Friday, March 02, 2018

华藝節 :: 《血與玫瑰樂隊》

I had earlier browsed through Esplanade's Hua Yi Festival performances, and nothing caught my eye. They didn't sound like my type of shows. At the friends' persuasion, I nervously attended festival commission 'Blood & Rose Ensemble' 《血與玫瑰樂隊》. Co-commisioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Taiwan's The National Theater & Concert Hall (台灣國家兩廳院), the show is directed by Wang Chia-Ming of Taiwan's Shakespeare's Wild Sisters Group (台灣「莎士比亞的妹妹們的劇團」的王嘉明導演).

The regular stage came to life and became a catwalk/runway of sorts. Music and vocals were provided by the actors themselves. They act, sing, dance and play. Waaaah. It was a nice touch; the songs were pretty decent! All of Shakespeare's warring lords and kings were given the contemporary treatment, and fully re-imagined. Mainly focusing on Henry VI (referencing the 1455 War of Roses, and all three Shakespearean works) and the House of Lancaster and House of York. It also brought out bloodthirsty Richard III (of "winter in [our] his discontent"), and Joan of Arc. The synopsis described the show as "madcap". Yeah, that about summed up the performance. It was kinda fun.

Beyond a generic idea of the history and a summary of the storylines of these plays, any deeper knowledge wasn't fully necessary. Hahahah. This adaptation is completely different, but obviously I'm not in any position to critically comment beyond this. I didn't un-enjoy the show, but I definitely couldn't fully appreciate it. I did feel that two hours for the show without an intermission were a tad draggy. The ending was fairly apt after the nth time of victory speeches, the cast gave up and cooked dinner on a beach somewhere. Not sure if it's alluding to the uhhh South China Sea disputed territories where it's a political hot potato.

In the director's message, Wang Chia-Ming (王嘉明導演) said,

对我而言,从时间角度谈历史不是在谈过去,一定是在谈现在,甚至未来;从空间上谈外国 史,也是在谈现在所处的地方。说起来容易,但做法不同也涉及不同的概念和选择,例如:透 过以前的历史事件影射当代社会相关议题,这是一种方式,但很无聊,那是简化两次之后的作 法,先简化过去,再简化当代,以让两者符合某社会议题或事件,对观众而言容易理解,也觉 得很有意义,但那就只是像广告的slogan(当然好的slogan也很难)。 
《血与玫瑰乐队》比较是生命状态,满像Terry Eagleton(英国文学理论家泰瑞·伊格顿)谈 到生命的意义是爵士乐团的概念,时间本身是不同尺度与视角的交织,主旋律或许是死亡与重 生,小步舞曲是战争,观众/演员坐在同一个空间,一起踩在不同颜色交织的时间地毯,历史纸 本变成眼前活生生的演员,每个演员和角色的出场长度不同,这些长度是编曲的素材,事件、 人物如同战争烟硝味散掉又炸出,面对这些当权者编织的历史素材,其实相当无力与悲伤, 或许重点是经过短暂的玫瑰百年串流后,如何回到现在这继续的时间之流,以及面对共渡的人事物吧,是吗?

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