1910 – Born on September 24th in Tientsin, Hupeh province, China. Chinese playwright who was a pioneer in hua-chü (“word drama”), a genre that was influenced by Western theatre rather than traditional Chinese drama (which is usually sung).
– Cao Yu was interested in theatre as a boy. Having studied for a time at Nankai University in Tientsin and Ch’ing-hua University in Peking, where he studied contemporary Chinese literature and both classical and modern Western drama, Cao Yu taught in Pao-ting and Tientsin and at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Nanking.
1934 – His first play, Lei-yü (Thunderstorm; later adapted for film and as a dance-drama), was published.
1936-1937 – Cao Yu’s next works were Jih-ch’u (Sunrise; adapted as an opera and for film) and Yüan-yeh (The Wilderness), a story of love and revenge that clearly reflects the influence of American playwright Eugene O’Neill.
1940 – He wrote T’ui-pien (“Metamorphosis”), a patriotic work in which he expressed the hope that China would throw off the constraints of the old ways and embrace the new.
1941 – He followed with Pei-ching-jen (Peking Man), thought by many to be the best of his dramas, powerful in both characterization and its use of symbols and one of the masterpieces of modern Chinese drama.
1996 – Died on December 13th in Peking.