Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - Page 4 News List

NTU drama department to celebrate anniversary with famous playwrights

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Some of the cast members of Shakespeare at the Mahjong Game, written by Chi Wei-jan, promote the production in Taipei on Monday last week.

Photo: CNA, courtesy of National Taiwan University’s drama and theater department

National Taiwan University’s (NTU) drama and theater department is to celebrate its 20th anniversary by mounting a production of former department director Chi Wei-jan’s (紀蔚然) most recent work, Shakespeare at the Mahjong Game (莎士比亞打麻將), in Taipei.

A prolific playwright, Chi has scored several hits, including Mahjong Game (夜夜夜麻), MIT: Mad in Taiwan (瘋狂年代) and A Thief in the Night (黑夜白賊), as well as being a novelist and essayist.

His writing features a sharp wit even as he lays out for audiences and readers the cold, hard realities of life and the fragility of ideology.

In Shakespeare at the Mahjong Game, a playwright named Cheng Hao (程浩), who is suffering from severe writer’s block, as well as a losing streak at mahjong, accidentally summons William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen and Samuel Beckett.

The famed playwrights, accompanied by four characters from some of their most famous works — Hamlet, Nina (from Chekhov’s The Seagull), Nora (from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House) and Lucky (from Becket’s Waiting for Godot) — discuss big questions about the meaning of life with Cheng Hao.

However, will such discussions be enough to snap him out of his writer’s funk and losing streak?

Shakespeare at the Mahjong Game aims to help the audience focus on the anxieties and hardships of modern Taiwanese society and perhaps provide a solution on how to escape self-entrapment, said Lu Po-shen (呂柏伸), the production’s director.

There will be four performances at the Taipei Metropolitan Hall over the weekend of May 31 to June 2, with a cast drawn from the department’s faculty.

The department would welcome alumni who want to help with the show, it said.

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