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


PI: Can you describe what kind of pieces you’ve got for this year’s Dim Sum Nights? What are the differences between this year, last year, and two years ago? What are the difficulty, achievements, and expectation?

KM: The first time we did DSN we did a call out to BEA writers/ directors/actors to come up with a 10 minute script or idea for a piece that would take place in a Chinese restaurant and the only set they could use would be a table and 2 chairs (like Beijing Opera so the idea was they could use those props in any way they liked) It was a great success and we selected 5 to develop further which became the next DSN the following year that toured around the UK and was compered by one of the characters.

Part of this year’s Dim Sum Nights is commissioning writers
from last years DSN to write a new scene. This had been quite interesting, because it was coming from us commissioning, rather than from the writers who originally came up with these pieces.
I think it is more challenging for some of them. They found it more tricky, as their first pieces weren’t necessarily intended to be more than that. But 4 out of 5 have come back, with a new piece that featured one or more characters from last year. We’ve put all those four pieces in. So for the writers, I hope it’s developing them: revisiting a character and imagining another situation for that character to be in. I hope they are going to be stronger pieces. Of course, we’ve got a different creative team this time around. We’ve got one less actor. We’re doing it with four. We’ve got slightly more pressure on them to be doing different parts. So for those people who know the pieces from last year, it’s going to be quite exciting. But for those who don’t, they should be stand- alone pieces that work on their own anyway. That’s the challenge.

In terms of the showcase pieces, as we call it, the new writers’, the open submission, some people have come back and written new pieces, and we’ve got a lot more new people coming in. I think the very first year when we did it, there were people around who were quite experienced, who’d been acting for a long time and just thought it was time to try something out. This year, it’s a less experienced set of people so they require more support from us in terms of casting and producing . But we’ve had a dramaturg, so we’ve had definite sessions with the dramaturg working on their pieces that have helped the writers to develop their plays. The pieces themselves…obviously it’s happening in a restaurant. I have said it doesn’t have to be set in a restaurant, that you don’t have to be site-specific, but most people have gone with the setting, which really works and which is easier. They still have got one table and two chairs, and that’s sort of a challenge to be able to allow the characters to move around, instead of remaining static sitting at the table. They’re either set in a restaurant or domestic. It’s mainly about relationships, very contemporary, quite a lot of them not culturally specific, I would say, which is quite interesting.

There were very few men who applied compared to women and there was a guy whose was picked but could not do it in the end. So out of all the open submissions they’re actually all women! (Laughs.)

And then we have two Weibo pieces this year. I thought it would be interesting to hear voices from China so via sino weibo we invited Playwrights in China to send over a play with a maximum of 3 weibo posts There was initially a lot of interest from people but we only received a handful in the end – perhaps people tried but felt they couldn’t make it work or weren’t happy with the result. However the ones we received were all interesting and we have selected two to present and as they are going to be performed at Halloween and both feature ghosts. For me what’s interesting is the brevity of text opens up more possibilities in terms or staging and movement. I would like to try this again next year and just ask for dialogue and no stage directions and see what happens.

PI: 您能夠描述一下今年的點心之夜有哪些戲劇片段嗎?今年,去年以及 兩年之前的點心之夜有哪些區別呢?您當前面臨哪些困難又有什麼樣的 成就與期望呢?

KM: 在我們初次舉辦“點心之夜”時, 我們把英國東亞裔的作家、導演、演 員都召集在一起構想一部只有十分鐘的劇本或者一個發生在中餐館的故 事,道具只有一張桌子和兩把椅子可用,(就像京劇一樣他們可以選擇任 何形式使用這些道具)在取得了極大的成功之後,我們又選擇了五個劇本 來發展作為次年“點心之夜”的小短劇,並進行了全英巡演,其中一位主演 擔任了主持的工作。

今年“點心之夜”的一部分是委托給去年的作家來完成一個新場景。這十 分有意思,因為這是我們委托他們去創作這些作品而非他們自己本身的 構想,對於這些作者而言必定更具挑戰性。的確,這是一件比較棘手的任 務,因為他們並沒有打算在第一件作品裏發展出更多的東西。但是五人 中還是有四人帶著新作品回歸了,都是圍繞他們去年劇本裡發展一個或 多個人物的新創作。四個人的小短劇都通過了我們的審核,對於作家而 言我希望這促使他們成長:重新審視原來的一個角色並將其放入另一個 情境中。我也希望這些作品會更加的出彩。當然這次我們的創意團隊不同 了,少了個演員。此次只有四人了,所以每個人會相對有更大的壓力去完 成不同的部分。對於了解去年那些短劇的觀眾來說,他們肯定會很興奮; 但對於其他不了解原本劇目的人,這就是些獨立的作品,他們將用自己的 方式來詮釋。這些都是挑戰。

對於那些展示劇目,我們稱為新銳作家,公開徵稿,有不少人帶著新作回 歸,還有很多新人的加入。在我們創辦初期,參加者都是相當有經驗的, 在這行幹了許久的並打算是時候試做點作品的人們。而今年參與者相對 缺乏經驗,所以在挑選演員和制片方面他們需要更多我們的支持。我們團隊中有戲劇編劇,因此我們有專門的會議討論並幫助作家們發展他們的 劇作。這些劇作背景都設定在一家餐館。我有提到,其實並不一定要在餐 館,也沒有特定場地要求,但是大多數人還是選擇了餐館,既可行又相對 容易實現。仍是一張桌子兩把椅子,演員們需要和道具發生關係,而不是 靜態地坐在桌子邊。他們可以把場地設成餐館或者是家裏。主要是圍繞人 與人之間的關系,當代關係,基本沒有特定的文化,我覺得十分有意思。

男性參與者比女性參與者要少一些,其中一位男作家入選了,但是最終都 沒有實現。所以到最後所有公開徵稿的劇本都是女作家完成的!(笑)

今年我們也有兩件來自微博的作品。我覺得聽一下中國的故事會很有意思, 所以我們通過新浪微博徵集微博短劇(劇本不超過三條微博),最初有很多 躍躍欲試的人,但最後我們只收到了一部分,或許人們很想嘗試但是他們沒 有自信自己可以做好。幸運的是我們最終收到的劇本都非常有意思,我們挑 選了兩部在復活節期間上演,都是圍繞幽靈主題的。我覺得最吸引我的是 那些簡潔的文字,這對舞臺和動作展示都增添了更多的可能性。明年我很 樂意再試一次,只有對話沒有舞臺指示,看看會有什麼有趣的發生。


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