ART.ZiP: What kind of influence do your experience of learning and living abroad have on your creation?
J: Before I went abroad, I held an idea, that is, to see more and learn more. The late 1970s and 1980s is a period of time when the era of Chinese play was under the significant influence of the West, and ‘foreign things’, ‘modernism’ and ‘avant-garde’ became the trends that attracted the attention of so many people. With a very strong curiosity and interest in all things occurring in the strange world, I read some English play scripts that were rare at that time; I wonder what were all those schools and systems on our lips about, and how much we actually know! From the little bit of books that I had read, I could find that there were many flaws and fallacies among then popular acknowledge, so I wanted to see with my own eyes and experience in person. I do not deny that I have always been fond of ‘foreign things’ and I seldom make my plays without ‘foreign elements’, and this is the very reason that I need to know what is the real and genuine ‘foreign thing’.
Learning and living abroad has a decisive influence on my creation, because it broadens my knowledge and my circle of life, and brings me a very different development in all aspects of art, like artistic understanding, thought and method. Besides, looking back at the domestic art at a ‘foreign’ place, I feel my insights and ideas have changed a lot, for example, after going abroad for several years, I once watched the domestic program of ‘Spring Festival Gala’ by chance, looking at those Chinese- flavored folk songs, dances, and other performances (that are even somewhat outmoded), I suddenly felt they are so precious, pure and valuable that they can deservedly stand out and become a unique genre in the art circles of the world; whereas some programs that blindly ‘imitate foreign things’ are not worth to watch ( and I also warn myself not to make such mistake). For another example, before I went abroad, I thought the Western stage were full of all kinds of post-modern things, but I found it quite the contrary after going there, what I saw is the sound foundation of realism in today’s American and British play, and it is the same case in writing, directing, playing and designing. It does not look outmoded, nor can it hinder its modernity in the least, because innovative works are constructed on the basis of profundity and reality, no matter how modern it is, it is still attractive. These concepts are gradually formed in my mind, and I keep thinking what is most valuable in Chinese art, what Chinese art can and should develop, what Chinese art education should focus on, etc. I think all these influence my creation.
J:出國以前,抱著一個想法,就是多看,多學。 一九七零年代末和一九八零年代,是西方影響 大大進入中國戲劇界的時候。”洋”,”現代派”, ”前衛”,成了多少人矚目的方向,我從當時稀有 的英文戲劇書中啃了幾本,對那個我們隔閡而 不瞭解的世界裡發生的一切有着極強烈的好奇 和興趣,我想,成天在說西方什麼什麼派、這體 系那體系,人家到底是怎麼回事,我們又知道 了多少?!從我讀到的那一點點書裡就可以發 現當時流行的認知有很多缺陷和謬誤,所以我 想要親眼看、親身感受。我不否認我從來很喜 愛”洋”,我做的戲又常常離不開”洋”,那我就要 懂得真正的、貨真價實的”洋”啊。
在國外的學習和生活對我的創作起着決定性的 影響,因為我的知識面和生活圈拓開了,藝術的 見解、思維、方法各方面都有了和以前很不一樣 的發展。而且置身在”洋”地,再看國內的藝術, 我覺得自己的眼光和觀念似乎產生了不少的變 化——舉例說,出國幾年後一次偶然看國內” 春晚”節目,看到那些很中國味的民間(甚至有 點 ” 土 ” 的 )歌 、舞 、表 演 我 頓 時 覺 得 特 別 寶 貴 、清 純、有價值,以至可以無愧在世界藝壇上獨樹一 幟;而對於一些一味”仿洋”的節目就不那麼看得 上了(而且警告自己不要犯這類毛病)。再如, 和出國前覺得西方舞臺完全是一片”後現代”的 五花八門正相反,我看到的是美國、英國當今戲 劇中寫實主義的底蘊十分厚實,編、導、演、設 計都如此,並沒有陳舊過時之嫌,實,絲毫不會 妨礙現代感,創新的作品是架構在精深實在的 基礎上的,所以再前衛也十分耐看。這些觀念漸 漸在我意識中形成,不斷思考着什麼是中國藝 術中最有價值的,什麼是中國藝術可以和應該 發展的,什麼是中國藝術教育要聚焦的,等等。 我想,這些都在影響着我的創作。