Taiwan’s English-language theater took a big hit when Brook Hall closed LAB Space’s doors last year, but in true theater fashion, Taiwan’s thespians are determined that the show must go on.
As last year ended, Stew Glen and Infinity Key produced White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, and scheduled it that Hall could perform in this play, which was on his bucket list.
John Brownlie is taking the ball one step further with Taipei Shorts, six one-act plays, all written, directed and acted by local talent. Performances begin tomorrow in Taipei.
Photo courtesy of Rick Monday
Shorts grew out of LAB’s “Cocoon,” a place where local writers and actors could experiment and critique new work, as well as LAB’s “24 hour challenge,” where plays had to be written, cast and performed in 24 hours.
Along with Deni Carson, Brownlie contacted the local Taipei Writers group for material. They got 10 scripts, which they narrowed down to the present six. Of these, Brownlie says: “We have two dark comedies, two comedies, a slice of life and a political satire.”
Anyone involved with theater knows the rush that comes from the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd, but there is more here.
First, there is a sense of mission. Veteran actor Charlie Storrar, who performed in several of LAB’s productions in 2016 and 2017, says that “[w]e are keeping the torch of English language theater burning.”
It is a sentiment echoed by another LAB veteran Sharon Landon. However, as one who stepped in to take on an extra role when someone dropped out, she also finds it “exciting to practice a chosen craft, pushing one’s own boundaries ... like life.”
For experienced voice actor, Brian Foden, it’s a chance to step before Taiwan’s audience. He took as many of Brook’s classes as he could, but because of travel or work was never able to try out. This time he’s there.
“I want to keep the spirit of expat theater alive, and finally apply the many insights and ‘aha moments’ of the craft I got from Brook’s classes,” he says.
This is Brownlie’s first time as producer. As one who participated in theater from an early age, he relishes how “performers and audience connect through movement and spoken word.”
Playwrights include Deni Carson, Barry Hall, Chris Lanning, Shashwati Talukdar, Christopher Dore and Rick Monday & Paul Despins.
Red Room provides the needed space to keep such performances going.
What: Taipei Shorts
When: Tomorrow and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 1:30pm.
Where: Red Room, Taiwan Air Force Innovation Base (TAF 空總創新基地), 177, Sec 1, Jianguo S Rd, Taipei City (台北市建國南路一段177號)
Admission: NT$400, NT$300 for students. Tickets available at the door or by accupass: www.accupass.com/go
When Auntie Su (蘇) was evicted from her apartment last Monday, locals were so overjoyed that they sent thank you wreaths to the Tainan Police Department. “Justice has been served.” “Punish villains and eradicate evil,” read some of the notes. “Thank you, hardworking police for bringing peace and quiet back to Tainan!” a neighbor posted on Facebook. Auntie Su is a notorious “informer demon” (檢舉魔人), someone who is known to excessively report violations either for reward money or — depending which side you’re on — to serve as a justice warrior or a nosy annoyance. Usually they are called “professional”
In Taiwan’s foothills, suspension bridges — or the remnants of them — are almost as commonplace as temples. “Suspension bridge” is a direct translation of the Chinese-language term (吊橋, diaoqiao), but it’s a little misleading. These spans aren’t huge pieces of infrastructure. The larger ones are just wide enough for the little trucks used by farmers. Others are suitable for two-wheelers and wheelbarrows. If one end is higher than the other, they may incorporate steps, like the recently-inaugurated, pedestrians-only Shuanglong Rainbow Suspension Bridge (雙龍七彩吊橋) in Nantou County. Because torrential rains hammer Taiwan during the hot season, the landscape is scarred by
With his sugarcane juice stall at Monga Nightmarket (艋舺夜市) floundering due to COVID-19, things took a turn for the worse for Lin Chih-hang (林志航) when he was furloughed from a part-time job. The crowds are trickling back to this nightmarket in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), but Lin is now so busy that he has hired a friend to run his stall. As the sole driver of the night market’s delivery service, established on April 12, Lin takes on an average of 20 orders on weeknights and over 60 on weekends, with his father helping out when he is too busy.
May 25 to May 31 Three months before his 90th birthday in 2015, Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) woke up shortly after midnight and experienced a inexplicable sense of clarity. “Suddenly, my mind started going all over the place. There were some recent memories, but also many that I thought I had long forgotten. They would appear and disappear from my brain one after another, and they were so clear, so lucid. Even the memories from 70, 80 years ago felt like they happened yesterday. I suddenly thought, if I still remember so much, why don’t I write everything down?” Despite his solid