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Pulling Taiwan's next generation onstage
Publication Date : 04-03-2013
Theatre artist Lu Yi-hsin strives to bring the magic of theatre to children and youngsters in Taiwan's rural areas
After her first encounter with the world of drama, Lu Yi-hsin knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
“Drama to me is the best way to fulfill my artistic imagination,” Lu says.
When given the chance to return to her hometown, Tainan, and starta theatre of her own, she seized the opportunity with relish.
“I wanted to change the image of Tainan as being a cultural desert,” she says.
Lu insists on writing and producing plays catering to Taiwan's youngsters. Drawing from a large pool of topics, Lu does not limit herself to only local cultures and histories, instead taking inspiration from all corners of the world.
"Plays for children have always been seen as superficial and immature,” she said, “so I want to do something that will also make parents forget that they are watching a show created for their 5-year-olds.”
Lu, a mother, knows she has a significant task on her hands, one that will affect the future of many children.
“I just want to make high-quality plays for Taiwan's children, and I am aware that if I do not take this responsibility, then no one else will.
“My goal is to tell a good story through each play and make children learn something new about life,” Lu, the art director for each of her plays, said.
In an attempt to ensure Taiwan's younger generation develops a rich understanding for the country's multicultural society, Lu inserts a range of languages into her pieces.
“It may be hard for many young children to understand the plays as most of them do not understand Taiwanese very well,” she said. “I don't want to just put a concept inside children's brains and tell them this is the right thing to learn. I want to inspire children instead of teaching them. I want to encourage them to think, not to tell them what to learn.
“It is important for me to deliver different aspects of life, including the good, the bad, and the bitterness...Life is not always rainbows and butterflies. I want to help them acquire the ability to see perfections inside the flaws. Let them understand that life may not be perfect, but it can still be wonderful.”
Another dream awaits
With a growing tide of support for Lu's New Visions New Voices Theatre Company, including from the likes of the Ministry of Culture and local organisations, it seems Lu may not be too far from achieving some of the goals she has set for herself.
Yet, in pursuing her first target, Lu has fallen upon another.
“I discovered that many children, especially those who live in the countryside, are thirsting for cultural education,” she said. “But for them, receiving sufficient academic resources is hard enough, let alone acquiring nonmandatory materials, such as those necessary for the arts.
“I was really impressed by all the comments and reactions from these children. I can tell that they want to be more inspired, but they think it is impossible to have the chance to watch plays regularly.”
Lu never imagined how powerful her plays could be for those children who lack much but retain a vibrant passion for life. And so, building on her initial success, Lu is preparing to take her dream to the next level.
“My theatre company is scheduled to work with organisations like the Garden of Hope Foundation in order to serve more disadvantaged people, especially children," she says.
“It's a pleasant surprise to know that I can make a difference in Taiwan's younger generation.”