The revolution will be accessorized! Preferably with a darling red scarf. Really, they’re so versatile. You can wrap them round your bicep for a look that just screams fun / you can drape them from your back pole you can hang them from your gun!
Welcome to a play called “The Red Detachment of Women,” a title that has, er, different resonances for the Occidental. This is our hero, Hung Chang-ching. The card describes him as “boundlessly loyal to Chairman Mao.” He’s also “the Party representative to the women’s company of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.” An all-around fun-loving guy, although his expression here suggests that he has just cut a rather ripe one, and is attempting to stifle comment with a fiercely revolutionary expression. Note the small red bulb to the left of that thing on his back; you’ll be seeing it again.
And what is that thing on his back? A switch? Throw it one way, and he’s a Party man; throw it the other way, and he denounces the local commissar?
It’s quite a famous play, and this is not intended as a serious study. In fact I’m sure the pictures are shown out of order. According to Wikipedia - the three most trusted words in information! – this play was one of eight permitted to be shown during the Cultural Revolution, so if you’re sick of seeing “The Matrix” on cable, consider that. It was also shown to Nixon when he visited China. The basic story: a peasant girl has her consciousness raised, leading her to great glory in the Communist party. The usual tripe.
Let’s continue. But first, if you wish: here's the soundtrack, provided by the invaluable WAMU Beware of the Blog 365 Days Project, redux.