METAPHOR OF THE SHADOW
Based on the short story of Lu Xun
This piece of work is a reflection on brightness and darkness, inward and outward, life and death, past and future. It is a collective presentation of the cast members’ perspective of the difference between rural areas and urban cities. The work is performed using the medium of Chinese local operas, which is still alive and well. And the main concept comes from Lu Xun’s Farewell from the Shadow.
The Chinese local operas have become historical relics after the light sheds on modernization. It is now an isolated area highly dependent on the mechanism of the metaphor to rebuild the bridge of communication with contemporary Chinese culture.
Reincarnation is one of the stereotypical plots in Chinese local operas, which underlines the concentrated expression of the will of life. It is also a metaphor of the attitudes and wills when we see Chinese local operas and when the conventional culture meets the suppression from modern civilization.
The modern civilization has created a system of contradictory discourse for brightness and darkness, man and ghost, rational and irrational. When we deliberate over it, we encounter Lu Xun again because the world he described hit the point of the reality we share. That is, we are wondering in an inexistent place. Wondering in an inexistent place and confronting towards lightness and darkness, inward and outward, life and death, past and future, we try to face the spiritual poverty and crisis after the disenchantment and try to express deep self-examination and refutation.
The forms of Chinese local operas are applied in this work to embody the living situations under the separation of light and dark, body and soul, the modern and traditional, the materialistic and spiritual lives. We borrow some visual and music elements of Chinese local operas in order to manifest the current living conditions through the unique performance.
We borrow the shadow puppet (Piying opera) style of using light; layers from the outside form the inner metaphor meanings and hence gradually expand. Calling back the spirit of the dead, a scene in a local opera named Dao Tsing with a most sorrowful voice of singing (Da Ku Ban), the soul of the dead is doing monologues, expressing his views of the home for the spirits of the dead.
In exploration of relation of opposition like light and dark, life and death, we are going to open up a river which connects the two separate channels: the world of pre-modern China carried by Chinese local operas and the world of modern China. Farewell from the Shadow written by Lu Xun in 1925 described a unique modern subject –“shadow” from which we could see the ties between modern and pre-modern China and think how to estimate and express our initiatives and choices in this ambiguous and pendent society today.