Time: The time is separated from the previous act by ten years. Yuan Shikai is dead and imperialism is causing China to be cut up by warlords. There are frequent calls to mobilize for civil war. Early summer, in the morning.
Place: As in the previous act
[The curtain rises: The teahouses in the city of Beijing are closing one after another. “Yu Tai” is one of the few remaining great teahouses but has changed its style to avoid being weeded out. ...
Wang Shufen: (Seeing that Li San's ponytail is in the way) Li San, our teahouse has already been renovated. Shouldn't your ponytail should be cut off too?
Li San: Let's improve it! Let's improve it! The more we improve the more cool — as cool as ice.
Wang Shufen: Well, we can't really say that. You see, Li San, I hear that the Detai teahouse in Xizhimen, the Guangtai teahouse at Beixin Bridge, and the Tiantai teahouse in front of the Drum Tower have all closed one after another. Our Yutai teahouse is the only one still open. Why is that? Isn't it because Shunzi's father understands how to renovate?
Li San: Heng! The emperor did not have it and in the end there was a big renovation! Renovate or not, Yuan Shikai would have been better as the emperor. After Yuan Shikai died there was a bunch of chaos. Today canon fire, tomorrow closing a city. Is that improvement? Heng! I will keep my ponytail just in case the emperor comes back.
Wang Shufen: Don't be obstinate, Li San. Other people have given us a republic and we still do not follow? Look, we clean and clean but it is not as neat and good looking as before. Doesn't specializing in entertaining cultured people require even more dignity? However, you insist on wearing a ponytail and it is not pleasing to the eye.
Source: Lao She, 2010. Tea House 《茶馆》. Hainan Press, Haikou, Hainan, pp. 25-26.
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This page was last updated on 2017-11-21.