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Crosstalk Artist Ma Sanli
enorth.com.cn   2007-09-13 10:47


Ma Sanli
Ma Sanli, famous player of crosstalk, was born in Beijing in 1914. He is Hui ethnic minority and his family members are all good at Chinese folk art. His grandfather Ma Chengfang was player of story-telling and grandfather-in-law En Pei was also a crosstalk player, Ma Sanli's father Ma Delu and elder brother Ma Guiyuan were all famous crosstalk players.

Ma Sanli grew in Tianjin and studied in Tianjin prominent Huiwen Middle School. In his 15 years old, Ma Sanli formally respected Zhou Deshan as his master for crosstalk playing. Early and late, he partnered with Gen Baolin, Liu Kuizhen, Hou Yichen and Zhang Qingsen to play dialogue crosstalk. He is good at playing crosstalk programs with literate humor and long-time reciting. Some of his works, such as "Article Contest", "Xijiang Moon", "Wotou Theory" and "tongue twister", are very welcome in Beijing and Tianjin people.

After the foundation of People's Republic of China, Ma Sanli joined into Tianjin Folf Art Troupe. Beside dialogue crosstalk performance, he is very skillful in single crosstalk. "Monkey-purchasing", written by famous writer He Chi, is Ma's masterpiece, which showed a slapdash staff to write "Monkey Brand Soap" into "Monkey" so as to cause purchasing agent to buy monkeys back. That staff's name is "Ma Da Ha", which now is used to satirize careless people. It is a new word born from this crosstalk and has made great response in China society.

Single crosstalk of Ma Sanli, also has special glamour, because his performance can afford the food for your thought. For instance, his one work "Heritage Secret Medicine" is about a people who suffered a long time for his skin itches. Once he met a seller who declared that his medicine is a heritage of his ancestor and is very useful for skin itches. The seller promised that if his medicine is useless, people can returned it back to him. That poor people was moved by the seller's words and bought one. When he was troubled by the itches, he found that medicine then opened the layers of wraps and got a little note at last. In the note, there are only two words--"Just scratch".

Ma Sanli also has a simple profile of him--"I has played crosstalk for 62 years and now I am 78 years old. Corsstalk is very welcome in public. I have many old viewers and many young friends who often phone me. From their praise, I will continuously improve my performance skills. After my graduation from Tianjin Huiwen Middle School in my 16 years, I could not enter University because my family was very poor. I learned crosstalk from Mr. Zhou Deshan for three years. My grandfather and father were both crosstalk players, and my mother is Chinese Drum Player, who died in my three years old. The first time of seeing crosstalk, I was 3 and I laughed for a long time. Now I have 8 sons and daughters. My fourth son's name is Ma Zhiming and he is also a crosstalker."

Ma Sanli and Famous Actor Chen Shu
For years' performance experiences, Ma Sanli has owned his featured style. He likes to play with first person--"I". "I" is leading character in his performance and also the role to be sneered.

Pain and Pleasant

At a night of March 11, 1984, a folk art evening party is held in Tianjin Biggest Cinema--No.1 Worker Culture Palace. Cheers and applause rose from hot audience again and again. Behind the stage curtain, however, the backstage was full of an atmosphere of quiet and solemn. All people's eyes are focusing on an old man before a mirror. The old man is most prominent and welcomed crosstalk player Ma Sanli. "Ma, why don't change today's program?" said by his partner Wang Fengshan. "Why?" "I am afraid..." "We can't change the program. From the newspaper, people all knew that Ma Sanli and Wang Fengshan will play 'Opening Gruel Shop' tonight. Many people came here for this program. We must keep our credit and never alter the program." "You haven't had rest for days. This program has long-time speech and is very hard for you today." other people added.

Ma Sanli just smiled and then replied: "Thank you every one. I won't replace the original program. Just take it easy. I can hold it."

Why there is a talking in the behind stage. One hour ago, Ma Sanli was despite the persuasion from his colleagues and troupe leaders, left form his wife who was in critical illness and was being saving in emergency room of hospital. For other people's happy, he kept his suffers from his heart.  

In the hot applause, Ma Sanli went to the center of the stage and then bowed for his audience. Seeing his friends, Ma Sanli suddenly forgot his pains and devoted himself into the performance. His performance was very successful that night. Again and again, he returned to the stage to add new programs until all people were satisfied. After the end of the party, Ma didn't wash his face and right now returned to the hospital.

Maybe to wait for seeing her husband, Ma's wife fought with death until Ma Sanli returned to the hospital. She tries to open her eyes to look her husband and then smiled, like completing her last hope.

This thing is took place almost 20 years ago. And Ma's great personality will be our model and perfect character for ever. From these ordinary things, we can see a full-image of crosstalker Ma Sanli.

Yes. Ma is an ordinary people and he also a hero in his audience. He has met countless hard in his life and he at last used his thin body to accept and stand all these suffering and hardships. The most important is that he silently wiped his tears and turned them into humor jokes with great will for other people's happy, even during his most hopeless time. On the other side, many secular and mediocre person, who always look around their own narrow fields and calculate their private things all days, will never reach Ma's high spirit.

Mr. Ma's crosstalk performance art has its features. He likes to think about the crosstalk art and often creates his own concepts. Added his smart gift and professional spirit, he gradually becomes a great artist after his tens of years experiences. He once said that learning crosstalk is very easy but playing crosstalk hard.

In the crosstalk circles, Ma Sanli, once an excellent student in Huiwen Middle School, is known for his cultural accomplishment. In his well-known programs, he described the little things and person image around common public. Hearing his crosstalk likes to read a book of life. People easily find explore philosophic theories from these art images combining Ma Sanli's 70 years' experiences and taste to China Society. To Ma's audience, he is their friend and senior elder. Ma Sanli raises folk art-crosstalk to a fairly high culture taste. He is transmitting elegant containing through popular ways.

Ma Sanli is talking with a girl in a
school party
Being an artist, he is always quiet and moderate in his life. To personal fame and benefit, he is always not interested in. Since these years, many so-called "Humor Stars" get much money. A youth amateur player become very famous to earn hundreds of yuans for every playing by being good at simulating Ma' performance. Ma Sali himself, however, only gets 10% of that guy. But Ma doesn't care it--"People make me as a celebrity and then like to simulate my works. It's a normal thing. I am 88 years old and money is useless for me." Tianjin once hosted a "Ma Sanli Cup" China Crosstalk Contest. Ma Sanli was invited as chief art advisor and evenly didn't see the championship cup. In a evening party for his 65th anniversary of Ma's performance experience, he just sat for a while during the opening. When the evening party started, he left and went to join into his a long time audience (also friend) 's funeral.

This is the real Ma Sanli, who doesn't be led by unfair treatment and great honors. Now 80 years old Ma Sanli still lived and worked optimistically. He will continuously use his tasted humor to warm people's hearts. He is actually a "People Civil Servant".

Let us wish the longevity and happiness for our humor master--Ma Sanli.


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Editor: Zhang Jialu

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