Chinese Fete, 1914

On April 24, 1914, Chinese students at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley and other Boston-area schools put on a "Chinese Fete” at the Copley Society of Boston. With hundreds of Bostonians in attendance, the students performed a dramatic interpretation of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West under the title of "A Pilgrim's Progress." MIT students were prominent in this production, with MC Hou playing the lead role of The Monkey and Turpin Hsi in the supporting role of The Monk of the Desert. Hou Kun Chow played The Ox Demon, CC Tseng the Demon of Darkness, WG Loo the Emperor, FT Yeh the Leopard, and T Yuan the Tiger. MIT students also served as musicians and on the production crew. Miss Mayling Soong of Wellesley (the future wife of Chiang Kai-shek and First Lady of the Republic of China) was an assistant producer.[1] Livingston Platt designed the stage set. Indicative of the vogue for Orientalism among upper-class Bostonians of the time – not only the players, but also the spectators wore Chinese costumes to the Fete. The Boston Globe called the event:

"one of the most charming pictures in costuming and scenery imaginable."[2] 

The play was so successful that it was repeated the following year, with essentially the same cast.[3]


[1] The Chinese Students' Monthly, Volume 9.7, May 1914, 562-3.

[2] CHINESE FETE. (1914, Apr 25). Boston Daily Globe.

[3] The play received four notices in the Boston Globe. It was repeated in 1915.