Let’s talk about New writing

Unheard Voices: Yike Han1



The reason why I heard of Royal Court Theatre’s activity of “Unheard Voices” is that Selma Dimitrijevic, my script writing teacher in the University of Glasgow, is very keen to encourage her students to contribute to various theaters. The first assignment of her writing class is to contribute our own works to five British theaters. What helps me to get this opportunity to be shortlisted is precisely a writing assignment at my first semester, which is a short play with approximately 10 pages.

得知皇家宮廷劇院“ Unheard Voices”這一活 動,是因為我在格拉斯哥大學寫作課的老師塞 爾瑪•蒂米萃加維克(Selma Dimitrijevic)非常 熱衷鼓勵學生向各個劇場投稿。她的寫作課第 一項作業就是找出五家英國劇場,並向其投出 自己的作品。而讓我得到這一機會的也正是我 第一學期的寫作課作業,一篇大概10頁左右的 短劇。

The activity of “Unheard Voices” includes about 11 classes, and class hours are from 19:00 to 21:30 every Thursday. Courses are divided
in a rather detailed way, from seeking inspiration to dialogues and characters’ actions… which are almost a process of the creation of a play. Young playwrights who participate in this activity should submit their own works when the courses are completed. In my opinion, there is actually not much difference in curriculum planning between script writing teaching in China and that in the United Kingdom. Even basic training such as fifth-sentence dialogue exercises, monologue exercises, as well as lots of discussions of script reading…are substantially the same. In fact, Chinese students lay a relatively solid foundation of technical training in script writing. Take me for an example; I studied in the Dramatic Literature Department of the Central Academy of Drama in my undergraduate years, where a student needs to do six months’ prose exercises and six months’ sketch writing exercises before writing scripts, and should even make reading notes of 120 plays and works of fiction in the freshman year.

皇家宮廷劇院這一活動大概有11節課,上課時 間為每周四的晚上7點到9點半。課程劃分非常 細膩,從“尋找靈感”到對白、人物行動⋯⋯幾乎 是一部戲形成的過程。而參加這一活動的青年 編劇們也需要在結業那天提交一部自己的作 品。在我看來,中國的戲劇寫作教學和英國相 比,在課程設置上其實並沒有太多差別。 甚至 五句話對白練習、獨白練習、以及大量的劇本 閱讀探討⋯⋯這些基礎訓練也都大致相同。事 實上,中國學生關於劇本寫作的技術訓練還是 比較紮實的。舉例來說,我本科就讀的中央戲 劇學院戲劇文學系,在寫劇本之前,需要經歷 半年的散文練習,以及半年的小品寫作練習。 甚至大一期間,需要完成120本劇本小說的閱 讀筆記。

However, in respect of the process from text to stage, China still needs to learn a lot from the UK. A big problem is that domestic theater majors lack opportunities to stage their own works. Although academies of theater such as the Central Academy of Drama and Shanghai Theater Academy all offer basic courses in direction and performance and students in these schools also have the opportunity to perform in small theaters or black box theaters, generally speaking, these performances are almost seen by the students themselves. In contrast, in Royal Court Theare’s courses, a special lesson is for students to communicate with professional actors and directors, so as to find problems with their own scripts or room for re-creation from another perspective. Even in the script writing course in the University of Glasgow, there is also Reading Night, where students’ works can be presented on professional stages. In my opinion, it is very important for a young playwright or a student who just starts stage play writing to have an opportunity to get familiar with stages.

但是,從文本轉換到舞臺這一環節上,國內可 以向英國學習的還很多。最重要的一點,在國 內,學戲劇的學生缺乏將自己的作品舞臺化 的機會。盡管中戲、上戲這一類的戲劇學院開 設有導表基礎課,學生也有在小劇場或黑匣子 表演的機會,但總體而言,這些演出幾乎是學 生之間自產自銷式的。但皇家宮廷劇院的課 程裡,有專門的一節課讓學生可以和專業的演 員、導演溝通,從另一個角度發現自己文本的 問題或可再創作的空間。甚至格拉斯哥大學的 戲劇寫作課也有閱讀之夜(Reading night), 將學生的作品呈現在專業的舞臺。在我看來, 擁有一個了解舞臺的機會,對一個青年劇作家 或者剛剛開始舞臺劇寫作的學生來說,是非常 重要的。

Another interesting phenomenon that I found is the selection of script writing teachers. Academies of theater in China almost only choose professional playwrights, while it is not necessarily the same case with teachers in Royal Court Theare’s Youth Project.To be specific, there are two teachers, namely Alexandra Wood and Ola Animashawun. The former has a playwright background, whose new production Wild Swans (adapted from Chinese writer Jung Chang’s novel of the same name) was recently staged at the Young Vic Theatre; while the latter is more engaged in directing and producing, in addition to serving as a head of Royal Court Youth Project in a long term. It is also the same case with script writing courses in the University of Glasgow, which are delivered by Romanian playwright Selma Dimitrijevic and Philip Howard who is the former artistic director of Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. I think such an arrangement also confirms my above-mentioned opinion, that is, script writing courses in the UK attach more importance to staging scripts and putting them into practice, besides giving consideration to writing skills.

另外一件我觀察到的比較有趣的現象是寫作 課老師的選擇上,中國的戲劇學院幾乎都是只 選擇專業的編劇。但皇家宮廷劇院青年計劃的導師卻不是如此。兩位導師──亞歷山大•沃德 (AlexandraWood)和奧拉•安麗瑪莎瓦(Ola Animashawun)──前者是編劇出身,她的 新作品《野天鵝(Wild Swans)》改編自中國 作家張戎的小說《鴻》,最近剛在Young Vic Theatre 上演;而奧拉除了長期擔任皇家宮廷 劇院“青年計劃”的負責人外,更多的是從事導 演、制作這方面的工作。格拉斯哥大學的戲劇 寫作課也同樣如此,由來自羅馬尼亞的劇作家 塞爾瑪•蒂米萃加維克(Selma Dimitrijevic) 搭配愛丁堡導線劇院(Traverse Theatre)的 前藝術總監菲利普•霍華德(Philip Howard)。 我認為這種搭配也印證了我之前的觀點,英國 的戲劇寫作課程,除了對寫作的考量外,更加 注重文本的舞臺化和實踐化。

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