West End London is usually known by most Chinese audiences as a theatrical stage at the highest level of the world. However, when you walk into any theater in the West End with great respect and watch a play for the first time, you will find the marvelous performance a bit too approachable, and a night in the name of art seems to be slightly noisy with various tourists crowding the theater. Even in the United Kingdom where a slogan that art is for all is deeply rooted among the people, a play full of pleasure but not thought-provoking will still make you doubt this “highest level” of theatre.

倫敦西區,這個擲地有聲的名字通常被中國的普通觀眾解讀為世界最高水準 的戲劇舞台。然而,當你抱著崇敬的心情第一次走進西區的任意一家劇場裡 觀 看 演 出 後 ,你 會 發 現 ,似 乎 演 出 精 采 得 有 點 過 於 平 易 近 人 ,一 個 以 藝 術 為 名義的夜晚在週遭各色遊客的簇擁下略顯嘈雜。即使在藝術既為大眾的口 號深入人心的英國,一個充分愉悅而欠缺了思考的夜晚還是讓你不免懷疑, 難道這就是“最高的水平”?

Simply say yes or no is not sufficient to answer the above question, let us first review the relationship between audiences and theater. Like most forms of art, theater also derives from religion. Ritual performances in sacrificial ceremonies have been gradually separated and developed into theater over the years. However, compared with other forms of art, the biggest feature of theater is that theatre cannot exist on its own without audience. Therefore, the relationship between audience and theatre has always been emphasized in theatrical artists’ creation. Such an emphasis, however, does not mean that the creators converge with audiences’ taste, but that they communicate with audience through their own creativity so as to make audience understand their creative intentions and then evaluate their ways of presentation. Therefore, the evaluation of a play often varies, which is not only caused by audience’s personal preference but also by their different levels of appreciation. For example, the feelings of an audience who knows theatre well and an ordinary audience will be quite different, when they are watching the same classic play. Such differences are often caused by the degree of their familiarity with the play and knowledge of theater and even production. In addition, a large part of audiences of the West End are visitors from other cities or other countries, of whom a large number come from non-English-speaking countries. Thus, most popular productions are often those that are widely known or easy to understand, and strive to communicate with audiences clearly.

在“是與不是”的簡單答案不足以回答上述的問題時,讓我們先 來回顧觀眾與戲劇演出的關係。和大多數藝術形式一樣,戲劇也 是源自宗教。在祭祀儀式中的表演在漫長的歲月裡逐漸獨立出 來成為戲劇。然而比較其他的藝術形式,戲劇最大的特點是表演 不能在沒有觀眾的情況下獨立存在。因此,觀演關係一直在戲劇 藝術家的創作中得以重視。然而,這種重視並不意味着對於觀眾 品味的趨同,創作者是在通過自己的創造力同觀眾溝通,從而讓 觀眾瞭解自身的創作意圖,並對於其表述方式予以評價。因此, 對於一齣戲劇的評價,往往因人而異,這不光是由觀眾的個人喜 好決定的,也是由不同觀眾的欣賞水平決定的。舉一個例子,一 位深諳歌劇的觀眾和一位普通觀眾在觀看同一部經典歌劇的感 悟是不盡相同的。決定這些區別的往往是對於這種藝術形式,甚 至某出作品的熟悉和瞭解的程度。另外,西區的觀眾中有很大一 部分為來自英國其他城市以及世界各地的遊客,很多遊客都來 源於非英語國家。因此最受觀眾歡迎的戲劇作品,往往是廣為人 知、通俗易懂的。在表演上,也力求清晰明了的創作溝通。

B.     B.

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