Work and life in Taipei continue its impact on my previous understanding about arts and cultures in Taiwan. Taiwan population includes people from different parts of mainland and different groups of indigenous people on the island. The place also experienced Japanese occupation and went through Japanese cultural invasion for many years. With such background and history, Taiwan local cultures have developed their unique characters as a result of cultural hybridity.
Responsible to management of Chinese opera programmes in Hong Kong, I paid special attention to the environment and ecology of Chinese operas in Taipei, watched different forms of performances and discussed with Taiwan colleagues about the development of the art form. Gezi Opera (Taiwanese Opera) is the major regional Chinese opera genre in Taiwan. It has gone through a completely different path of evolution comparing to other Chinese opera genres in mainland and Hong Kong. Taiwanese are pretty conscious about Gezi Opera’s development – Gezi Opera originally performed on outdoor stages and in television serves clearly as entertainment. During Japanese occupation traditional Chinese opera performances were banned, Gezi Opera artists thus created a new form of Gezi Opera, called “Ho-Pei-Zai drama”, to get through Japanese’ restrictions. The style of “Ho-Pei-Zai drama” directly affected the performance style of Gezi Opera afterwards. Gezi Opera moved into indoor theatres and subsequently developed its direction towards rigorous stage productions. In recent years Gezi Opera artists pay a lot of effort to the creation of “fine Gezi Opera” – to consciously deliver serious thoughts and messages through Chinese opera presentations with meticulous stage directions and designs. In just one single genre, a picture of such variety and complexity of Taiwan performing arts can already be seen. The different forms of Gezi Opera mentioned still exist nowadays in Taiwan.
Participation in the brainstorming programme meetings with NTCH colleagues is another piece of valuable experience. Leaving the cold conference room and entering some cozy cafes, we relax and boldly imagined, discussed and outlined the desired future of performing arts in Taiwan. Free and sincere discussions fertilized creativities and inspirations. To a person too used to speed, pressure and structures, like me, it is no doubt stimulation. Hope I can make use of the experience in my management work in Hong Kong.