What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you donate a quarter of the winnings (NT$210 million) to charity like an anonymous winner did in Tainan last month? Or would you hide it from your family and friends so you wouldn’t have to share?
That is the central conceit in Tafen Musical Theater’s (大風劇團) latest musical comedy It’s a Wonderful Life (美好的人生), which runs tomorrow at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The 21-member cast features some of Taiwan’s top stage actors, including Wang Bosen (王柏森) and Huang Shih-wei (黃士偉).
Playwright Lian Yi-chou (連乙州) based his production on Le Million, a 1931 French film about a struggling artist living in a rundown garret who spends much of his time trying to find a lost lottery ticket and hoping to strike it rich.
It’s a Wonderful Life’s plot centers around four struggling artists — a conductor, playwright, costume designer and actress — who try to produce a play while barely making ends meet. They borrow money to keep their production, and dreams of fame, alive. But creditors soon come banging on their door demanding payment, right at the very moment one of the artists wins the lottery.
The remainder of the play investigates what it means for a poor person to strike it rich and how suddenly accumulated wealth reveals one’s true character.
Will the winner share the earnings? Is the lottery a boon or will it destroy the already tenuous relationships of four close friends? Will their play ever make it to the stage? It’s a Wonderful Life rises to a denouement that, although somewhat kitsch, offers a hilarious insight into how people deal with big wads of cash.— Noah Buchan
WHAT: It’s a Wonderful Life
WHERE: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
(國父紀念館), 2F, 505, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市仁愛路四段505號2樓)
WHEN: Tomorrow at 2:30pm and 7:30pm
ADMISSION: Tickets are NT$300 to NT$3,000, available through ERA ticketing or online at www.ticket.com.tw