Canto to the land

By Andrew C.C. Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Sat, Oct 05, 2013 - Page 12

Taiwan as A Young Man (少年台灣), a musical based on a memoir by literary icon Chiang Hsun (蔣勳), is a quiet love song to Taiwan.

“This production has a small-but-beautiful, delicate and chamber feel to it,” said Mel Yang (楊忠衡), artistic director of the All Music Theatre (音樂時代), which will debut the 10-act musical on Double Ten National Day.

The musical is about Chiang’s trip to visit his painter friend, and about the physical and spiritual journey that ensues. It’s adapted from Chiang’s memoir of the same name: a collection of 27 prose pieces about his backpacking experiences during the past decade, including cherished encounters with the people from Taiwan’s grassroots.

For musical accompaniment, Director Fu Hung-cheng (符宏征) eschews the usual full orchestra in favor of a piano trio to allow the actors’ vocal nuances to shine.

Wish (願), a theme song from the show, sees Yin declaring his love to the homeland: “If you are the dust, I would be the ash...I would make a wish to continue my love with you.”

“Historically, the Taiwanese people are immigrants who accommodate each other and seek to thrive together,” Chiang said. “This book is my canto to the land and its spirit.”

Taiwan as A Young Man will be at the Nanhai Theater (南海劇場) from Oct. 10 to 20. The production features lyrics by Chiang, songs by Jan Tien-hao (冉天豪) and a cast including famed folk singer Johnny Yin (殷正洋).