遠來的「角兒」會唱戲——生旦兩抱的馬玉琪

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1988 / 7月

文‧李光真 圖‧鄭元慶


六月下旬,台北市戲劇季推出最新改編的國劇「梁山伯與祝英台」,擔綱演出的,正是去年國內菊壇新添的遠來「客」——馬玉琪。

回國短短一年半,在國內戲迷熱切的掌聲和期待下,馬玉琪重拾了荒疏近廿年的絕活,屢屢登台獻藝。他演小生時英颯倜儻、能把翎子雉尾舞得虎虎生風;反串旦角時,又嬌媚多姿,直讓人有看完全場卻渾不知「此姝原為男兒身」之感。


「不簡單哪,京牌小生泰斗葉盛蘭的入室大弟子!」

「生旦兩門兒抱,絕活不少呢!」

「是個反共藝人,在香港待了七、八年,才有機會來台灣演出!」

「聽說還是清朝皇族之後,氣勢就是不一樣!」

去年二月下旬,軍中劇隊開箱新春檔中,打頭陣的陸光,首先推出全本「群英會」。當日下午五點多,國軍文藝活動中心前就開始湧現少見的人潮,鬢髮斑白的老戲迷和帶著筆記本的學生們夾雜在隊伍中,「馬玉琪」三個字不斷被提起、被談論。

接下來幾天,馬玉琪挑樑的「羅成叫關」、「四郎探母」,出現了開演前票亭剛開就已無票可售的奇景,心急的戲迷們互相推擠,和售票員發生爭執。「馬玉琪熱」迅速在國內傳染開了。

究竟,馬玉琪是怎樣的一位藝人,能在短短數天內,打破國內平劇界慣有的沈寂?

深厚的藝術涵養

馬玉琪的新居,座落在台北市景美區一棟尋常的四樓公寓頂樓。但訪客一進門,卻不免輕輕驚呼:正廳堣@張精緻的紅木炕榻,炕桌上擺的是清官窯青花蒜頭瓶,兩旁嘉道年間的雕花木琴桌上,景泰藍香爐在午後陽光下閃耀著。精緻的博古櫃中,錯落有致地陳列著各色的瓷器與古玩,這一切,都讓人有走進了另一個時空——古老中國——的錯覺。

再抬眼看去,張大千的中堂、文徵明的書法,還有傅抱石、溥心畬、李苦禪,以及被馬玉琪譽為「滿室生春」——揚州八怪之一羅聘的蘭竹巨幛……;一室的名畫真跡,令人目眩神移。

穿著輕便練功裝、身材清瘦的馬玉琪,閃動一雙帶笑還瞋的大眼,興致盎然地為訪客們解說畫作。馬玉琪不僅懂畫、擅畫,更把書畫視為藝人改善氣質、提昇內在涵養的方法。

他說:「中國書畫和平劇藝術其實是相通的」,平劇的藝術觀好似「大寫意」,透過工筆式的「創作筆觸」——極盡精微的唱、做、念、打——表達出來。

書畫劇藝,融會貫通

「大寫意」的藝術觀使平劇馭繁為簡,從具象中取材卻又不囿於具象,反倒虛實相生,昇華為獨特的藝術美感;而細膩的工筆筆觸,則使平劇每一個動作、每一句唱腔,都能鋪陳為美的極致。

「例如『拾玉鐲』中有很多趕雞、餵雞、縫衣等動作。這些動作在現實生活中往往是瑣碎而沒有美感的」,馬玉琪說,「但平劇只取用它們最重要,足以達意的部分,再給予『藝術加工』,使平板無趣的日常動作也變得韻味十足。」

此外,書畫與平劇也具有共通的創作原則。羅聘的「瀟湘圖」上引述鄭板橋的話「未畫以前,不立一格;既畫以後,不留一格」,馬玉琪一直奉為圭臬。「這句話給我啟發很大:未演出前,不要用程序把自己拘死;演出以後,則要勇於拋棄既成的窠臼,努力求新求變,才能有進步」,他說。

精研書畫、擅鑑古董,閒暇時還能以文章自娛,從而沒取各種藝術養分,這是馬玉琪令人羨慕之處。台灣大學外文系教授、戲劇學家胡耀恆就指出:「馬玉琪舉手投足皆具美感,而這份發自內涵的『美』,特別耐人尋味。」

顯赫的家世

得天獨厚的家世背景,對馬玉琪的藝術造詣頗有助益。

他的外祖父紹英,是清光緒皇帝的度支部大臣;宣統年間,更升任內務府大臣,官居機要。也因此,平日府內往來的,都是皇親國戚、高人雅士。家中富藏的古玩書畫、堂會時的名伶獻藝,環繞在馬玉琪幼年時的日常生活。

馬玉琪的母親擅畫,旅居加拿大的姐姐是鋼琴家,弟弟馬玉璋則是大陸當紅武生,稱得上藝術世家。

一九五一年,馬玉琪十歲,從三千多名報考生中脫穎而出,考進北平「中國戲曲學校」。當時的學校,在「通天教主」王瑤卿領導下,梅蘭芳、荀慧生、蕭長華、陳盛泰……等等名師薈集。

學生也多名人之後。由於清末民初、戲風鼎盛,皇族名士票戲成癮的不乏其人。馬玉琪同班同學就有李鴻章的外孫、北平市長的女兒、袁世凱的孫子等,這些人學戲多是純屬興趣。

初入劇校時,容貌姣美、音域高亢的馬玉琪被老師指派為旦角,在名伶芙蓉草(趙銅山)門下學過一年青衣。後來因為十來歲的馬玉琪嫌「學女孩子沒意思」,硬轉為生行,但這段啟蒙,卻也奠定了他日後「生旦兩抱」的基礎。

或生或旦,優游有餘

國內藝壇能「生旦兩抱」的藝人極少。因為不論用嗓、走步、身段、眼神……,生旦都各有各的「程式」,不可混淆;若是學藝不精,難免招致「生不生、旦不旦」之譏,馬玉琪卻無此顧忌。

「國劇既講究『藝術加工』,所以就算女性演旦角,也要熟練『程式』,不能憑著直覺本能就上台」,馬玉琪說,「這樣推算,男生演旦角,反倒因為是演『異性』,會特別仔細地揣摩觀察。只要功夫下足了,往往比女性演來更細膩、更具藝術美呢!」

八年的劇校生涯,馬玉琪全副心力投注在鑽研劇藝上。十九歲畢業公演,馬玉琪演出「叫關」、「射戟」,一炮而紅。

這時候,良好的身世背景反讓他在「反右」運動中戴上「黑五類」的帽子,也難逃分發外地——東北鞍山京劇團的命運。

「小生泰斗」葉盛蘭的入室弟子

從一九六○年到離開大陸,馬玉琪在東北一待就是廿年。鞍山劇團把他視為當家小生,禮遇優渥。更值得一提的是,一九六二年,也就是畢業後第三年,馬玉琪終於得償夙願,拜在以帥氣英颯獨樹一格的京牌小生泰斗葉盛蘭門下,正式成為他的學生。

其實,由於與葉盛蘭之子葉蓬在劇校同班,馬玉琪很早就出入葉家,常有機會聽葉盛蘭講戲。但正式拜師,卻意味師承的遞衍,馬玉琪得暫時拋開舊日所學種種,即使早已學過的同一齣戲,也要照葉盛蘭的教法從新學起。這種俗稱「下掛」的歷程很苦,卻真能收「脫胎換骨」之效。

自此,馬玉琪的小生戲堻e注了葉派特有的勁道與力度運用,做表也更細膩深刻了。馬玉琪有著眾多觀眾愛護,而劇團生活規律,一個月還支領八十四塊人民幣的「高薪」,儘管沒有私人收入、沒有自由發展的機會,但至少每天與戲為伍、生活充實。

到了一九六六年文革開始,這些基本的生活尊嚴也被剝奪盡淨了。

文革浩劫,劇藝荒疏廿年

文革期間,馬玉琪既有「黑五類」及「名伶」雙重「罪責」,自然難逃被批臭鬥臭的噩運。但對於那一段飽受摧殘的日子,馬玉琪是沈痛多於怨憤。他說:「那不是我一個人倒楣,全國都一樣。」

的確,面對恩師蕭長華、荀慧生、姜妙香等多位名伶被打入牛棚、飽受羞辱鞭笞而死;而葉盛蘭勉強挨到文革結束,也不免含恨以歿,馬玉琪只有默然。

倒是文革中期,馬玉琪下放到東北農村飼養雞鴨、挑水種菜,反而暫時遠離人為的政治迫害。而荒疏的技藝、失落的掌聲,整個人生目標的茫然,也都在鄉間遼闊的大自然,和總是親暱人、信賴人的牲畜們身上得到慰藉,這也使他的人生觀逐漸趨向淡泊曠達。馬玉琪至今談起野鴿子在他手上啄食,飼養小鴨「存活率百分之百」的事,仍會露出少見的愉快笑容。

文革後,傳統戲曲又漸漸恢復。只是和許多已成驚弓之鳥的藝人一樣,馬玉琪一心只想離開大陸。他費盡心機,動用「海外關係」,終於在一九七九年抵達香港。

香港八年,除了一年一度「香港戲曲節」外,馬玉琪沒有什麼登台獻藝的機會。為了謀生,他開班授徒,教明星們劍術、武功架式和身段。張艾嘉、汪明荃等人,都和他有師徒之誼。

最讓馬玉琪感念的,還是與「楚留香」鄭少秋的一段莫逆之交。「秋仔」因為跟馬玉琪學「太白玄乙劍」而結緣,經常相約逛街、看電影,後來馬玉琪與友人合夥開了一家叫「明軒」的書畫店,第一次舉辦聯合畫展時,還是「秋仔」出面發帖、宴請各界顯要。這份「道義」,在香港傳為佳話。

自由天地中,再展抱負

前年雙十國慶,馬玉琪在友人安排下,終於來台一遊。這媕W繁的平劇演出機會,很快地吸引了他。畢竟,自嘲當了八年「生意人」的馬玉琪,還是不能忘情於劇藝!

馬玉琪回來了。他積極爭取演出機會,並且立刻得到熱烈迴響。他趕著辦理入籍自由祖國,將在香港的全部家當運來台灣,又賣了兩幅名貴字畫,把新家佈置起來。這一切,都只為了一個信念——他終於又找到一塊可以發展劇藝的淨土。

在這塊淨土上,馬玉琪表現出來的不只是葉派小生特有的剛健帥氣、細膩凸顯的人物性格做表,還有一些行事作風和藝術理念。

名角魏海敏和朱陸豪都推崇馬玉琪「不藏私」。任何人有問題求教,馬玉琪總是盡心解說、絕不敷衍,這和某些藝人在成名後「暗藏一手」的作風大相逕庭。

馬玉琪將「不藏私」視為理所當然:「光靠一個演員撐一場戲的時代已經過去了。在台上,一個人好,不算好;大家都好,才算真好,平劇也才有希望。」

此外,馬玉琪「無時無刻不和戲連在一起」,至今仍未成家的精神,也使平日劇團一下班,就俗務纏身的其它演員又敬又羨。

馬玉琪表示,鞍山劇團一個月少則廿八場,多則卅七、八場的演出,每天除了宿舍、公園喊嗓子、練功室練功、劇場堭ぜ腹B登台,那還有自己的時間?即使朋友聚會、練字作畫,甚至偶爾看場電影,也都全會聯想到戲。

國內名小生曹復永就說:「馬大哥的戲,乍見令人耳目一新,但若仔細琢磨,他學的也不外乎我們從小學的那些基本功,為什麼馬大哥就能變化自如呢?我想只有一句話——熟能生巧!」

國內菊壇新諍友

馬玉琪強調:平劇的精神既是「抽象」、「寫意」,要表現的就是從具象中抽離的「藝術美」。雲手一翻、水袖一甩、「屁股坐」一坐,乃至於各種喜怒哀樂,都需要極細膩的,從肩、腰股以及腿部的勁道配合,絕對不是望文生義、虛幌一招,就能顯出美感的。

因此,他十分看重基本功的紮實,做到了這一點,再進一步揣摩不同人物的心理、性格,做不同的變化,這才有「戲」。若連基本功都不紮實,其他就免談了。

目前馬玉琪已正式收兩名徒弟——陸光劇隊的汪勝光和復興劇團的喻族雄,使「葉派小生」的絕活兒得以傳承。

而另一項更具挑戰性的作法,則是今年元月間創立的「盛蘭國劇團」。馬玉琪坦然地說:「有競爭才會有進步,這也可以督促我自己不要鬆懈。」

為了籌組劇團,馬玉琪不惜再賣一些書畫做為基金;同時也預備開班授課,一方面培養班底、一方面維持開銷。為了充實陣容,馬玉琪還要延聘兩位在香港的師兄弟來台助陣。

回國短短一年半,馬玉琪對未來已有許多期許,荒疏了近廿年的技藝,也在迅速恢復中。年近半百的他,露出充滿信心的笑容說:「我覺得自己的藝術生命才剛開始,還有好長一段路要走呢!」

〔圖片說明〕

P.106

馬玉琪反串穆桂英,嬌嗔潑辣,令全場驚豔。

P.106

一襲便裝、摺扇輕搖,舞台下的馬玉琪,是如此恬然自適。

P.107

允文允武、或生或旦,都有深厚功力。圖為馬玉琪飾周瑜。

P.108

紅木炕榻、雕花琴桌、珍玩古董,每一件都值得再三把玩尋思。

P.109

閒暇時馬玉琪以詩畫自娛,圖為其工筆畫“英雄獨立”。

P.110

吊嗓練功,雖是每日例行功課,卻也得全神貫注、馬虎不得。

P.110

一盞孤燈、一面鏡子,就這樣細細勻起妝來。

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EN

Ma Yu-ch'i: Peking Opera's Man of Many Talents

Laura Li /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng /tr. by Peter Eberly

The lead man in a new version of the traditional Chinese opera Liang Shan-po and Chu Ying-t'ai that was produced in Taipei at the end of June was a sensational performer who made his first appearance on Taiwan only last year: Ma Yu-ch'i.

In the short year or so since he's been here, Ma has appeared on stage many times, recovering acting skills that have lain dormant for nearly twenty years and winning enthusiastic applause from opera fans. He's handsome, dashing, and debonair in hsiao-sheng roles and when he takes on the female role of a hua-tan he's coquettish, charming, and totally convincing.


"He's hot stuff all right--a top understudy of Yeh Sheng-lan, the master of Peking hsiao-sheng!"

"And handling female roles too--that takes real talent!"

"He's a firm anticommunist, you know--left the mainland to live in Hong Kong before getting the chance to perform on Taiwan."

"And I heard he's a descendant of the Ch'ing royal family. No wonder he looks so impressive on stage!"

By a little past five in the afternoon on a cold day in February last year, a huge crowd had gathered in front of Taipei's Armed Forces Cultural Activity Center, a crowd the likes of which had rarely been seen there before. Gray-haired Peking opera addicts mingled with energetic young students carrying notebooks, and the name Ma Yu-ch'i was constantly on their lips.

Over the next few days, as Ma appeared successively in The Meeting of Heroes, Lo Ch'eng Calls at the Pass, and The Fourth Son Visits His Mother, tickets were snapped up as soon as they went on sale. Overeager fans pushed and shoved one another and tussled with the ticket sellers. "Ma" mania had taken the island by storm.

Just what kind of performer is Ma Yu-ch'i to have caused such a fuss in the normally staid and subdued world of local Chinese opera?

Thinly built and dressed casually in a martial arts suit, Ma Yu-ch'i grins and talks with relish about Chinese painting. He's not just a devotee but a practitioner and considers painting a good way for a performer to cultivate integrity and character.

"Chinese painting and Peking opera actually have a lot in common," he says. The free, impressionistic side of Chinese painting is reflected in the way Peking opera simplifies and abstracts, mixing the real and the unreal to create a unique aesthetic synthesis. And Chinese painting's meticulous brushwork is mirrored in Peking opera by the extreme concentration paid to every gesture and intonation.

"In the opera Picking Up a Bracelet, for instance," Ma continues, "there are a lot of movements like chasing and feeding chickens and sewing clothes that are trivial and nonaesthetic in real life. But Chinese opera uses only the most essential part of them, just enough to express the meaning, and then adds 'artistic processing' to fill them with beauty and charm."

Adept at painting and calligraphy, a connoisseur of Chinese antiques, and an amateur writer in his free time, Ma absorbs artistic nourishment from many sources. Notes John Hu, a drama professor at National Taiwan University: "He puts a sense of beauty into every movement, every gesture. It's a beauty that comes from inner cultivation, a beauty you can savor."

Peking opera performers who can handle both male and female roles are few indeed. Each role has its own set of formulas for voice, gesture, carriage, and expression, and a performer who tries to master both is apt to succeed in neither. But Ma has no qualms or hesitation.

"Chinese opera stresses 'artistic processing,' so even women have to master a set of formulas to act a female role. They can't just rely on intuition," he says. "When a man acts a female part, he's apt to observe and study the details even more closely, simply because of the sex difference. As long as he puts in enough time and effort, a man can wind up acting with more beauty and refinement than a woman!"

During his eight years at Chinese opera school, Ma threw himself with total energy into mastering the techniques of this demanding art, and he became an instant stage success after his graduation in 1959.

Unfortunately, in the political context of the time, his aristocratic family background proved to be a major stumbling block in his artistic career. Labeled as belonging to the "five black categories," Ma was packed off to an opera troupe in Manchuria, where he remained for twenty years before leaving the mainland.

In 1962 he managed to fulfill a long-cherished dream when he was accepted as a student by the renowned master of hsiao-sheng roles, Yeh Sheng-lan. Ma applied Yeh's vigor and energy to his hsiao-sheng roles, giving them greater refinement and depth. He earned a "high salary" of 84 jenminpi a month, and although he had no opportunity to develop freely, he at least found fulfillment in being involved in the theater.

But in 1966 the Cultural Revolution began, stripping away even the most basic elements of human dignity. "I wasn't the only one who suffered," he says. "The whole country did."

After the Cultural Revolution ended, traditional Chinese opera gradually started up again. But Ma, like many other shell-shocked artists, could think only of getting out. He racked his brains and mobilized his "overseas relations," finally arriving in Hong Kong in 1979. But acting opportunities there have been few and far between.

Ma made his first visit to Taiwan, through the arrangement of friends, two years ago on the R.O.C. National Day. He was immediately attracted by the flourishing state of Peking opera.

When he came back, it was to act, and the response was overwhelming. He had his things moved from Hong Kong, and he sold a pair of calligraphic works to decorate his new home. All this for a simple belief: that he had finally found a place in which he can develop his artistry freely.

In the short year and a half since he came to Taiwan, Ma has quickly recovered the skills which have lain dormant for nearly twenty years and he harbors many expectations for the future. Approaching his fiftieth year, he exclaims with a confident smile: "I feel like my artistic life has only just begun. There's still a long road ahead!"

[Picture Caption]

When Ma Yu-ch'i plays the role of pert and lovely Mu Kuei-ying he captivates the audience with his feminine charm.

Casually dressed and lightly fanning himself, Ma is relaxed and easy-going off stage.

Roles male or female, martial or civil--Ma is adept at them all. Here he plays the general Chou Yu.

Ma's antiques are worth repeated savoring.

Ma amuses himself with poetry and painting in his spare time. This is one of his works.

Singing and gesture exercises are a daily routine, yet Ma always gives them his total attention.

A bare bulb and a mirror--that's how carefully the make-up is spread.

 

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