After a grandmother passes away one summer evening, the father, in an effort to bring the family together, tries to get all members of the family to write an obituary for her. The eldest brother in the family decides to write a script telling the family’s story. In the ensuing comedy about the passing of the family’s grandmother, the father is burning incense as an offering to his deceased mother and grumbling about how no one is cooperating with him when suddenly the grandmother comes back from the dead and returns to the world of the living.
The original script for 2012 An Obituary Written by Everybody won first prize for scriptwriting in the 2007 Taiwan Literary Awards. The scriptwriter, Cheng Yen-wei, wrote a total of four different versions of the second act. For their upcoming performance, The Party Theater Group has invited Hsieh Tung-ning to direct the play, which looks at the core values of Taiwanese families.
Hsieh says that the script seems ordinary and banal on the surface and even a bit farcical, but points out that Cheng uses various literary techniques, including absurdism, symbolism, romanticism, and surrealism to deconstruct the mental state of each family member and the existing social structures outside the family, as well as the flow of time, making for a Taiwanese-style work of magic realism that is rarely seen in typical Taiwanese theater.
There will be seven performances of 2012 An Obituary Written by Everybody at Taipei’s Guling Street Avant-Garde Theatre from Oct. 24 to 28. Tickets are available through NTHC ticketing.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)
1. grumble v.
埋怨 (mai2 yuan4)
例: Grumbling will not change the situation. We must come up with a solution.
2. surrealism n.
超現實主義 (chao1 xian4 shi2 zhu3 yi4)
例: Max Ernst and Salvador Dali are two of the most famous artists of surrealism.
3. structure n.
結構 (jie2 gou4)
例: The structure of the building was damaged during the earthquake.