‘Taiwanese New Drama” originated in the 1920s as a result of the intellectual elite’s creative pursuit of modern drama in the Japanese occupation period. The protagonist Chang Wei-hsien in the drama A Beautiful Dream of Youth is a pilot who plunges himself into the Movement of New Drama during the A...Read more
‘Taiwanese New Drama” originated in the 1920s as a result of the intellectual elite’s creative pursuit of modern drama in the Japanese occupation period. The protagonist Chang Wei-hsien in the drama A Beautiful Dream of Youth is a pilot who plunges himself into the Movement of New Drama during the Age of Enlightenment. Using the protagonist Chang Wei-hsien’s tragically beautiful romance with a Japanese aristocratic girl as the warp and his conflicts with Japanese colonial officials as the woof of the storyline, the screenwriters Wu Hsiu-ying and Chiang Mu-fei give an account of Chang Wei-hsien’s numerous exploits, such as participating in the Movement of New Drama in Taiwan under Japanese rule, taking part in an array of social protests and movements, travelling to the Tsukiji Small Theater in Japan to learn new forms and techniques, founding the Ming Feng Theatre Troupe after returning to Taiwan, and insisting on having performances in the Taiwanese language to enlighten the public.
Considering Chang Wei-hsien’s eagerness and resolution to reform Taiwanese Opera in previous years, portraying Chang Wei-hsien in a Taiwanese Opera is inexorably tinted with absurdity and contradiction in relation to what Chang Wei-hsien espoused. However, The structural concepts of “act” and “set” adopted from western stage plays and presenting the show as a three-act modern costume Taiwanese Opera seems to correspond to Taiwanese opera troupes’ transition to performing new dramas as a consequence of the colonial government’s “doctrine which gradually banned old operas” after the Sino-Japanese War broke out. “This show has developed a new set of body language which is exclusive for the melodic tune of modern-costume Taiwanese Opera. It seamlessly matches performers’ costumes, the mood of the show, or even parts of the show which includes features of new drama and excludes singing,” said Lin Ho-i, Professor of the Department of Drama and Theatre at National Taiwan University.