Theater: Forbidden love

By Andrew C.C. Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 - Page 12

Forbidden love meets suicide in a new theatrical production that serves up equal measures of passion and philosophy.

Summer’s Snow (下雪了), a revival of Firefly Theatre’s 1996 production, will play in Taipei on May 3 and May 4, having finished a series of sold out performances in Greater Kaohsiung last week. The production features actors Ronnie Oscar Tung (董浚凱) and Huang Yu-chi (黃煜智) in the lead roles.

As one of the most respected avant-garde theater troupes in Taiwan, Firefly is known for tackling difficult and taboo subjects such as homosexuality and prostitution. The troupe’s artistic director Han Jiang (韓江) says he wrote the play as an emotionally-charged tale.

“The play is based on a real incident that happened to a friend. I was in my twenties at the time and serving as a police officer,” Han told the Taipei Times in a phone interview.

The story unfolds as an officer and conscripted soldier fall in love while serving in Keelung. As their secret affair proceeds, a series of incidents occur and the young soldier attempts suicide.

“I feel a deep affinity toward marginalized characters because I befriended many of them as a police officer,” Han said. He added, somewhat oddly, “This piece is arguably the happiest of all my plays because most of it describes the process of a romance.”

Summer’s Snow is the first segment in Han’s trilogy about this real-life love affair. Part two, Between Twilight (浮光, 2002), describes the latter half of the affair, while the third part Getting Late (天光, 2009) imagines what might have happened if the lovers had stayed together.

“I stay away from romantic comedy because that’s simply not my forte,” Han said when asked if there is humor in the play. “I write my play as I see the world — emotionally-drenched relations between people, and that religion helps us to to search for a purpose in life.”

Due to its subject matter, this show is for mature audiences only.