realms of Western musical serenades. The high-tech three-dimensional scenery creates perfect visual effects that guide the audience through a cultural journey that transcends time and space.
"In the opening program, "Descent of the Celestial Kings," when the Lord Buddha comes down from the cosmos riding on an imperial chariot, those heavenly horses flying over the audiences' heads with their huge wings flapping, filled people with hope that the Lord of Buddhas has come to save sentient beings with mercy. In "Hou Yi Shooting Down Nine Suns," as nine birds fly in the sky, one by one turning into burning suns, the orchestra music helps express the beings (and the audience) living in terror with nowhere to hide. "Lady of the Moon," represented to me a realistically large and cold Moon Palace. How these great stories could be displayed so gorgeously on stage is beyond my imagination!
"I used to long for heaven and man to be one, and I used to pray for heaven and man to be one, but this dream was getting more and more blurry. The Divine Performing Arts shows manifest the serene beauty of heaven and man as one, which I have long dreamed of, but could not see. Beholding the scene under the Tian Shan Mountain, known as a land of magical power and gifted talents, innocent young maidens dance in yellow dresses, handsome young men dance with sincere warm energy ... This by itself is a beautiful painting depicting the scenery of the Xinjiang region!
Divine Performing Arts Redefines Harmony Between Male Strength and Female Charm
"Drummers of the Tang Court" carries clear flowing rhythm, manifesting the true Chinese spirit of a pillar of strength, of vital livelihood, and fills one with a surge of energy. The drumming is exciting, and chases away the dark clouds. It moves the audience powerfully with its mighty righteousness. Sometimes the drumming is soft and slow, raising people's hope and happiness from the bottom of their hearts. When the drumming ends with its sound in unison, shaking the universe, people's hearts are filled with sunlight and there are no shadows. Suddenly I realized that these young men are the embodiment of "male strength."
"The great Tang Dynasty was the most splendid time in Chinese history. To me, the men in the Tang Dynasty period could "catch a tiger in the mountains and seize a dragon in the sea." They are full of masculinity, confident and calm, and follow their pursuit of virtue with a solid will. I thought that in modern China, after more than 50 years of communist rule, our nation's backbone has been broken. Where can you see strong men with inner peace? A true man who can "carry virtue with iron shoulders" is hard to find, but the Tang Dynasty drummers thoroughly display the spirit of the Chinese men and allowed me to see hope for our nation's renaissance.
"I also have to mention the dance "Water Sleeves." My mother is from Southern China, and I lived in Southern China for almost half of my life. The scenery displayed the Southern China water townships is so bright and graceful. The lake is clean, there is a little curved bridge, and colorful flowers ... This is the hometown that I remember in my dreams!
"Girls as pure as flower buds dance in between the clear springs and flowers. Their steps are as soft as clouds flowing on water, and as a breeze on the surface of a lake. They are like water fairies. The quiet and elegant movements soothe people's hearts, and their pure clean minds bring tears to people's eyes. They used water sleeves shedding flower petals, fanned in the spring breeze, and led the audience in dancing together with them in the clouds. When the music ends, the girls leave softly, but their divine spirits still echo in the audiences' minds.
"The Divine Performing Arts redefines the harmonious grace of male strength and female charm.
Divine Performing Arts Awakens the Best in Humanity
"As an erhu player, I highly recommend Ms. Qi Xiaochun's "Redemptive Suffering." It is the most piercing and soul-stirring erhu performance I have ever heard. I was so moved that tears ran down my cheeks. I used to like "The Moon Mirrored in the Second Spring Pool" composed by Hua Yanjun, and "Groaning in Illness" by Liu Tianhua. However, from Ms. Qi's "Redemptive Suffering," I experienced an overpowering sense of mercy. The compassion is beyond description, surpassing all, and can save all the suffering people in the world. Ms. Qi's "Redemptive Suffering" is the best erhu piece I have heard and is unprecedented in both ancient and modern times.
"Also, the superior composer, conductor, and orchestra that bring divine music to the audience, the marvelous tenor and soprano who communicate to the audience with their sincere hearts, the elegant compeers who are so humorous, but genuine ... I deeply admire all of them.
"Divine Performing Arts succeeded at blending both Eastern and Western traditional cultures, and has created the new true human culture. It has awakened the best of humanity, and serves as guidance to the ascension of mankind."
(1) Mao Zedong took lesson from a failed Hungarian uprising crushed by the Soviet Union in 1956. The uprising was caused by intellectuals who sponsored forums and debates about the Hungarian government. Mao planned to trap intellectuals, who took their responsibility for the Chinese people seriously, by asking them to "help the CCP rectify itself." He said there would be no retaliation for their suggestions. Thereafter over 500,000 people, who made suggestions, were labeled as "rightists" alongside their families, and exiled to the countryside for reeducation by labor, or were imprisoned.