Metamorphosis Photo by Kuo Cheng-Chang3

In every life there is an economy of reception and provision. Reception, in terms of learning and accumulation; provision, in terms of reflection and creation. The tension of the two illumines Wu Hsing-kuo’s arts.

Before 1986, the first three decades of Wu Hsing-kuo’s life is occupied by reception.

每個人的一生中都存在著接納與給予的動態平 衡。接納指的是學習和積累,給予指的是反思和 創造。在吳興國身上,這二者間的分別體現得格 外鮮明。

到1986年為止,吳興國的前三十三年人生可以 說是一段以接納為主的人生階段。

Wu’s father died when he was little. His mother sent him and his older brother to a nursery school when he was three. He describes his childhood as a time of endurance and clenching. His mother was advised that Wu had a good voice and should study singing abroad, but it was impossible for his family. Instead, when he was eleven, his mother sent him to Fu-Hsing Chinese Opera School, a boarding school of traditional theatre arts. “Even if you are not good at studying, at least you are to pick up a skill there.”

吳興國父親早逝,他三歲時,媽媽就把他和哥哥 送進國軍先烈子弟教養院。他形容自己小時候 的印象通通是在“撐”,是“握著拳頭過日子”的。據 說,旁人向他母親稱贊吳興國有副好嗓音,不如 送出國去學聲樂,但家裡經濟不可能,母親就送 他進復興劇校,管吃管住又可學唱戲,“書讀不 進去,學個專長”也好。此時的吳興國十一歲。

In the school, the reputed actor Lee Jin-tang changed Wu’s name from Wu Kuo-chiu, to Wu Hsing-kuo (literally, “raise the nation”), expecting him to revive the national theatre arts. Although the school was a welcoming environment, the training was harsh and somewhat brutal. Wu was a diligent student; he would wake up very early for training, and would treasure any role, no matter the importance. In the third year in the school, tutors recognized his performance and since then he started playing important, leading roles.

吳興國本名吳興秋,在劇校時,臺灣當時四大 老生之一李金棠老師將他改名為吳興國,似乎 是預言要他“振興國劇”。劇校雖然管吃管住兼 學習,但打罵既兇練功又苦。吳興國是個肯下 苦功的學生,他舍棄睡眠時間提早爬起來練 功,從努力跑龍套做起,在第三年,他得到老師 的注意之後一直能得到飾演主角的機會。

Eight years later, the twenty years old Wu was recommended to the Theatre Department of Chinese Culture University in Taipei. Thanks to his solid training, he soon joined the dance company Cloud Gate as a principal dancer. Under Lin Hwai- min’s guidance and instruction, Wu received training in classical ballet and contemporary dance, and also in other realms of art including calligraphy, painting and carving. In the next six years, he toured with the company all over Europe, visited museums and theaters, once made a record of 73 performances in three months time. In short, he widened his vision with Cloud Gate, and absorbed greedily forms and styles despite physical fatigue.

八年後,二十歲的吳興國被保送進入文化大學 戲劇系,其紮實的基本功讓當時正缺男舞者的 雲門舞集表演團向他伸出橄欖枝,他因此加入 雲門舞集並成為主要舞者。在林懷民的悉心安 排和指導下,接受了芭蕾和現代舞的訓練,並且 接觸了其他藝術門類,如書法、繪畫、雕刻等。這 一跳就是六年,雲門舞集巡演歐洲,三個月73 場演出,還有頻繁的美術館、劇院之行,吳興國 跟隨雲門舞集走出了國、睜開了眼,身體上的疲 憊並不能阻止他“貪婪”地吸收新的藝術形式與 藝術風格帶給他的養分。

But the most important gift from the Cloud Gate times was his wife. Today, his wife Lin Hsiu-wei is the artistic director of Tai Gu Tales Dance Theatre and management director of Contemporary Legend Theatre. She is Wu’s most valued assistant in work, and loving partner in life. But back then, she was only one of the numerous female dancers in Cloud Gate, however dedicated and hardworking she was. She would practice in the studio every weekend, and this was what attracted Wu to her. But initially Wu did not make a move; if not for Lin Hwai-min’s injury before a performance of Legend of the White Snake, Wu wouldn’t had a chance dancing with Lin Hsiu-wei and eventually becoming an enviable couple.

當然,在雲門的日子帶給他的不只這些,很重要的收獲應該是愛情。他的 妻子林秀偉,現任太古踏舞團藝術總監及當代傳奇劇場行政總監。今天 的她可以說是吳興國工作上的得力助手,生活上的甜蜜伴侶,然而當年 二人初見時的她,只是一個淹沒在雲門眾多女舞者中,很有毅力、用功練 舞的女孩。每周六日,她都會自己跑到排練廳跳舞,也是那個勤奮的身影 吸引了吳興國的注意。然而當時的吳興國並沒有什麼主動的表示,若不 是一次《白蛇傳》的演出前夕,林懷民老師突然腳抽筋無法上臺,吳興國 也沒有機會和飾演青蛇的林秀偉在舞臺上合作。

Wu’s artistic life had been successful so far, even rather uneventful. It was as if as long as he makes effort he will not miss a chance; he himself did not – as it was unnecessary – make any important decision. But in 1979 he came to a turning point. As Wu tells it, the most reputed actor in the traditional theatre scene and the performance art scene in general, Chou Cheng-jung, was interested in recruiting him as a disciple. If he did not accept this offer and instead kept on dancing in the Cloud Gate, the already declining traditional theatre scene in Taiwan would only suffer. Wu witnessed the marginalization of traditional theatre arts, and the shameful treatment of important artists in the realm, and recalled vividly his eight years of harsh training in the Fu-Hsing Chinese Opera School. He accepted the offer, and became the only legitimate disciple of Chou Cheng- jung. The guild of traditional theatre arts hosted a grand ceremony for this. All the reputed actors were there as Chou’s witnesses; only two witnesses on Wu’s side, his brother and the founder of Cloud Gate, Lin Hwai-min. Wu recalls: “I kneeled for the whole morning.” Seeing Wu undergoing the ritual, Lin Hwai-min knew he was not coming back to Cloud Gate.

到在雲門舞集跳舞為止,吳興國的藝術道路可以說是一帆 風順,沒有什麽大的波瀾,仿佛只要他足夠努力,就不會錯 過好機會,而他並沒有——也並不需要——自己做出重 大決定。但是在1979年,一個關係他之後藝術發展的重大 抉擇來臨了。據吳興國回憶,當時臺灣藝術地位最高的老 生演員周正榮有意收他為徒,倘若當時那個已經意識到京 劇沒落的吳興國,放棄這個機會,繼續留在雲門舞集,那麼 臺灣的戲曲界必將少了一元先鋒猛將。吳興國親眼看到老 京劇演員的表演不受觀眾待見和尊重,傳統藝術與堅持傳 統的藝術家蒙受屈辱,又想到自己在復興劇校天天倒立、 挨棒子、翻跟頭而死撐下來的八年時光,終於決定拜師,成 為了周正榮唯一一個磕頭弟子。梨園公會舉辦盛大拜師大 典,臺灣生行前輩全體到列,吳興國這端,哥哥吳國銑與雲 門舞集創辦人林懷民是唯二代表。據吳興國回憶“一整個上午跪著,就沒起來過”。看到吳興國在唐明皇的牌位 前磕頭拜師的林懷民想:“興國這下是回不來了”。

 Metamorphosis Photo by Kuo Cheng-Chang1

But the master/disciple relationship
between Wu and Chou was not easy,
nor long. Wu, as someone who lost
his father when young, treated Chou
as father, but the artistic difference
was too vast. Chou’s love for
traditional theatre arts and his view
on the genealogy of traditional arts were discreet and conservative. He was, after all, an actor that could keep his peace on stage, with thousands of loud, noisy, rude soldiers in the audience. Almost rigidly, he protected the tradition, because he always said to himself: “Cultivated audience is waiting for me.” Wu’s solution, however, was not passivity and toleration, but aggressively grabbing the audiences back to traditional theatre arts. Yes, audience, what is one to do with it? Insistence on protecting the purity of traditional theatre arts necessarily entails selection and abandonment of certain audience; but art itself stems from life and from the people. If there is a standard in accordance with which art is to be judged, the only possible standard is the feedback from the audience. One can say, Wu’s attention to the audience and his examination of the future of the market in – and even before – the creation, comes close to the mentality of Western theatre practitioners. But this is surely itself a limit.

然而周吳二人的師徒生涯既不平坦,也不長久。吳興 國幼年喪父,拜師周正榮之後,本以父視之,但兩人在 對待京劇藝術的態度,以及對觀眾的期許上,存在很大 分歧。周正榮對京劇藝術的追求和京劇藝術傳承的態 度是嚴謹且保守的,一個在臺下幾千官兵嬉笑怒罵的喧囂中,仍然能夠靜心從容地把戲演完的演員,可想而知。他近 乎執拗地固守著嚴謹傳承的圭臬,因為他從不忘記:“懂戲的觀 眾在等我。”然而吳興國對於京劇沒落的對策不是被動接受和忍 讓,而是想方設法如何為京劇拉回觀眾。是啊,觀眾,要是不要? 堅持維護傳統藝術的純潔性,必然會產生對觀眾群的篩選,疏遠 部分觀眾;但是藝術本身就是源於生活、源於人群的,倘若對於 藝術的評判真的有可以依憑的標準,觀眾的反饋應該是唯一的 可能性了。可以說,吳興國這種在創作中——甚至創作前—— 對觀眾體驗的關照,對市場前景的估量,是比較貼近西方主流商 業戲劇的創作態度的,當然這本身對於藝術的創作就造成了有 形、無形的限制。

There is no right or wrong in these two directions, but these two men were both stern and resolute. Some alleged that Wu irritated Chou because he secretly learnt from other masters, some says Chou publicly humiliated Wu who was already in his thirties. Regardless, the two separated after five years, and Chou made his farewell: “Our teaching is through, you’d better be responsible for yourself.”

兩種道路,本身並沒有對錯是非的分別,但是這兩個人,卻都有固執孤傲的堅決。有人說吳興國因為向其他老師學習唱段而激 怒了周正榮,有人說周正榮曾經當眾責罰已年過而立的吳興國。 不論細節究竟如何,五年後,兩人不歡而散,周正榮留了一句話 給他唯一磕頭弟子:“我們師徒一場,你好自為之。”

After leaving Chou, Wu and his wife Lin along with a number of actors started their exploration for a modernization of traditional theatre arts, and eventually established their own company Contemporary Legend Theatre. The first production The Kingdom of Desire was an adaptation of Macbeth, inspiredatthe same time by performance conventions of traditional Beijing Opera, in a modern theatre presentation. Wu was not sufficiently funded then, but with his insistence Wu managed to persuade actors to rehearse and perform voluntarily. The famed actress Wei Hai-min was in the cast.

離開周正榮的第二年,三十三歲的吳興國和他的愛妻林秀偉, 以及一群誌同道合的戲曲演員開始認真思索如何讓傳統戲曲 與現代劇場藝術接軌,最終創立了自己的劇團,起名“當代傳奇 劇場“。創團作品《欲望城國》改編自莎士比亞的悲劇《麥克白》, 而表現方式則是將傳統京戲的唱、念、做、打融入西方經典,並以 現代劇場形式呈現。當時的吳興國並無資金,他需要憑借對於這 部戲以及創作理念的堅持,說服演員們義務排練及演出,這其中 就包括臺灣著名的京劇旦角演員魏海敏。

In contrast to the initial financial embarrassment, the production was critically acclaimed. The Kingdom of Desire successfully subverted the stereotypical perception of Beijing Opera, gave birth to totally new Eastern theatre aesthetics, and became a repertoire of the Contemporary Legend Theatre that was to be invited to many international institutions including the Royal Opera House in the UK and the Avignon Festival in France. Wu was once praised by the The Times: “Wu reminds us of Laurence Oliver.” Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun commented: “His excellent techniques enrich the layers of play”. China Times said: “Audience was electrified, shouting, crying – the art and culture scene of Taipei was shocked for seven days.”

與該戲創作階段的拮據形成鮮明反差的是作品獲得的肯定評 價。《欲望城國》成功地顛覆了觀眾對京劇既有的認知,締造了全 新的東方劇場美學,成為當代傳奇劇場經典劇目,多次受邀於各 大國際藝術節演出,包括英國皇家劇院,法國亞維儂藝術節。吳 興國曾受到英國《泰晤士報》褒揚:“他使我們想起英國著名演員 勞倫斯·奧立佛。”而日本《讀賣新聞》也曾贊賞:《“ 欲望城國》具有 強大的能量,演員傑出的表現,擴大了戲劇的表現空間,是一個 深厚堅實、氣勢磅礴、震撼人心的作品。”臺灣《中國時報》更是形 容道:“觀眾欣喜若狂,有人大叫,有人流淚,臺北藝文界足足震 動了一星期。”

Although The Kingdom of Desire was enthusiastically received in the UK, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, Contemporary Legend Theatre was for financial reasons forcefully closed in 1998. Only when Wu was invited for a masterclass in France two years later, and performed an excerpt from the Beijing Opera adaption of King Lear, was the company revived. Peter Brook commented after the performance: “An actor as you is one of a kind.” This performance would be the origin of the full- length production of King Lear.

儘管《欲望城國》獲得了極高的評價,在上世紀九十年代曾經巡 演於英國、韓國、日本、法國、德國、西班牙、荷蘭等地,創作壓力 和經濟壓力迫使當代傳奇劇場在1998年停團。直到兩年後他接 到邀請到法國教學,在教學展示中表演了一段時長三十分鐘的 改編自《李爾王》的京劇片段,這才改變了劇團的命運。彼得·布 魯克(Peter Brook)看完他的演出,說“像你這樣的演員,找不到 第二個。”這段表演成為《李爾在此》的雛形。

With the international and local supports, Contemporary Legend Theatre was revived with King Lear in 2001. The production was written, directed, and played by Wu himself; he played in total ten roles, in all four categories of roles according to the tradition of Beijing Opera: Sheng (male role), Dan (female role), Jing (masked role), Chou (jester), radically challenging the limit of himself and of the art. Wu expressed previously on many occasions his interests in testing himself in one-man performance, which he has experienced as an audience in numerous international performances. To him, the performance was very personal, revealing many stories of his own, including his artistic career from traditional art to modern and contemporary practices.

在眾多國內外同行的鼓勵與支持下,當代傳奇劇場以《李爾在 此》於2001年正式復團。該作品由吳興國自編自導自演,一人分 飾十角,跨越生、旦、凈、醜行當,獨力挑戰高難度的舞臺表演極 限。吳興國曾經表示在自己豐富的國際演出經驗中,看到了很多 人演出獨角戲,感到這是一個考驗,因此願意嘗試。他同時透露, 這個戲承載著很多自我的成分,包括他艱難的成長環境,以及曲折的從傳統走到現代的藝術創作歷程。

King Lear photo by Dirk Bleicker

The performance of King Lear in Edinburgh Festival in 2011 was successful as well. Wu’s excellent performance in various roles, the inspired costume design by Timmy Yip, and original compositions by Lee I-ching, all left strong impressions. After two months, Contemporary Legend Theatre was invited by artistic director of the Festival Jonathan Mills back to the UK to give performance. In August 2013, Wu and his daughter Wu Tsai-lin performed together in Edinburgh: Wu Tsai-lin participated in Edinburgh Festival Fringe with solo dance SeKret; the father, for the second appearance in the Edinburgh Festival gave a performance of Metamorphosis, an adaptation of the novel of Kafka. The production consists of six scenes: dream, awakening, door, love, taboo, fly. Wu played the role of Gregor, Mr. and Mrs. Samsa, Gregor’s sister Grete, the lover, Kafka, and himself.

2011年,這部作品在愛丁堡國際藝術節演出 後,獲得了各方盛贊。吳興國出色的多角色表 演能力,葉錦添的服裝設計,以及李弈青的原 創音樂,都給觀眾留下了深刻的印象。因此兩 年後,藝術節總監約翰遜·米爾斯(Jonathan Mills)再度力邀當代傳奇劇場赴英演出。2013 年8月,吳興國及其愛女吳采璘同時亮相愛丁 堡:女兒以獨舞《祕碼》參與愛丁堡邊緣藝術 節,而二度受邀的父親帶來的則是根據卡夫 卡同名小說改編的《蛻變(Metamorphosis)》。 全劇由六場戲組成,分別是:夢、醒、門、愛、禁、 飛。在劇中,吳興國是穿梭在葛裏戈、父親、母 親、妹妹、情人、卡夫卡及吳興國自己等各個角 色之中。

Unlike the positive reception of King Lear, Metamorphosis met polarized criticisms. The author witnessed this: a number of audiences left during the performance. The length of two hours plus a quarter-to-half-an-hour delay without break was probably too demanding, for the audience who was used to the length of fringe productions. On the other hand, some audience only left after two rounds of curtain call. Telling from the original text, King Lear has a clear, classical narrative, and is well known. For a play that can go on for some four hours unabridged, Wu made great concision and managed to deliver a three- part performance in less than two hours. The adaptation of Metamorphosis, however, was exactly the reverse. The novel of Kafka, as brief as it is, is of a simpler narrative involving a great number of metaphors. Wu’s adaptation of it greatly extended the story and filled it with his creations and imaginations. The result was a complex six-part performance of more than two hours. One cannot blame the comment of “self-indulgent.”

與《李爾在此》大體上正面、肯定的評價不 同 ,這 次《 蛻 變 》的 評 論 則 呈 現 兩 極 化 ,筆 者 現場觀演時所觀察到的也是如此,有些觀眾 中途離場——兩個小時加一刻鐘到半小時 不等的超時,沒有中場休息,這對觀眾的耐 心——特別是在邊緣藝術節各種短小精悍 的劇目中穿梭的觀眾來說,要求的確太高;也 有觀眾在兩輪謝幕後仍不願離去。從原著文 本來看,《李爾王(King Lear)》的故事沖突明 確 ,情 節 性 強 ,也 更 為 人 所 知 。莎 士 比 亞 的 原 著倘不刪節,可以演上四個多小時,吳興國在《李爾在此》中對於原著進行了大幅度的縮 編,他挑選了原著中的片段進行串聯,將故事 分成三部分進行演出,時長不到兩小時。而《蛻變》的改編則完全在相反的方向上。卡夫卡的《蛻變》篇幅本身短小很多,是個中篇荒誕小說,情節較《李爾王》簡 單,卻包含很多象征意義,然而吳興國的改編卻大幅豐富了其故事情節, 加入了自己的想象,成品是個時長超過兩小時的六幕劇,結構也復雜了 許多,有媒體評價其為“自我陶醉(” self-indulgent)”也不足為怪。

But this criticism speaks less of the length, more of the artistic language of the production. Speed is a very important criterion of contemporary theatre. When an artist determines to write, direct, and play simultaneously, it is easy to lose the right speed. Metamorphosis as a novel has no clear, strong theatrical structure, therefore to be attentive to speed becomes a major task in adaptation. Additionally, while a one-man performance as such did not include lengthy dialogue/monologue or singing, the task of speeding depended heavily on music. The production used mostly Chinese music known as Beiguan and Kunqu, the former being very grand and the latter elegant and gentle, probably for a poetic effect; but the visual presentation, by contrast, was too materialistic. Audience could sense the love for the original text and Kafka, but the ruthless demand for a great patience and knowledge of Eastern culture was seemingly unwelcoming.

當然這種“自我陶醉”針對的並不主要是欠體貼的時長安排,而是劇目的 藝術語言。節奏,是現代戲劇中一個重要的考量因素標準,當一個藝術 家自編自導自演時,對於整部戲節奏的把握就容易失準。《蛻變》本身並 沒有一個沖突明確、張弛有度的結構,因此在改編成舞臺作品的過程中 就要格外注意節奏的調節。這部獨角戲中對話和唱詞並不很多,調節節 奏的任務在很大程度上就倚靠配樂了。本劇配樂大量使用北管音樂與昆 曲,創作者本意用北管的激昂搭配昆曲的典雅嫵媚,可是舞臺呈現卻顯得 略有些過於寫意。觀眾可以很容易就感受到演員對於原著、對於卡夫卡 的執著,但是部分缺乏耐心和對於東方文化缺乏了解的觀眾卻無法融入 作品之中。

In response to such polarized reception, Wu argued that while the mainstream of European theatre is realism firmly grounded in text, his Metamorphosis reflected upon the existential questions of contemporary life in an Eastern, spiritual and symbolist fashion. This was rather new to the Western audience.

面對英國媒體對《蛻變》的兩極評價,吳興國表示歐洲戲劇仍以文本為主 的、現實主義寫實劇為主流,《蛻變》是以東方寫意的象征形式,傳達現代 人切身的問題與思維,對這裏的觀眾來說,理解起來還需要一個過程。

A paradox presents itself here: Wu in his thirties was determined to lure audience back to the theatre with fresh, exciting renewal of traditional theatre arts; After three decades, Wu admitted that regarding the relationship between Western audience and his performance of Eastern symbolism, patience is essential. Eventually, there was no right or wrong between the master and the apprentice, nor between Wu then and now. Obviously, nonetheless, in Wu’s practice and aesthetics a fundamental change occurred in these thirty years. If as a young man he was clearing the way for Chinese traditional theatre arts, he is today freely – and perhaps even capriciously – roaming and exploring. Wu has seen seminal success in his promotion of Chinese traditional theatre arts. He has, as a result, shifted his focus to a personal exploration.

從這裏,我看到一個悖論,當時同传统決裂的三十歲的吳興國所追求的是創造出讓觀眾感興趣、喜歡看的新戲曲作品,而現在六十歲的吳 興國所秉持的觀念卻是部分西方觀眾對於東方象徵表演形式的理 解與接受還需要時間。當年的師徒之間沒有孰是孰非,今夕的吳興 國之間也沒有誰錯誰對,但是明顯地,在這三十年間,吳興國的創作 態度和審美追求都發生了根本的變化。如果說當年的他是希望給京 劇開拓出一條活路,今天的他則是在這條路上自由地——甚至任性 地——徜徉。推廣傳統藝術的目的取得了階段性成果後的吳興國, 把創作的重點確定地更加自我而感性,這也許就是戲評人看到“自 我陶醉”的原因.

After Edinburgh, Wu along with his wife and daughter came down to London and delivered masterclasses in English and lectures in Chinese in Theatre Royal Haymarket and Asia House.

愛丁堡演出結束後,吳興國攜妻女南下倫敦,分別在赫馬基特皇家 劇院(Theatre Royal Haymarket)和亞洲之家(Asia House)進行了 英文大師班和中文講座。

7.King Lear photo by Dirk Bleicker


Theatre Royal Haymarket is the third oldest theatre in London, and was Queen Victoria’s favorite. It is located in the centre of west London, and is showing presently One Man, Two Guvnors. Previously, the venue hosted masterclasses by figures such as Peter Hall, Danny DeVito, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, and Lia Williams. In a Tuesday afternoon, for the very first time in fifteen years, a practitioner from the Asian theatre scene gave a two-hour workshop to mostly British theatre practitioners and enthusiasts, and some Asian actors and actresses. Among the participants, Chris Lew Kum Hoi, in preparation for his role in The World of Extreme Happiness, and David Tse Ka-Shing, who was playing a role in Chimerica in the West End, also joined the masterclass.

赫馬基特皇家劇院是倫敦第三古老的劇院,也是維多利亞女王生前 最愛的劇院,位於倫敦西區黃金地段,正在上演的劇目是英國國家 話劇院的作品《一主二仆(One Man, Two Guvnors)》。每周二下午, 在這個舞臺上都會有一位來自戲劇領域的“大腕兒”進行大約兩個小 時的講座或者工作坊。過去的十五年間,該大師班的主講人包括導 演彼得·豪爾(Peter Hall)、演員丹尼·德維托(Danny DeVito)、拉爾 夫·費因斯(Ralph Fiennes)、伊萬·麥克格雷格(Ewan McGregor)、海倫·米倫(Helen Mirren)、喬安·娜拉姆利(Joanna Lumley)、利 亞·威廉姆斯(Lia Williams)等,吳興國是第一位來自亞洲的主講 人。八月二十日那天的觀眾大多數為英國戲劇愛好者及從業者, 很多亞裔演員也慕名而來。國家話劇院即將上演的以中國為背 景的話劇《極樂世界(The World of Extrema Happiness)》中 的演員克裏斯,為了角色塑造來到此大師班;正在西區參與演 出《中美國(Chimerica)》的演員謝家聲,一直對英國亞洲戲劇 圈事務而十分熱心,他也出現在大師班中。

The first part of the masterclass was a discussion, with Dr. Li Ruru from University of Leeds acted as the moderator and translator. The group discussed Wu’s concepts, aesthetics, the history of Contemporary Legend Theatre, the reputed repertoires of the company and the Metamorphosis. Wu even performed an excerpt from The Kingdom of Desire, to illustrate the possibility of conveying urgency with slow action and slow chanting. In the second part, Wu demonstrated basic trainings – steps, gestures, and actions – of Beijing Opera to some twenty participants.

大師班的第一個小時,是以訪談形式進行的,來自利茲大學的 李如茹老師充當提問者與現場口譯,訪談涉及了吳興國老師的 創作理念、當代傳奇劇場的歷史、劇場最為著名的劇作以及新 近在愛丁堡上演的《蛻變》。談到盡興處,吳老師現場示範了《欲 望城國》的片段,展示如何以慢動作與慢唱表現出急迫感,獲得 現場觀眾的熱烈掌聲。在第二個小時的工作坊中,二十余名報 名者走上舞臺,跟隨吳興國老師體驗了京劇的身體訓練中最基本的步伐、手勢、及動作。

When a local participant inquired who is Wu’s most revered master of theatre, Wu named Ariane Mnouchkine from France, Italian director Eugenio Barba, Peter Brook from the UK, and Guan Hanqing from China. When it came to the question of the East today, Wu claimed that “there is no master today,” and that “entertainment cannot be all of theatre.” He also encouraged the younger generation to “find yourself, find your confidence that is very important to your practice. Your weakness can possibly be your advantage, if you treasure it.”

現場觀眾提問環節中,有英國當地觀眾問吳興國他所認可、尊敬 的戲劇大師是誰,吳興國列舉了法國的雅利安·莫努虛金(Ariane Mnouchkine)、在丹麥工作的意大利導演尤金·巴爾巴(Eugenio Barba)、 英國的彼得·布魯克(Peter Brook)、中國的關漢卿,而談到當代東方,他認 為“當代無大師”,“若喜歡劇場藝術,就不能只看娛樂的成分”,他還鼓勵年 輕一代的戲劇人,“找到自己,找到自己的自信最重要。你的缺點可能正是 你的優點,你珍惜它,它就有可能性。”

In the lecture at Asia House two days later, the whole of it was conducted in Chinese, hence the more detailed discussion of the nature of Wu’s practice. He mentioned: “The essence of Metamorphosis, is that ‘survival is the first dilemma’.” He admitted that though living condition could be harsh, it is possible to conceive felicity in the mind. He thought that “a change of career is giving up,” and he felt the importance of his mission and persistence. When it came to Contemporary Legend Theatre and his own definition of his art, he said he did not want to define, because one is defined already after a reflection. He enjoys his present life, creating new works and performing traditional repertoires at the same time, but his future focus would still be adaptation of world classics.

兩天後在亞洲之家的整個講座及問答全部用中文進行,交流更加有效順 暢,吳興國也因此講到一些更加貼近其創作本質、更加細致的問題。他提 到:《“ 蛻變》的本質,就是在講‘先活著再說’。”他承認活著可能很辛苦,但 是精神上可以很愉快,他覺得“改行就是交白卷”,他有使命感堅持下去。 當談到當代傳奇劇場以及他自己的藝術風格的定位時,他說他並不想定 位,因為想多了,也就定了。他很喜歡現在的狀態,既創作新劇目,也不拋 棄傳統劇目的演出,但是以後的創作重點應該還是在世界文學的改編。

Just as he put it, definition is not his concern. Retrospectively, one sees an extremely versatile artistic career. In 2004 and 2005, the collaboration between Contemporary Legend Theatre and established Hong Kong film director Tsui Hark, theatre production The Tempest, made a record of complete full house. In 2005, Wu’s version of Waiting For Godot was praised by Chung Ming-de, Dean of School of Theatre Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts: “Incredible achievement!” In the winter of 2006, as the only practitioner of Chinese traditional theatre arts, he was invited to perform with Plácido Domingo in a production of The First Emperor, directed by Zhang Yimou, composed by Tan Dun, in New York Metropolitan Opera. In the October of 2007, he collaborated with Chang Ta-chuen and Emil Wakin Chau in the first electronic rock Beijing Opera 108 Heroes -Tales from Water Margin, and in December gave a performance in the world premiere of Butterfly Dream, mixing classical Kunqu singing, Chinese classical music and Western Opera, for yet another renewal of traditional theatre arts. Mei Lanfang got on the stage of New York in 1930, presented to the international audience Beijing Opera for the first time; Lin Hwai-min once said in an interview with CTS News Magazine that Wu’s achievement could be compared with Mei’s.

就像吳興國自己說的那樣,風格定位並不是他關注的重點。我們回望這 些年他所指導、出演的作品,風格、媒介多姿多彩。2004年至2005年,當 代傳奇劇場和電影導演徐克合作舞臺戲曲《暴風雨》,創下場場爆滿、一 票難求的票房紀錄。2005年吳興國執導、主演諾貝爾文學獎作品、荒謬劇 場經典之作《等待果陀》,被臺北藝術大學戲劇學院院長鐘明德先生贊譽 為“這是個了不起的成就”2006年冬,他受邀前往紐約大都會歌劇院與多 明哥同臺演出歌劇《秦始皇》,是由張藝謀執導、譚盾作曲之西方歌劇中 唯一一位東方京劇演員。2007年10月,他與張大春、周華健合作,首創電 音搖滾京劇《水滸》,同年12月首演的《夢蝶》融合古典昆曲唱腔、中國古 典樂與西方歌劇,創造了全新戲曲風格。1930年梅蘭芳登上紐約的舞臺, 是第一次將京劇帶上國際舞臺,林懷民曾在《華視新聞雜誌》的訪談中稱 讚吳興國的好跟梅蘭芳走出去的好是一樣的。

Wu never forgets preserving the essence of Beijing Opera while perpetually making breakthroughs. It perhaps is analogous to the preservation of the marvelous plays of Shakespeare and the countless daring breakthroughs happening everyday. In every attempt of Wu, we can feel the carefulness and respect for traditional theatre arts, and simultaneously his bravery in the face of limiting conventions. From King Lear to Metamorphosis, one sees the rigid, the fearless, the extremely talented Wu Hsing-kuo, and also the loneliness on the stage, the struggle under the skin. It is hoped that this is not the last year of Contemporary Legend Theatre’s performance of repertoire, and that Metamorphosis can be appreciated in Taiwan.

在努力突破自己的同時,卻嚴格秉承傳統京劇的精髓。在西方,好似人們 熱情滿溢地無數次演繹莎士比亞,卻無一例外地保留精湛的原始文本。 在吳興國的每一次的嘗試中,我們都能感受到那種對於傳統戲曲如數家 珍地謹慎托承,但是同時又感覺到他對於那些固有外殼的掙脫。從《李爾 在此》到《蛻變》,我們看到臺上仍然是那麽執拗,那麽無所畏懼,那麽才 華橫溢的吳興國。可是我們也看得到那方舞臺上的孤獨,感受得到那些 表皮之下的掙紮。希望今年不是當代傳奇劇團最後一年演出定目劇,也 希望《蛻變》能夠遇到更多知音。


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