The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU);《太阳不是我们的》

The Sun is Not for Us (Taiyang bushi women de)

Genre: drama (in English)

Produced by stage@leedstouring, University of Leeds, Britain

Director: David Jiang (Jiang Weiguo)

Introduction to one of the main works in the Pilot

In 2011 Li Ruru at University of Leeds organised a set of events to celebrate the centenary of the canonical Chinese playwright, Cao Yu, her stepfather. One event was the presentation of a devised play, The Sun is Not for Us, based on the female characters from four of Cao Yu's plays. This production was directed by professional director and honorary research fellow in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, David Jiang. The students (from different programmes including Chinese Studies, Theatre and Performance, and English and Drama) undertook the project as a co-curricular activity, and it was their first encounter with Chinese drama, and for those non-Chinese students, it was their first opportunity to learn about Chinese culture.

The production was well received. Later in 2011, Li Ruru (producer), Director David Jiang and Artistic Director of stage@leeds Theatre Steve Ansell (who helped the technical side of the production) decided to make a new version with a different cast (most of the 2011 version cast members had graduated).

The 2012 version by stage@leedstouring performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was invited by the Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival to be one of its opening shows. It played for three nights, 6-8 November, to full houses (200 each). On the third night the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds and other senior staff attended. Part of the production and the Vice Chancellor's speech were reported by Shanghai television, on the internet, and in newspapers.

A seminar on renditions of Cao Yu's plays, involving scholars, educators, theatre practitioners and critics, took place in Shanghai on 9 November 2012. This was jointly organized by the Shanghai Theatre Academy, the National Association of Dramatists Shanghai Branch and stage@leedstouring, University of Leeds.

The play went on to perform in Qianjiang (Cao Yu’s ancestral town) and in Chengdu. Both venues were located in University colleges and the play was enthusiastically received by packed sitting and standing audiences. In Qianjiang attendance was approximately 1,000 and in Chengdu, 1,400. At each institution lectures were given and drama workshops held.

The performances in each city were followed by discussion, with the whole company returning to the stage for an interaction with the audience. Questions ranged from queries about the rationale for the interpretation of specific characters to the suitability of the play for foreign/Chinese audiences and whether an audience needed prior knowledge of Chinese culture and/or of the original plays.

The performances were accompanied by an exhibition of twenty pop-up banners about the playwright Cao Yu. At the end of the China tour, these banners were presented to the Cao Yu museum in Qianjiang city for their loan and exhibition collection.

Performances in Shanghai and Chengdu were included in the UK Now project organised by the British Council.

Scenario:

The Sun Is Not for Us is a newly devised work exploring love, hatred, adultery, incest, hope, frustration and struggle from a Chinese women’s perspective. What happens when a Chinese woman, after imprisoned in an eighteen-year arranged marriage, falls in love with her stepson? Why does a girl leave university to become a courtesan? How can a woman reconcile primitive passions, sexual deprivation and a defiant courage for life? After losing love and dignity is death the only escape? The production’s poignant splendour, poetic style and its profound sentiments help audiences see Chinese women’s long and painful journey in the early 20th century - denied the sun and bereft of hope.

《太阳不是我们的》

剧种:戏剧(英语)

演出单位:英国利兹大学利兹舞台巡演团(stage@leedstouring)

导演:蒋维国

《太阳不是我们的》起源:

2011年,利兹大学李如茹组织了一系列活动纪念中国戏剧家曹禺(为李如茹继父)的百年诞辰。其中一项就是呈现一部以曹禺四部戏剧中的女性角色为基础、通过集体发展式编创的演出:《太阳不是我们的》。这部作品由蒋维国博士执导,他不仅是专业戏剧导演,并且是利兹大学表演与文化产业学院的荣誉研究员。参与这个项目的学生来自大学的各种专业,把演出排练当作学科辅导活动,该项使得两组演员中的大部分学生首次得以接触中国戏剧和文化。

这部作品第一版演出以后反响很好。2011年下半年,李如茹(制作人)、导演蒋维国和利兹舞台艺术总监Steve Ansell(后来在演出中为舞台部门工作) 决定采用不同的演员另外制作一部全新的作品(2011版的大部分同学都毕业了)。

2012版《太阳不是我们的》首先参加了爱丁堡艺穗节的演出,同年受到上海国际当代戏剧节邀请,该作品成为其开场秀之一。从11月6日到8日,三场演出全部客满(每场200人)。正在中国访问的利兹大学校长携其他高层教、职员出席观看了第三场演出。上海电视台转播了部分演出和校长的讲话,并同步在互联网及报纸上进行了报道。

2012年11月9日关于演绎曹禺戏剧的研讨会在上海召开,学者,教育工作者,戏剧实践者和评论人员出席了讨论会。此研讨会由上海戏剧学院,戏剧家协会上海分会以及利兹大学舞台巡演团(stage@leedstouring)共同举办。

上海演出以后,此剧分别在潜江(曹禺祖籍)和成都上演。两场演出场地均在大学学院里,观众厅爆满,很多人加座或者站着观看。在潜江出席观众约为1,100人,而成都为1,400人。利兹演出团队为潜江与成都当地师生举办了演讲和戏剧讨论会。

各城市的演出后都有一个讨论会,导演和整个剧团成员与观众互动。讨论问题的范围很广泛,有关于演绎特定角色基本原理的提问,也有关于该演出是否对于中、外观众都合适的提问,互动中也牵涉到观众是否需要在观看演出前就必须具备中国文化和/或原剧的相关背景知识。

这次巡演同时提供一个关于剧作家曹禺极其作品的展览,此展览由二十个易拉宝展板组成。中国巡演结束后,这些展板赠予潜江曹禺纪念馆,成为馆藏永久展览的一部分,也可以借给其他单位作为独立展览使用。

在上海和成都的演出都被囊括在英国文化协会组织的“当代英国”的项目中。

剧情简要:

曹禺的剧作一直以各种艺术形式在国内以至国外不断上演。这次的英语版《太阳不是我们的》是一台具有当代意念和样式的戏,聚焦于剧中的女性人物,由年轻的英国演员通过他们对中国作品的理解,重新组合、串编、发展而成。剧中出现的人物如蘩漪、陈白露、金子、瑞珏、四凤等,将一群女人的爱,恨,情欲,乱伦,希望,沮丧,挣扎,集中地交叉呈现在观众面前。强烈、深刻、激情、震撼的剧情表现了:十八年不幸婚姻禁锢下的女人如何与她的继子发生了恋情;曾是纯洁的女学生离开学校后为何成了混迹于权贵男人中间的交际花;乡村女子原始的情欲怎样引向了追求新生活的反叛勇气;而当失去了爱和尊严时,为什么死亡成了弱势女子的唯一解脱……这台以新颖方式编成的戏游走于曹禺的各个剧中,多样的色彩、随意但带诗意的风格、深沉又不时爆发的情感,引导观众瞥视二十世纪初中国女性长期痛苦的历程,她们是失去希望、见不到阳光的一族。

Productions

Title Genre Production Company
The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU) China 2012; 太阳不是我们的 - 中国 2012 Drama;戏剧 stage@leedstouring;利兹舞台巡演团
The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU) Edinburgh 2012; 太阳不是我们的 - 爱丁堡 2012 Drama;戏剧 stage@leedstouring;利兹舞台巡演团
The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU) Leeds 2011; 太阳不是我们的 - 利兹 2011 Drama;戏剧 stage@leedstouring;利兹舞台巡演团

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