A musical titled Jian Ji: A Just Life (簡吉奏鳴曲) portrays the life and times of Chien Chi (簡吉), a Taiwanese anti-colonialist and farmers’ rights advocate, the Kaohsiung Cultural Affairs Bureau said.
In the 1920s, Chien founded a leftist agrarian collective called the Taiwan Farmers’ Union and organized by bicycle across Kaohsiung from Fongshan District (鳳山), recruiting members — eventually more than 20,000 people — to resist exploitation by the Japanese colonial government and the sugar companies, the bureau said.
Chien continued his struggle for equality in subsequent decades, but was executed in 1951 at the beginning of the White Terror era by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime, the bureau said.
The play, to be performed at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts’ (衛武營國家藝術文化中心, also known as Weiwuying) Playhouse on Nov. 24 and 25, received support from the city government and the Kaohsiung Philharmonic Cultural and Arts Foundation, it said.
Director Lee Hsiao-ping (李小平) is best known for a stage adaptation of novelist Eileen Chang’s (張愛玲) The Golden Cangue (Jin Suo Ji, 金鎖記), for which he received a 2011 National Arts and Culture Foundation award, it said.
Lee Che-yi (李哲藝), a Kaohsiung native who won the 2012 Golden Melody Award for Best Producer, is the musical director for the play and oversaw the composition of seven original songs in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), it said.
Half of the artists and performers participating in the project hail from Kaohsiung, including singing director Chan Je-jiung (詹喆君), costume designer Lee Yu-ling (李鈺玲) and visual designer Lin Chung-sheng (林忠聖), it added.
Kaohsiung-based actors and theater students from Shu-Te University and National Sun Yat-sen University are to star in a cast accompanied by the Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra, it said.
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