「在野」戲團生命力

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1992 / 3月

文‧蔡文婷


野台演出條件日漸低劣,優秀戲團紛紛朝文化場或公演等內台演出拓展。然而對小西園和明華園而言,他們並不打算完全放棄寺廟野台。除了演出機會多,究竟野台有何魅力?


「傳統廟會是磨練演員最好的地方」,明華園老五陳勝在指出。他解釋,野台觀眾反應「現實」——看得無味立刻調頭走開,喜好完全表露。

清華大學社會人類學研究所研究生黃英美便覺得長期的野台演出經驗,使明華園了解觀眾的需要、了解時代的脈動,這是他們成功的主因之一。

野台出招

野台也是觀眾可以直接考驗藝人實力的地方。小西園團主許王有一次在萬華演出時,一位觀眾在日戲和夜戲間的空檔,說了一段故事給他聽,希望他當晚以此故事演出完整戲碼來。當晚許王發揮才思,將故事徐徐演來,宛若多年熟戲,觀眾看得無不五體投地。野台的各種意外狀況,正是考驗演員「腹內」有無材料的絕佳場所。

因此,儘管明華園的老五陳勝在以為「歌仔戲走出廟會,就如當年由內台走向外台,是不可避免的事。」而小西園的執行秘書許國良也深知「廟會演出版圖,將隨老觀眾凋零而逐漸萎縮,甚至消失,因為年輕一代將不再逐寺廟而看。」但他們都仍看重野台的演出。

除了考驗,相對的野台的自由與放任,也提供演員更多即興創作的機會。只在野台演出的珍珠歌劇團團主朱素雲認為,排練完整的內台戲雖然節奏緊湊,卻是一種「死戲」;無法像一般野台,僅由說戲先生口述大綱,經過簡單套戲,即上台看演員的臨場發揮。「即使進入內台,也不應放棄『活戲』的演出」,朱素雲指出。否則演員長期依照一定劇本、走位、身段,只怕在日益精緻的過程中,失去了歌仔戲特有的草根性和俚俗趣味。

寺廟文化圈

寺廟生態,在人類學看來,是一個包含宗教、文化、社交的聚會中心。戲劇在此演出,和一個節慶、一群民眾相融,其意義不僅於內台的「藝術表演」而已。

不過內台、野台也並非要如此涇渭分明。

今天常在內台演出的明華園便常在新戲公演前,到野台去「實驗」一番,再入內台。如此一來既活潑了戲劇本身、也提昇廟口演出水準。

對此,小西園也有一個新構想:「建議主辦單位將文化場演出移到寺廟。」讓老觀眾、好戲班、新觀眾一起提昇,也活絡寺廟文化。例如配合元宵燈會;在北市戲班看重的演出地——延平北路慈聖宮,舉行為期一周或半個月的傳統戲曲演出,賦予現今寺廟有宗教、文化、社交、觀光等更多功能。

在戲班另尋新空間的今天,或許這也是一種值得保留,也更自然的演出方法。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Vitality of Drama Troupes "Out in the Boondocks"

Ventine Tsai /tr. by Andrew Morton

Outdoor stage performance is going downhill, and the better drama troupes are rapidly coming indoors to appear at cultural happenings or in public performances. But even the Hsiao Hsi Yuan and Ming Hua Yuan troupes don't intend to completely abandon outdoor appearances at temples. Apart from additional opportunities to perform, just what is the attraction of the outdoor stage?"


"Traditional temple festivals are the actor's best training-ground," points out Ming Hua Yuan's Chen Sheng-tsai, fifth son in the family. He explains that outdoor stage audience reaction is 'immediate'--if they're bored they just turn aside and walk off, but if they're enjoying themselves they show it.

Tsing Hua University institute of social anthropology researcher Huang Ying-mei thinks the experience of long-term outdoor stage performance has helped the Ming Hua Yuan to appreciate the audience's needs and the pulse of the times, a major factor in their success.

Advantages of the Outdoor Stage: The outdoor stage is also a place where audiences can directly test artistes' abilities. Once when Hsiao Hsi Yuan director Hsu Wang was appearing at Wanhua, a member of the audience told him a story during the pause between the matinee and evening performances, expecting him to be able to turn it into a full-scale play for that same evening. That night Hsu Wang pulled out all the stops and performed the story from beginning to end as if he'd known it for years. The member of the audience was absolutely bowled over. Unexpected contingencies of the outdoor stage are the best circumstances for testing whether a performer really has what it takes.

Ming Hua Yuan's Chen Sheng-tsai maintains that "folk opera going beyond temple festivals is as inevitable as the earlier trend away from the indoor stage and towards the outdoor stage," and Hsiao Hsi Yuan's executive secretary Hsu Kuo-liang is well aware that "the territory of temple performance will steadily shrink along with declining audiences, even disappear altogether, because the younger generation won't go to temples to watch." Even so, they both take outdoor stage performance very seriously indeed.

Apart from being a test, the outdoor stage's relative freedom and laissez-faire also provide actors with greater opportunity for spontaneity. Chu Su-mei, director of the Chen Chu opera troupe which only performs on the outdoor stage, believes that although fully rehearsed indoor stage drama is more tightly paced, it is a kind of 'dead drama;' it's nothing like most outdoor stages where just the rough outline is explained by the dramatist and, after a simple cobbling together of the play, the show begins and the performers make the best of it on the night. "Even in a performance on the indoor stage, the concept of 'living drama' should never be abandoned," says Chu Su-yun. Otherwise, as performers follow a set text, movements and gestures over a long period, there's a risk that in the process of developing greater refinement they will lose folk opera's unique grass-roots appeal.

Cultural Ambience of Temples: From an anthropological angle, the temple environment is a religious, cultural and social focal point. Here drama performance blends in with religious festivals and with the audience. It is far more than the "artistic performance" of the indoor stage.

But we do not mean to draw any such clear distinction between the indoor and outdoor stage.

The Ming Hua Yuan troupe, who often perform on the indoor stage today, tend to turn to the outdoor stage for a trial run before public performances of a new play, then take it back to the indoor stage. This process enlivens the play itself, while also raising the standard of temple performance.

In this regard, the Hsiao Hsi Yuan troupe also has a new concept: "Suggesting that organizers relocate cultural happenings to temples." This would allow old audiences, good troupes and new audiences to raise their standards together, and injects new life into temple culture. Take the Lantern Festival for example; at the Tz'u Sheng Kung, a Taipei temple venue highly regarded by drama troupes, a week or fortnight of traditional drama performances would allow the temple to serve a wider range of religious, cultural, social and touristic functions.

Today, at a time when drama troupes are seeking to break new ground, it may be worth preserving this more natural method of performance.

 

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