Imagine standing on a stage, unable to see or hear, trying to convey enough emotion to touch and inspire an audience — that is the skill that a cast of visually and hearing impaired actors have been rehearsing over the past two months along with five other performers for a theatrical adaption of Taiwanese writer Kang Yun-wei’s (康芸薇) prose collection Wo Dai Ni You Shan Wan Shui (我帶你遊山玩水, “I Will Take You Sightseeing”).
The play is part of the Ministry of Culture’s “accessible reading” plan to promote literature and reading in special needs groups and schools.
Directed by dramatist Wang Chi-mei (汪其楣) and produced by blind soprano Chu Wan-hua (朱萬花), the play is about a woman and her children’s struggle to pull their lives together after her husband dies.
The cast of 18 actors are to perform the play at Eslite’s performance hall in Taipei’s Songshan Cultural and Creative Park on May 30 and 31, as well as at the National University of Tainan on June 18 and 19.
The visually impaired actors were given the play’s script in auditory format and had to learn sign language to communicate with their hearing impaired colleagues, said Wang, who founded the nation’s first theater troupe for actors with disabilities, the Taipei Pantomime Company, in 1977 and established Seeing Smiling Theatre of the Deaf in 2008.
“I’d never interacted so closely with blind people before. It’s very refreshing,” said Michael Chu (褚錫雄), a 61-year-old deaf actor with more than 35 years of experience.
He said his past performances focused more on miming, but that this play involves more vocalization and sign language.
“I hope the performance will show audiences a different side to deaf and blind people,” 31-year-old deaf actor Ouyang Lei said.
Blind actor Chang Che-jui (張哲瑞), 28, said that before joining the cast, he could not imagine having deaf friends because of the communication challenges, so the most rewarding part of the experience for him has been building friendships “that you never thought possible.”
The cast is aiming to overcome communication barriers by using beautiful body movements to move the audience, 60-year-old Wang Chao-he said.
Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) has urged the public to support the troupe by seeing the play.
Lung said seeing the actors perform could help people overcome their prejudices about disabilities.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,