Sexual infidelity, metaphysical musings on death and ghostly goings-on meet in Taiwan avant-garde troupe Firefly Theatre’s (螢火蟲劇團) Between Twilight (浮光), which premiered to widespread acclaim in 2002 and is being revived next month with performances on June 15 and June 16 at the Taipei City Shuiyuan Theater (台北市水源劇場) and on June 22 and June 23 at the Kaohsiung Cultural Center’s Chihteh Hall (高雄市立文化中心至德堂).
In the play, a police officer’s ghost commits suicide every night in Keelung. The precinct police chief’s mistress, a medium, attempts to contact the spirit and unwittingly unearths a tangled web of homosexual and heterosexual love, police corruption and money laundering in the process. The production features Ronnie Oscar Tung (董浚凱) as the police chief, Hannes Zhou (周楓傑) as the ghost, Taiwanese opera actress Chen Xi-han (陳思涵) as the mistress, and the troupe’s artistic director Han Jiang (韓江) as a reckless gambler.
“Audiences enjoyed the 2002 production, but at that time my mother was dying, so all my senses were shutting down,” director Han told the Taipei Times. “This revival feels like a brand-new story because I feel more alive now.”
Despite the play’s seemingly fantastical plot, it was inspired by Han’s life story. Before creating Firefly Theatre in 1995, he grew up in a military village in Kaohsiung and served as a local police officer for eight years in Keelung. That experience allowed him to cultivate relationships with marginalized characters, such as an entry-level police officer, a sex worker and drug user.
“All the characters, except for the dead officer, in this story are still alive,” Han said. “I decided to keep the denouement open-ended to show my respect.”
WHAT: Between Twilight (浮光)
WHEN and WHERE: 7:30pm on June 15 and June 16 at Taipei City Shuiyuan Theater (台北市水源劇場), 10F, 92, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段92號10樓), 7:30pm on June 22 and June 23 at Kaohsiung Cultural Center’s Chihteh Hall (高雄市立文化中心至德堂), 67 Wufu 1st Rd, Greater Kaohsiung, (高雄市五福一路67號)
ADMISSION: Tickets are NT$300 and NT$500, available at the NTCH ticketing and online at www.artsticket.com.tw and at 7-Eleven ibon kiosks
ON THE NET: betweentwilight.pixnet
In the play, Han bravely tackles taboo subjects, such as the sex trade, drugs and death. “I started seeing ghosts in junior high school,” Han said. “I have learned to live with it. It gives me a different perspective on what life means and what death leads to.”
Han’s exploration of the process of dying and the end of life is far from over. A devout Buddhist, Han’s upcoming work, titled Deep Fall (秋夜), which will be staged this winter, contemplates life and was inspired by a trip that Han made to India.
Because of its subject matter, Between Twilight is restricted to adults aged 18 and over. The show will be performed in a mixture of Mandarin and Hoklo [commonly known as Taiwanese], but there won’t be any subtitles.