Looking West to Chang’an is a five-act satire comedy authored by the Chinese writer Laoshe on the basis of “the First Political Fraud Case of the New China” in 1956. The comedy tells an absurd and thought-provoking tale. With mean trickery, leading role LI Wancheng forges his personal details and CV to get official posts. People place trust in him with credulity and degrade into cat's paws to help him garner fame and fortune. And some victims even help the deceiver get married. Until a few vigilant comrades become aware of his deception, so the public security organ investigates and cracks down on the criminal case. In vivid and humorous style, Laoshe depicts a dozen figures with distinctive characters. The whole drama demonstrates strong irony and practical significance.
In July 1955, when the Second Session of the First National People’s Congress was held, LUO Ruiqing (Minister of Public Security) revealed a deceiver LI Wanming’s crime in his speech: From 1951 onwards, the liar wandered about a dozen domestic cities and intruded into important governmental organs within four years. He not only pretended to be a combat hero, but also served important positions in state organs.
Presenter: WANG Ning
Art Director: XU Xiaozhong
Stage Director: YUAN Jinhong
Set Designer: LI Bin
Lighting Designer: KONG Yifan
Costume Designer: NING Fangguo
Make-up Designer: LIN Ying
Props Designer: JIN Jifeng
Sound Designer: WANG Lei
Movement Designer: GUO Shuang
Cast (According to the order of appearance)
LI Wancheng: WANG Haowei＊
JING Youzhong: GUO Shuojie＊
CHENG Erli/JIN Dan: LIU Beibei＊
YANG Zhuguo: WU Song＊
PING Yiqi: WANG Wenjie＊
Mrs. LIN: WANG Yue＊
BU Xilin/WANG Lemin: CHEN Xiwen＊
LIN Shutong: MENG Yu
DA Yuqin: WANG Qianyu＊
MA Zhao: LIU Wenyi＊
FENG Futing: MA Qinglong
TANG Shiqing: LUO Wei＊
DU Renxian: LIU Xiaowen＊
Guest Accordionist: LIU Rui
＊Stands for the member of NCPA Drama Ensemble
LI proclaims that he used to be chief of staff in a regiment, and has served at the front in Huaihai Campaign. When he fought against enemies in a hand-to-hand combat, his left leg was wounded. A bullet was also left in his neck. He is hailed as “hero” by common folks, and takes the post of section member of Ankang Civil Affairs Branch. Then he is sent to the Northwest Cadre Training Class to learn agricultural technology.
After a month, LI lies, saying, “The Organization Department of Military and Political University will send me to accept military training in central and southern regions to join battle in War to Resist the US Aggression and Aid Korea.” Other trainees admire him very much and give an impassioned farewell party. An admirer makes a walking stick out of mahogany to help him walk stably.
Upon arrival in the central and southern regions, LI claims that he has just returned from the battleground of War to Resist the US Aggression and Aid Korea. Accordingly, he wins an honorary title, “Battle Hero of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army”. He crows about his heroic deeds of hand-to-hand combat against two American soldiers. Pretty DA Yuqin worship heroes since childhood, and she wishes to marry him. She adores LI’s so-called heroic experiences and falls in love with him. She believes all that LI has told her, and thinks he will become an even greater hero. After leaders act as go-between, DA gets married to LI. Immediately, LI claims that previous leaders intend to transfer him to Beijing, and his application for job transfer has been approved.
LI is transferred as section chief of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Beijing. However, he is always hospitalized on the excuse of poor health. Encouraged by LI’s brave spirit, JING Youzhong also joins battle in War to Resist the US Aggression and Aid Korea. After JING is transferred to civilian work from the army, he also assumes a post in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. JING encounters LI again, but he has doubts of LI’s words and deeds. Therefore, he turns into a whistle-blower. But DA obstructs him in every possible way. Meanwhile, LI claims that the army has mobilised him to attend a military meeting in Lanzhou, and he departs from Beijing.
LI makes an excuse to meet his old friend — Director Yang of Agricultural and Forestry Institute, but he heads for Xi’an from Lanzhou. He hardly realizes that the Public Security Department of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has begun to suspect and investigate his details. After Director Lin of Department of Agriculture and Forestry and trainees of Northwest Cadre Training Class hand over evidence, with references to archives and documents, TANG Shiqing, an official of the Public Security Department, “draws a snake out of its hole”, and sheds LI’s swindle into to the light. Finally, the liar confesses to his crime of posing as a hero.