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The 7th Taishin Arts Award Performing Art Nominee

The Party Theatre Group "The Sky Crisis"

The Party Theater Group is nominated for "The Sky Crisis" that debuted at Guling Theater on September 26, 2008. Director An-Chen Chiu shares his thoughts about theater.

I founded The Party Theater Group in 2000. I wanted to focus on original works by international artists or plays that contained minority themes. In 2002, I wrote, developed, and directed an original production, a musical, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet titled The Story of Two Lovers. It was later performed by the Fun Stage Theater Company of Singapore in September 2004.

Some of our plays have gay themes. Our tragic-comedy Eden in 2002 was set in Taipei's 228 Park, a favorite meeting place for gay men. Our next production Young and Wild premiered in December 2003 and featured the story of three vocational night school students who are also members of an Eight Generals troupe. In 2004 and 2005, we organized and presented two festivals of shows by solo artists called Six Queer Stories and My Dinner with Shakespeare.  Give it Up! Kafka, produced in September 2006, utilized different puppetry styles and live music. In 2007, we performed two plays about love, pain, and compassion: Letter Home and Love, Just in Time.

Our Taishin-nominated work The Sky Crisis refers to the past 50 years of uncertainty and conflict between Taiwan and China. Recent statistics show that 70 percent of Taiwanese believe Taiwan is an independent country. So our play uses those facts and feelings to create a fast-paced comedy spy story. Since Taiwanese feel anxious and unsure about what the future holds, we thought this was a great theme to explore in the theater.

Most plays, TV shows, and films dealing with the subject of Taiwan's relationship with China are serious, sad, or accusatory in tone. Of course the cross-strait issue is not funny, but we created a darkly humorous play about such serious matters; it is a black comedy. We present the personal and national confusion, conflict, and sometimes craziness that the Taiwanese people live every day. This play is a political black comedy that explores people's attitudes about Taiwan's relationship with China in the context of a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller.

The play confronts the sensitive issue of Taiwan's tenuous political existence. We satirize the perverse nature of our country's situation in which independence may bring destruction, while reunification with China may bring dissolution; so therefore, the best that we can hope for is this current limbo, this indefinite continuation of the current, ambiguous status quo. That's surely enough to make anyone crazy.

In addition, we staged the play in an unconventional manner. Everything about the play was unconventional: its storyline, characters, style, and scenery. We had six characters played by only two actors wearing masks. We had great stage design too, as we had more than 200 comic panel projections illustrated by comic artist De-Feng KE. Not only do we deal with such serious social and political matters, the play is also wildly entertaining and a great theatrical experience for the audience.

-----As told to Susan Kendzulak

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