If there’s one show that you don’t want to miss this summer, it’s LAB Space’s presentation of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, playing over the next two weekends.
In Carnage, which won the Tony Award for best play in 2009, director Jaime Zuniga has put together a strong, talented cast to meet the demands of a play where there are no small parts and no heroes. Two sets of parents, who meet to resolve a fight between their sons, quickly expose their own dysfunctional marriages in a loser-take-all match where all are basically on stage for a full 90 minutes.
Yong Hui-shurn (楊慧珊) plays Veronica, a writer determined to preserve civilization, its values and symbolic books. She drives the play by arranging the meeting. Derek Kwan (關顯揚) plays Michael, her husband, and a “Neanderthal-type” blue collar.
Photo courtesy of Cheng Yi Lee
On the opposing team is Alan, a busy lawyer played by Lawrence Ong (翁書強). He wants the mundane incident to be settled in 15 minutes so he can get back to his more important clients and work. Lesley Hu (胡世恩) plays Annette, his demure wife. Despite her initial reserved poise, she wreaks carnage by the play’s end.
The lines come fast and furious, and the play dissects not just marriage, but children, families and the point of existence. Each actor and actress has their moment of revelation and vulnerability as all four alternately contest in couple vs couple and gender vs gender battles where the veneer of civilization crumbles and even the symbolic books take a beating.
Making use of LAB Space’s flexible space, Zuniga skillfully stages this one-set play as a close, intimate theatre in the round where any seat is good as the four combatants move about as boxers in a ring. With four-letter words flying in criticism and retaliation, this is not a show for children.
We are “lumps of clay,” Michael jokes at the beginning, but what these four adult enfants terribles fashion by the play’s end is not the most promising. You will laugh, but also be forced to reflect.
■ The LAB Space (實演場), 3F, 9, Beitou Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市北投路一段9號3樓). Remaining shows are tomorrow and Sunday and July 1-3. All shows begin at 8pm, doors open 7:30pm. Tickets are available from NT$600 at: www.accupass.com/go/carnage; for more information, check: thelabtw.com.
Last week I had an experience that I suspect has become quite common for foreigners living in Taiwan: talking to a Taiwanese who was an ardent fan of soon-to-be-former US President Donald Trump. As I was heading for the stairs to my apartment, my landlady stopped me, eyes alight, with an idea for what to do about storing my bike downstairs. The conversation eventually veered into politics, and for a full 35 minutes she held forth on the manifold greatness of world-savior Donald Trump. She’s neither unkind nor a fool. Pro-Taiwan, she detests former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese
Jan. 18 to Jan. 24 Viewers couldn’t believe their eyes when the Taipei First Girls’ Senior High School marching band appeared on television in 1981. None of the girls were sporting the government-mandated hairstyle for female secondary school students, which forbade their hair from going past their neck. Some even had perms. The students had been invited to perform in the US, which the government saw as an important affair since the US had severed official ties two years earlier. The idea was that sending a group of girls with the same permitted hairstyle would appear contradictory to
Benjamin Chen (陳昱安) didn’t know how intense a hackathon could be. “You literally work non-stop. You don’t eat breakfast, you don’t eat lunch because you really need to finish the product,” the 10th-grader from Taipei American School says. “You feel the adrenaline rushing… It’s refreshing, I was like a new person.” Chen became fascinated by these round-the-clock competitions to create technology or software products, and participated in 10 more before he decided to start one that focused on his twin passions of economics and technology. He says there are many hackathons that delve into social and environmental issues, but few have
A new section of Taipei City bike path will open soon along the southern bank of Jingmei River (景美溪). Discovery of this missing link by members of Skeleton Crew, a Taipei-based group of cyclists that grew out of off-season training by dragon boat racers, reignited debate about how many kilometers of bike path there now are in Taipei. Their guesstimates ranged from 60 to almost 400 kilometers, though calculations used different criteria and definitions. Some said “Taipei means Taipei City,” others that this would be silly since it was too easy to cross unknowingly into New Taipei City, Keelung City