《紐約時報》訃告緬懷單田芳:將中國古老傳統推向現代的評書大師丨外媒說

「欲知後事如何,且聽下回分解。」

一桌、一椅、一扇、一撫尺,評書表演藝術家單田芳講述著一段段歷史傳奇,各方英雄好漢、亂世梟雄紛紛登場。

2018年9月11日,評書大師單田芳因病逝世。國內媒體報導、紀念單田芳的同時,美國《紐約時報》(The New York Times)也發布了長文訃告(obituary),回顧他作為說書人的一生,緬懷單田芳。

在文章開篇,《紐約時報》評價他:「將古老的評書傳統推向現代,讓幾代中國人得以欣賞。」

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.

說書人單田芳於9月11日在北京去世,享年83歲。他對中國古典小說和歷史事件做出充滿激情的演繹,將古老的評書傳統推向現代,讓幾代中國人得以欣賞。

renditionn. 譯文;演奏

早年時光:曾未想入此行

回顧單田芳的一生,文中寫道:上世紀50年代,說書這一行業社會地位低下,出生於民間藝人家庭的單田芳並未想過走上這一行。

單田芳

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.

單田芳曾經並不希望成為這種源於宋代的故事講說傳統的表演者。他在20世紀50年代中國的一個民間藝人家庭長大,親眼目睹了這一行的艱難。那是一種持續處於經濟困境、社會地位低下的生活

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,當他出於生計上的需要,拜一個評書大師為師,他也是單田芳的家族朋友。當時單田芳非常不情願,1956年,他首次登台演出。

評書是怎樣的一種藝術形式呢?看《紐約時報》是如何描寫的:

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.

在評書傳統中,表演者身著傳統的長袍,坐在桌子後面。桌上有一把折扇和一個作醒木之用的木塊。說書人講述通常來自中國古典史詩的傳奇故事。他們根據記憶來表演,使用不同的聲音、誇張的手勢,偶爾還加入背景細節和評論。

即便入行時並不情願,但後來,他漸漸地愛上了這一行

更難能可貴的是,他精益求精。

單田芳仔細鑽研,研究歷史,在古典史詩中發現的歷史錯誤、迷信幻想,他都能基於自己的研究進行糾正,並用獨樹一幟的風格進行詮釋:

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.

單田芳漸漸喜歡上了這種在中國北方流行的講故事方式。這是一個要求很高的職業,集表演、演說、寫作、歷史研究和文學評論於一體,需要記憶無數個小時的材料。

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.

不過,在古典史詩中發現的許多歷史錯誤和迷信幻想令單田芳感到煩惱。基於自己對歷史的研究,他很快就開始用自己的詮釋和理解進行表演

有了這樣的基礎,在東北地區的許多茶館裡,他以對經典的新穎演繹而聞名。

廣播時代:聲名鵲起

文革時期,單田芳說書的工作一度中斷,文革結束以後,隨著時代發展,單田芳發現傳統的茶社說書形式已經不能滿足觀眾的需要。

機緣巧合之下,單田芳得到了通過廣播電台說書的機會。但他卻發現,錄音室裡和在茶社不同,沒有道具,也看不到聽書人的反應。

他是如何做的呢?

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,在他的第一次廣播演出——節略版的歷史小說《隋唐演義》中,單田芳用了演播室三名錄音師作為觀眾,根據他們的反應對自己的表演進行調整

借助廣播的力量,這次評書有1億多中國觀眾收聽,單田芳聲名鵲起:

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.

這次表演於1980年在中國農歷新年首播,在播出的56個小時裡,可能有超過1億中國觀眾收聽。對於單田芳和中國評書來說,這都標誌著戲劇性的第二春的開始。他很快在全國家喻戶曉

後來,單田芳為廣播和電視錄制了大量的評書故事,《紐約時報》列出了一串讓人驚嘆的數字:

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多年來,單田芳為廣播和電視錄制了110多個故事,總共約12000集,時長6000小時。他最著名的作品包括對《白眉大俠》、《三俠五義》等中國經典名著的演繹,以及對諸葛亮、林則徐等歷史人物的戲劇化改編。

時至今日,單田芳在中國仍舊廣受觀眾歡迎:

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,如果你坐上一輛北京計程車,司機可能還是在聽單田芳的錄音。

《紐約時報》採訪了一位48歲的計程車司機,他說,單田芳能把複雜故事簡單化,聽著「特別帶勁兒」

「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.」

「對我們這代人來說,單田芳就是一個大師,」48歲的北京計程車司機趙福為(音)說,「過去是沒有網紅一說,要是像現在這樣,那單老爺子準是網紅。」

「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.」

「北京這破路,堵死,聽聽書還舒服點,」趙先生接著說,「人家能把複雜故事簡單化,聽著特別帶勁兒。雖然他講的都是古人的事,但是你能感覺到自己和這些人物能產生共鳴。」

單田芳(左)與師傅李慶海

他先跟著一個評書師父做學徒,學成後加入了一個民間曲藝團。這個團體駐紮在鞍山,而在那時候,這個東北小鎮正是一個以茶館和評書聞名的地方。

文革期間,他的演藝生涯因此沉寂,而文革之後的20世紀80年代,單田芳享譽全國。

2007年,單田芳退休。在評書這種藝術形式已經逐漸成為「小眾」的時代,他的事業仍在延續。《紐約時報》寫道:

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.

然而近年來,許多優秀的評書人都相繼去世,這一傳統也在逐漸消失。到了2007年單田芳退休的時候,中國人對評書的興趣已經被手機和遊戲所取代。

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,即使在退休後,單田芳也依然辛勤地工作,在中國年輕人當中推廣評書、教導學徒,還辦了一家民間藝術學校

而對於生活中出現的新科技,單田芳始終抱著接納的態度:

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.

對於生活裡出現的新科技,單田芳始終抱著接納的態度。在他去世的前五天,也就是9月6日,他還在他的新浪微博帳號上發送了一條消息。在那條微博裡,他向大家宣布,他的線上評書公開課開講了。

對這位大師,你有什麼與他有關的回憶嗎?歡迎在留言區分享。

編輯:李雪晴

實習生:郭鎮

來源:紐約時報

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