YELLOW EARTH THEATRE – KUMIKO MENDL
黃土地劇團 – 久美子·孟德爾


PI: PERFORMANCE INFINITY / KM: KUMIKO MENDL

PI: Do you see that it is important to differentiate between
the different Asian cultures to avoid a too general concept of “Asianness”, or are you more for the idea of uniting different Asia cultures to gain a more powerful position in advocating our rights and ideas?

KM: When Yellow Earth was founded in 1995 there was very little East Asian/SE Asian theatre happening. The EA/SE communities were relatively small in terms of population so it felt important that we include everyone as much as we could. Each year we tried to profile and present a different country but the Chinese were by far the biggest group, the make up of the company reflected this and the work did too. The focus is now very much on the British part of the East Asian and work that originates from Britain by people of East Asian descent.

Now there is a much larger and stronger East Asian artistic community and it’s definitely growing which is exciting but just as it is a diverse one so is there a diversity of opinion as to what sort of work we as a sector should be doing and how we should be representing ourselves. For me I see the role of Yellow
Earth as being in two parts; to produce work that explores our voices and brings exciting, new work to new audiences and as a seeding ground – creating the right conditions for actors, writers and directors to develop their craft, to stretch them and to challenge them.

It is better if we can speak with one voice, it makes our position stronger, we can not separate along cultural or ethnic lines, there are too few of us to make any impact, as it is we are still pretty invisible but although change is slow I am optimistic it will happen but we do need to keep up the pressure and for it to happen companies like YE must continue to survive and thrive.

PI: 您認為有必要為了避免一個泛亞洲的概念而區分不同的亞洲文化 嗎?或者,您更贊成聯合不同的亞洲文化從而為維護自己的權利和想法 爭取更強大的地位這種觀點嗎?

KM: 在黃土地成立之初(1995年),東亞、西亞劇場十分不活躍。這一個 群體非常小,所以我們盡量去囊括盡量多的人。每一年我們都希望能添 加來自不同國家的參與者的信息。目前,華裔是最大的一個群體。我們的 工作成果一定程度上體現了這種構成。我們現在的工作重點是關注英國 東亞裔群體的英國身份屬性。

如今的東亞藝術圈增長迅猛,也非常多元。所以我們需要清楚我們怎樣 去處理這些多元性的意見,並且如何去展現我們自己。就我個人而言,我 認為黃土地的角色有兩個部分。一個是為新觀眾制作體現我們自己聲音 的新作品;另一個是為演員,作家和導演等創作人員提供土壤和機會去測 試和發展他們的作品。

當然,如果我們能夠發出一種聲音,當然會讓我們的地位更堅固,我們可 以來區分不同的文化和種族的界限。但是我們都不夠醒目和有力。不過 即使這些變化很緩慢,但是我覺得著一定會發生。類似黃土地這樣的劇 團需要生存和奮鬥下去。


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