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陰性力量與陽性力量(The power of feminine and masculine)

初期討論「女人天下」劇本時,恰巧遇上台灣總統候選人之一蔡英文上美國時代雜誌封面,因為封面照片風格色調偏暗,與台灣媒體習慣使用的繽紛色調呈明顯對比,這樣的差異在台灣的網路和媒體上掀起瘋狂討論。我今年合作的美國導演Annie Levy找來美國總統候選人之一希拉蕊在時代雜誌上的照片,兩相對比,甚是有趣。希拉蕊的照片以明亮潔淨的色調,凸顯了她女性的特質,降低了她的陽剛氣。而蔡英文的照片則以低調特寫強調她臉部的沉著表情,企圖降低女性軟性特質,增強陽剛力量。我不知道這是否是東西方對女性政治人物的期待有所不同,但十分有趣的是無論是男人或女人,對於女人擁有權力而感到不安,古今中外東西方都是一樣的反應。

Annie Levy和我今年要共同執導希臘古典喜劇家亞里斯多芬的作品「女人天下」(“The Ecclesiazusae,” 英譯 “The Assembly Women,” or “Women in Power”)。我們使用的劇本是當代希臘劇作家Dionisis Christopoulos所改寫的版本。希臘古典戲劇沒有女性演員,皆由男人來詮釋女性角色。「女人天下」描述一群雅典城邦婦女因對男人主導的政權失望,企圖將政權以「合理」的方式移轉到女人身上。劇中描述女人對於美好政府的想像,應該要像烏托邦一樣,每個人分享一樣的財富、食物甚至性愛,戲中也少不了以荒腔走板的方式詮釋女性對於治理國家的想像就像管理廚房一樣。

我跟Annie將場景轉換到排練場,三個演技老派、油腔滑調的男演員排練「女人天下」,三位演員彼此競爭,卻又盡找舞監助理(一名年輕美國女孩)的麻煩。戲裡的排練場內權力地位隨著劇情的推演開始產生微妙的變化。男人對女人的刻板印象與女人對於權力地位的渴望與害怕,隨著戲中戲的情節,對應排練場上的角色關係,尋求同盟或地位被威脅,原本被欺負調戲的女助理,最後變成最有力量控制局勢的人。

幾次排練下來,令我重新省思什麼是真正的力量。強壯、巨大、高大、剛硬等字眼,是屬於陽性力量的聯想,那陰性力量呢?柔軟的、未知的、沒有具體形狀的、蔓延的,是陰性力量的聯想。如何在戲裡呈現出兩種力量的交替,是很有趣的實驗。陽性力量可以具體的被呈現,那陰性力量的?無論男性女性,一個真正有力量的人,應該是兩種力量都兼備,那又該如何平衡兩種特質呢?

我想,在「女人天下」裡要探索的不是男人和女人之間的戰爭,而是「真正的接納」彼此不同的特質,並且利用這些特質創造更好的生活。這也或許回應了當今的政治局勢,越來越多女性投入政治活動、關注社會議題,這或許衝擊了某些男性主導的思維,但是也帶來新的氣象,不是嗎?

— Jocelyn Yuchia Chang, Taiwan

 

During our early discussion on the script of The Ecclesiazusae (English translation as The Assembly Women or Women in Power), Tsai Ing-wen, the 2016 presidential candidate of Taiwan happened to appear on the cover of the US magazine Time and became quite an event. The color tone of that cover photo was much darker than that preferred by the Taiwanese media, a difference which somehow provoked debate on the Internet and in the local media. My partner this year, Annie Levy, is an American director. She juxtaposes the Time cover photo of Hillary Clinton, also a presidential candidate, with that of Tsai Ing-wen, and a stark contrast comes out. On that photo of Hillary, bright, clear color underlines her female quality, and downplays the masculine strength. On the other photo, however, low color tone plays up Tsai’s calm expression. The softer, more female features are glossed over, and it is the masculinity it tries to highlight. I am not sure if it has to do with the divided expectations for female politicians in the Eastern and Western world, but I do know about one interesting phenomenon: Whether it be men or women, they are anxious when power is possessed by the latter. And it’s quite true both in the East and West, from the very ancient past until now.

The Ecclesiazusae is by Aristophanes, an ancient Greek comic playwright. Annie Levy and I are co-directing it this year. The script we are using is an adapted version by Greek playwright, Dionisis Christopoulos. As there were no female actors in the ancient Greece, all the women are played by male actors. In The Ecclesiazusae, the women in Athens are disappointed by the regime led by men, and they attempt to “reasonably“ shift the leadership to themselves. The play depicts many beautiful prospects the women bear for the government. They believe government should create a world where everyone equally shares wealth, food, and even sex. There is even an absurd plot depicting how women imagine the ruling of a country the same as they rule their kitchen.

In the rehearsal, Annie and I try to interpret the play in an alternative way. Three old-school and worldly male actors are rehearsing The Ecclesiazusae. Meanwhile, there is a young American girl who is the assistant stage manager. At first, the three male actors rival each other, and always find fault with the young girl. Nevertheless, the power relationship begins to change with the evolvement of the play, whether it’s men’s stereotypes of women, or women’s yearning for and fear of power. With the development of the play within the play and given the corresponding relationship between the roles on the stage, different characters will search for alliances, and will sometimes be threatened. In the end, the female assistant, who is originally persecuted and molested by the male actors, becomes the most powerful one in controlling the situation.

I am driven by our rehearsals to think about power. Terms like robust, enormous, tall, and tough are associated with masculinity. Then how about femininity? Soft, unknown, intangible, endlessly spreading are adjectives make us think about the female quality. How we could alternatively shift between these two types of power in the play is quite an interesting experiment. If it’s easier to give the masculine power a tangible shape, then what should we do with the feminine one? Whether it be male or female, a truly powerful person should possess both qualities. Yet, how should these two qualities be balanced?

To me, The Ecclesiazusae explores more than just the war between men and women. It actually discusses how one can “truly embrace” different characters, and that how we can make good use of them to create a better life. Such reflection might also respond to the current political situation, when more and more women devote themselves to politics, and are concerned about social issues. While this trend is somehow a shock to the convention of male dominance, it also brings us new courage, doesn’t it?

— Jocelyn Yuchia Chang, Taiwan

(Translated by Yu Ting Kao)

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This entry was posted on August 28, 2015 by .
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