莎妹劇團X第七劇場

台日共演 異質碰撞
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2018 / 4月

文‧鄧慧純 圖‧莊坤儒


當英國喬治‧歐威爾的政治諷喻科幻小說《1984》遇上俄國寫實主義劇作家契訶夫的《三姐妹》,會是如何的光景?

2017年底,由台灣「莎士比亞的妹妹們的劇團」(簡稱「莎妹劇團」)與日本「第七劇場」合作的劇碼《1984,三姊妹一家子的日子》在台、日上演。劇本由莎妹劇團的王嘉明改寫,第七劇場的鳴海康平導演,兩人共譜網路世代裡的現代寓言,在劇場上探索台日合作的可能性。


「將俄國劇作家契科夫的《三姊妹》加上喬治‧歐威爾的《1984》,這個念頭『真的非常可怕的難』。」這句話王嘉明重複了兩次。

《1984》+《三姊妹》

《1984》是諷刺極權主義的政治小說,多數的篇幅是主角Winston的自言自語,他意圖抵抗老大哥的監控,爭取個人的自主、自由,呈現的是「一個人」的觀點。而《三姊妹》的形式是劇本,講述家庭中三姐妹的際遇,是「群體」的故事。契科夫利用對白描述人際關係的細節,寫實地呈現現實生活的樣態,許多台詞就像日常不時出現的無意義對話,表現生活的空洞和無力感,兩者的主題和語言風格是截然不同的,王嘉明解釋。

設想了多種組合可能性後,王嘉明最終決定保留《三姊妹》的架構,將《1984》的「監控」融入三姐妹的生活中,讓群體成為監控的來源,完成了《1984,三姊妹一家子的日子》。王嘉明提問:「當監視來自於最親密的彼此時,這個家庭會走到怎麼樣的地步?」。

以道德和親密關係為牽制,不管是家庭成員言談間無意的勸阻,或是有意的關心,都成為無所不在的監視。三姊妹的大哥Winston,他始終質疑大企業無所不在地監視和操控,親友反勸他別想太多,要他試著融入社會,好好過日子。最終他被送進101室(《1984》書中進行思想改造的房間),臣服於老大哥的洗腦。小妹Irena則從一開場是個天真浪漫的少女,變成看不慣異己的存在、舉槍執行自身正義的行刑者(槍殺了所有家庭成員)。

寓言故事的背後

這樣一部講述網路世代監控無所不在的寓言裡,在故事主線之外,兩位導演埋入更多與當代社會互文的隱喻。

王嘉明把故事背景設定在世界剛經歷一場核戰後的無政府狀態,各項資源重新分配,由三大企業:美洲的Apple Shell 會社、亞洲的GooBrother會社、非洲的Deep Monsando會社(暗指蘋果公司、Google、基因改造公司孟山都)所壟斷,一切的資訊與知識來自網路共享,娛樂和休閒也由這些大企業提供,世界「看似」便利且自由。

鳴海康平則從王嘉明的劇本中讀到:文化多元日漸消失、趨向單一的警訊。當大家只追求更便利的生活、更重視虛擬的人際關係和娛樂時,每個個體就形同被GooBrother綁架一般,浸溺在虛擬的世界,而當一個社會日漸趨同而容不下異己時,崩壞的結果必然指日可見。

於是,鳴海康平設計圓形的舞台空間,突顯人與人之間無止盡的窺伺與監控。每位演員都穿著樣式類似的黑色外套,象徵在大企業的控制下,每個個體都像人偶般趨向一致,沒有自己的風格。

而劇中設定的未來,科技已進步到能跨越不同語言的障礙。舞台上,台日演員靠著衣領間提供即時翻譯的LED發報器,就能直接對話溝通(台下觀眾靠著投影在布幕上的翻譯文字);但劇中發報器曾一度失靈,我們卻發現大家在聽不懂各自話語的同時,世界依然運轉;才讓人領悟,導演反諷著「說者無心,聽者未聞」的事實,而這也寫實地反映了我們日常生活的樣態。

而舞台上大量堆疊、不全然存有意義或目的的對話,有時是角色的自言自語,有時說者無心,聽者也不在意,這讓人熟悉的似曾相似,也讓觀者驚覺,導演在叨叨絮絮中把生活的細瑣搬上舞台,搬演人際關係中無所不在的監控。

導演的交換手札

這部《1984,三姊妹一家子的日子》是台灣「莎妹劇團」、日本「第七劇場」發起的「交換手札計畫」第二年的作品。

成立於1995年的「莎妹劇團」,是台灣元老級的劇團,劇團以原創劇本及前衛劇場美學為發展目標,王嘉明在台灣劇場界則有「劇場頑童」之稱。鳴海康平看過王嘉明執導的《理查三世》、《Zodiac》,他說:「從王嘉明的戲中,可以看出這個導演有很多瘋狂的想法,而且有很強的實現力,可以藉由整個團隊的力量把想法完美的演繹出來。」

「第七劇場」則是鳴海康平1999年成立的劇團,以日本三重縣為據點,其結合能劇及歌舞伎身體訓練,走出當代日本劇場新方向,劇作在海內外均獲得高度評價,多次與韓國、德國、法國進行跨國合作計畫。「他的作品在視覺上有一種有趣的文學或哲學的底子,讓人一直想看下去。」王嘉明表示。

製作人陳汗青則覺得「他們兩個人的作品裡都有一種偏執的成分存在,兩位導演有相似又有不同的部分,合作起來應該會蠻奇怪的,所以就會想把他們湊在一起。」由陳汗青的引薦,台日雙方就此展開為期3年的合作計畫。

2016年開始的「杜斯妥也夫斯基計畫」,兩劇團各交換一名演員,王嘉明和鳴海康平分別以《地下室手記》、《罪與罰》為本,在當代舞台上重新演繹經典文學名著。2017年的合作案,直接合二為一,由王嘉明負責劇本,鳴海康平導演,《1984,三姊妹一家子的日子》由台日演員共演,因此舞台上的聲音中日文交雜,這不僅對演員是考驗,「語言」也是兩位導演一致認為最困難的地方。

異質碰撞,互動對話

「最困難的還是語言問題,因為語言不僅只是語言,它還有文化上、語速上的歧異。但是我反而覺得有這些狀況和問題,才是有趣的地方。……也因為語言無法溝通,我們反而會更專注去探究溝通到底是什麼。」王嘉明在演後座談中談到。

鳴海康平則觀察到:「台灣演員的情感較為外顯,而日本人在處理情感表現時,或許在心裡起了巨大的波瀾,但是很難外流,我覺得這是兩邊演員較大的不同。」

因為這些差異,讓王嘉明撰寫劇本時,嘗試將演員做各種不同的排列組合,看看不同的表演方式,聽聽不同的聲音質地。「這是一種韻律,不同的化學變化,對我來說這種東西是重要的。不一樣一定是存在的,你不可能調成一樣,怎麼樣利用不一樣,對我來說才是重點。」

這些不一樣激盪出的不只是舞台上的化學反應,身兼翻譯的陳汗青也分享,排練初期需要藉由大量翻譯才能理解雙方的想法,但到了中段,常常陳汗青才翻譯第一句話,鳴海康平就以眼神示意,不須翻譯他就懂了。到了後期,演員跟演員也都有了默契,透過身體、情緒、眼神就能溝通。這也是陳汗青在這跨國合作中發現有趣的地方。

問起兩地觀眾的反應,兩位導演則給出了截然不同的解讀。鳴海康平表示:「日本是非常的壓抑、沉穩的民族,所以連我自己都很難準確捕抓到日本觀眾對戲的感覺。但台灣的觀眾在進場時,就帶著一種期待,來享受這個作品的氣氛,光這一點就讓我比較安心了。」王嘉明則笑說:「日本觀眾真的很認真,他們會坐得挺直,很安靜、很專注地看你的作品,對我來說也是一種安心。」

2018年,交換手札計畫邁入第3年,王嘉明和鳴海康平打算以侯孝賢向日本已故導演小津安二郎致意的電影《咖啡時光》為基點,進行第3年的製作。

當鳴海康平認真地思索著、解釋第3年的合作挑戰是如何在前兩年累積的經驗與默契中,發展出新的表現手法時,王嘉明則在一旁搔搔頭說:「目前最大的挑戰是現在還不知道該怎麼辦。」說完自己哈哈大笑。

兩位導演迥異的反應,讓我想到鳴海康平訪談中曾提到:「戲劇是呈現差異最好的介質,也就是說戲劇會因為有這些差異而變得更有趣,因為承受了這些差異而變得更好玩,這是合作裡面最有趣的部份。」回想這番話,讓我們更期待第3年的作品,台日合作能激盪出更有趣的火花。     

相關文章

近期文章

英文

Taiwanese and Japanese Dramatists Collaborate to Push Theatrical Boundaries

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

What happens when George Orwell’s novel 1984, a work of political allegory and satire, meets the play Three Sisters by Russian realist writer Anton Chekhov?

At the end of 2017, Taiwan’s Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group and Japan’s Dai­nana­gekijo theater company endeavored to find the answer to that question when they staged their Note Exchange Vol. 2: 1984. The script was adapted by SWSG’s Wang Chia-ming and Dai­nana­gekijo’s Kou­hei Na­rumi, who together created a fable for the Internet age while exploring the possibilities for Taiwanese‡Japanese collaboration in the realm of theater.


“Adding Orwell’s 1984 to Chekhov’s Three Sisters was a frighteningly difficult idea.” Wang Chia-ming repeats this for emphasis.

1984 + Three Sisters

The political novel 1984 is a satire of totalitarianism. Most of the book is based around the ruminations of its protagonist Winston Smith, who is determined to resist the control of Big Brother. Hence it conveys a personal point of view. Three Sisters, on the other hand, is a script that portrays the fortunes of three sisters and thus offers a collective narrative. Chekhov uses lines of dialogue to detail interpersonal relations, realistically portraying the sisters’ way of life. The themes and linguistic styles of the two works are completely different, explains Wang.

After considering various possibilities for combining the works, Wang ended up deciding on keeping the basic framework of Three Sisters while introducing the monitoring of 1984 into their lives, with the collective of the family now becoming the source of the surveillance. That prompts Wang to raise the question: “When the monitoring comes from those with whom you are most intimate, what path will a family go down?”

Morality and intimacy become sources of control, with family members exercising pervasive—if inadvertent—monitoring of each other via their expressions of discouragement or concern. The three sisters’ older brother Winston is overly suspicious that large corporations are constantly monitoring people. Winston’s friends and relatives are always urging him not to worry so much and to try to fit in socially. Eventually he gets sent to Room 101 (the place in 1984 where thought transformation is practiced) and undergoes brainwashing. The youngest sister, Irena, starts out as an innocent and romantic girl, but she ends up disapproving of those who are different from her, and she takes up arms to enforce her own sense of righteousness, shooting all her family members.

Cultural and historical context

Apart from commenting on the ubiquity of tracking and surveillance in the networked age, in the play the two directors make intertextual allusions to contemporary society. 

Wang chose to set the play in a period of anarchy following a nuclear war, when the world has fallen under the control of just three major corporations: America’s Apple Shell, Asia’s GooBrother, and Africa’s Deep Monsando. All information and knowledge comes from the Internet, and leisure activities are also provided by these companies. On the surface, the world seems convenient and free.

In Wang’s script, Kou­hei Na­rumi saw a warning about how diversity was giving way to uniformity. And once a society begins to move against plurality and difference, signs of its breakdown are sure to follow.

For the production, Na­rumi designed a round stage to highlight the sense of omnipresent snooping and surveillance. All the actors wear similarly styled black clothing, symbolizing the control that large corporations have over them. Their appearances are uniform, with none showing any individual style.

Most of the lines uttered on stage aren’t full of great meaning or purpose. Sometimes characters mumble to themselves. At other times they speak—conveying no particular meaning—to listeners who don’t seem to care much either. Such utterances seem strangely familiar, and suddenly the audience realize that the director is using the blather to convey the nuances of the characters’ lives, as well as highlighting the ubiquitous monitoring inherent in inter­personal relations.

Collaborative challenges

The play is the fruit of a second year of cooperation and exchange between Taiwan’s Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group and Japan’s Dai­nana­gekijo.

Established in 1995, SWSG is one of Taiwan’s senior theater companies, and Wang Chia-ming is known as the enfant terrible of Taiwan’s theater scene. Kou­hei Na­rumi had seen productions of Richard III and Zodiac that Wang had directed. “When you watch plays directed by Wang Chia-ming, you can tell that this director has a lot of crazy ideas,” he says, “but he is also adept at beauti­fully realizing his visions by harnessing the power of the entire company.”

Dainanagekijo was founded by Na­rumi in Japan’s Mie Prefecture. It combines the techniques and training of traditional Noh theater and Ka­buki with those of European dramatic arts, offering a new direction for Japanese theater. “Visually, Na­rumi’s works build on interesting literary or philosophical foundations,” says Wang.

“A sense of paranoia pervades the works of both,” notes the producer Yu­kio ­Nitta, “so their collaborations are sure be pretty strange.” At ­Nitta’s recommendation, the two theater groups launched a three-year plan for collaborations.

Beginning in 2016, the companies exchanged one person each, with Wang and Na­rumi separately ­leading contemporary stage adaptations of Notes from the Underground and Crime and Punishment. For 2017 the collaboration brought them to work together on Note Exchange Vol. 2: 1984. The production features a mix of Japanese and Chinese, which posed huge challenges for the actors. The two directors likewise cited language as the most difficult aspect of their work together.

Cross-cultural collision and dialogue

“The language gap caused the biggest problems,” said Wang in a post-performance seminar. “That’s because language is more than just language: it also under­pins culture and dramatic timing. Yet I believe that these problems are actually a source of interest…. Since we couldn’t communicate through language, we were forced to focus more on examining what exactly communication is.”

“Taiwan’s actors are more emotionally explicit,” Na­rumi observes. “On the other hand, when Japanese actors process emotions, they may stir huge waves within, but they are more constrained in their expression. I feel that this is one big difference.” 

Consequently, when Wang Chia-ming writes scripts, he tries to arrange the actors in different combinations that highlight these disparities. “It creates different rhythms and chemistry…. There truly are differences…. The key thing is to make use of them.”

It has fostered more than just on-stage chemistry, notes Yu­kio ­Nitta, who also handled translation for the production: The early stages of rehearsals required a lot of translation for the two groups to understand each other. But by half way through the preparations, Nitta would only need to get through the first sentence of an explanation before Na­rumi would demonstrate with his expression that he understood without any need for further translation. The actors also shared a kind of tacit understanding communicated through their bodies, emotions and glances. This aspect of transnational cooperation is something that Nitta finds particularly interesting.

The exchange between the companies has entered its third year in 2018. Wang and Na­rumi plan on producing a stage adaptation of Café Lumière, Hou ­Hsiao-­hsien’s homage to the work of the iconic Japanese film director Ya­su­jiro Ozu.

Narumi emphasizes the need to think hard about how best to leverage the experience and mutual under­standing gained from the past two years of col­labora­tion to tackle the challenges of developing entirely new methods for the third year. Scratching his head at Na­rumi’s side, Wang blurts out, “Our biggest challenge right now is that we still don’t know what the heck we’re doing!” He then bursts into laughter.   

Hearing the two directors’ reflections made me recall something else Na­rumi had said to me: “­Theater is the best medium for revealing differences—which is to say that heterogeneity makes theater more inter­esting, because the medium absorbs differences to become more fun. That is the most fascinating aspect of col­labora­tions.” The comment only makes me more eagerly await the fruits of this third year of Taiwanese‡­Japanese collaboration, which is sure to produce a harvest ever weirder and more marvelous.                    

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