Cat and Dog soak in a bathtub, their bodies rising and falling as water spills over the side. The scene is not a commercial for animal shampoo, but the opening act to Life of Love (愛情生活), one of two plays being staged by Tainaner Ensemble (台南人劇團).
Life of Love and Curse of Love (吻在月球崩毀時) will play at Taipei’s Crown Theater (皇冠藝文中心小劇場) beginning on May 22. Curse of Love also plays this weekend, at the Tainan Human Theater Factory (台南人戲工場).
“We initially discussed having [Dog and Cat] sit in the bathtub naked,” said Lu Po-shen (呂柏伸), the play’s director, in a telephone interview. “But in the end we decided not to because we feared that the audience would focus on their bodies rather than the play.”
Departing from Tainaner’s earlier Western-inspired works such as last year’s Shakespeare Unplugged 3 — Macbeth, Life of Love and Curse of Love are written by local playwrights who tackle issues closer to home.
Life of Love, penned by Hsu Chen-ping (�?�), screenwriter for the movie Eternal Summer (盛夏光年), tells the story of a man (Dog) and woman (Cat) who meet in a bar and have a one-night stand. The play investigates the complications that arise when strangers try to build a relationship based on a sexual fling.
The Chinese legend of Chang Er (嫦娥) and Houyi (后羿) inspired playwright Chao Chi-yun’s (趙啟運) Curse of Love.
Set in contemporary Taiwan, it tells the story of Chang Er, a female teacher who falls in love with one of her students, an introverted girl. The relationship doesn’t go far before Chang Er’s husband discovers the affair — which leads to tragic consequences for all three characters.
The characters in both plays pursue love differently because their personal experiences and circumstances do not allow them any other choice. Combined, Life of Love and Curse of Love make a pessimistic statement about what love is in our contemporary society.
Who: Tainaner Ensemble (台南人劇團)
What: New Plays 2008: Curse of Love (吻在月球崩毀時) and Life of Love (愛情生活)
When and where: Tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm and tomorrow and Sunday at 2:30pm, Tainan Human Theater Factory (台南人戲工場), 3F, 85 Shengli Rd, Tainan City (台南市勝利路85號3F); May 22 to May 25 at the Crown Theater (皇冠藝文中心小劇場), 50, Ln 120 Dunhua N Rd, Taipei City (台北市敦化北路120巷50號)
Tickets: Tainan performances are NT$400; Taipei performances are NT$450. Tickets are available through NTCH ticketing
As with other Tainaner plays, expect good scripts and well-executed productions.— NOAH BUCHAN