【編者的話】變與不變

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1993 / 7月



一位旅居海外,年逾七十的胡琴票友,在四月中返台探親,趕巧碰上了這裡難得一見的大陸京劇表演。對四十年來不曾回大陸的他來說,梅葆玖、杜近芳等名演員的戲,只能從錄影帶上看到,無緣親睹名家丰采。一旦見識、大呼過癮之餘,不免有「這兒的演員怎麼比得上」之嘆。

四、五月間,大陸兩支執牛耳的劇團——「北京京劇院」及「中國京劇院」,循著兩岸文化交流的步子登「台」演出,吸引了許多老戲迷。發展了二百年的中國京劇,初次在此正式亮相。難得的是,這回演出很慎重,許多大牌都湊在一起了。像「龍鳳呈祥」,集合了杜近芳、袁世海、于萬增等人,這般陣容,「可只有當年慈禧太后、杜月笙等大宴賓客時,才有的排場!」有內行的人如此下註。

與中國最完整,發展最久的戲劇——京劇相比,只有四十年歷史的台灣平劇只能稱是小老弟。這股京劇熱潮首先刺激的便是此地的菊壇中人。有的嘆:「以後真沒戲唱了!」有的則是義勇迎戰、豪氣干雲。名角魏海敏認為這樣的刺激很好,可以取法乎上,學習高手的好處。而大花臉王海波早已渡海拜師,甚至與好手同台演出。

雖然兩岸戲劇的水準有高下之分,大陸演員卻認為台灣觀眾水準高,台灣則羨慕大陸擁有一流師資。兩岸同時面臨的問題則是:觀眾已經越來越少了!

在大陸,一場港台歌星大會串,一百塊人民幣的票價,嚇不倒年輕的觀眾,兩三萬人的會場,滿滿滿!而一張京劇門票不到十元,卻賣不了三成。

在台灣,流連劇院前的多半是上了年紀的人,不少年輕人偶爾看一看,也是圖新鮮,增個經驗。他們不太能體會為什麼「四郎探母」、「貴妃醉酒」可以一看再看?!一旦老戲迷凋零後,觀眾何在?

然而,真正頂尖的演員,渴望的是舞台和掌聲,縱然面對觀眾與演出減少的現實,也不屑「走穴」兼差,以「簡單的藝術掙大錢」。此次大陸演員在這兒的大受歡迎和激賞,讓他們有覓得知音的欣慰。

大環境的改變,衝擊著在傳統與現代「游走」的藝人,兩岸的演員面對怎樣的遽變?怎樣掌握「變與不變」的分寸?如何平衡現實與理想的輕重?或許以台灣的吳興國與大陸的于萬增的例子,可以窺其究竟。

他們分別是兩岸一級的武鬚生和小生,年紀相差五歲,半生心繫於平劇。面對環境的更迭,他們努力思考突破的可能性。中國古語說得好:「千江有水千江月」,每一江水都可以是自足自盈的天地。兩人如何在日漸侷限的天空中,辛苦地找出屬於自己的舞台和文化,值得一探。

藝術、戲劇之外,產業環境也遭逢近代以來最快速的變動。廿年前因加強國內企業研發能力而設的「財團法人工業技術研究院」,也在慶祝生日的同時,面臨何去何從的轉型與定位問題。

由於「六年國建」及國防計畫使國家支出急遽增加,加上政府既定的「減肥」政策,及政治生態丕變,立法院大筆一揮,刪減了科技專案計畫廿億的預算,其中工研院約佔十三億。昔日頻獲青睞,而今屢遭白眼,工研人心中自然頓起漣漪。

預算被刪,工研院難免覺得委屈。可是,外界的質疑,如研究題目與業界脫節,技術成果不夠彰顯,與業界利益產生衝突……等,卻也非空穴來風。

接受政府與民間廠商的專案委託,是工研院的要務,此外它也提供技術輔導或轉移的工作。簡而言之,工研院希望扮演國內產業共有共用的後勤支援者。

但是,業界既希望工研院能上「滿漢全席」,又能做「蛋炒飯」;做出結果後,如何合理地分配資源,也造成爭議。

已經卓然獨立的大廠不願工研院介入民間可以自行研發的項目,再轉移給產業界,徒然培養競爭對手。小企業埋怨工研院做尖端核心研究,不顧「民隱」。個別利益與產業整體利益的衝突,往往使工研院「兩面不是人」。而今年的預算刪減,也是定位遭質疑的結果。

在只做研發及服務等公益事務,不能追求利潤、與民爭利卻又需自負盈虧的情況下,工研院的彷徨不難理解。然而,工研人也開始反省:不能再一味地埋頭鑽研。

院長林垂宙在院內的刊物中指出,確定技術開發的重點,與產業界保持適度的差距,確定營運目標,加強工業服務,注重溝通與宣導等,將是今後調整的發展方向。

對如此的通權達變,國人其實是樂觀其成的。誰說危機不是另一個轉機的開始呢?

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EN

To Change or Not to Change

Sunny Hsiao /tr. by Phil Newell


A septuagenarian who lives overseas, who is also a great opera fan, came back to Taiwan in April to visit family members, and happened to come across a performance by a mainland Chinese opera troupe, a very rare event in Taiwan. For him, since he hasn't been back to mainland China in over forty years, he could only see famous figures like Mei Baojiu and Du Jinfang from videotapes. When the day to see them arrived, besides being delighted, he also couldn't help but sigh that "the performers here can't compare."

In April and May, two renowned companies from the mainland, the Beijing Peking Opera Company and the China Peking Opera Company, made their way to Taiwan in the wake of increased cultural exchange between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. They attracted many old opera buffs. Thus did Peking Opera, with a history of more than two hundred years, first formally shine in Taiwan? Even more unusual was that the show was very weighty, including many top performers together. "In the old days only the empress herself on major holidays could put together such a field," describes one insider.

Compared to this most complete of Chinese dramatic forms as it comes from the mainland, Peking Opera in Taiwan, with a mere forty years of tradition behind it, is still just the younger sibling. This high tide of Peking Opera has first and foremost stimulated those in drama: "Now there'll be nothing left for us to do in the future!" moan some. But some are meeting the challenge with courage. The famed leading actress Wei Hai-ming thinks this stimulation is all to the good, and Taiwan performers can learn from their betters. And Wang Hai-po in fact long ago crossed over to study under the masters, and has even performed on the same stage.

Thus there are differences in the level of Peking Opera on the two sides of the Strait, and mainland actors feel that the quality of audiences in Taiwan is high, while Taiwan performers envy the fact that the mainland has first class teachers. But the common problem that both sides face is: The audience is shrinking!

In the mainland, when a Hongkong pop star performs, young people are undaunted by a ticket price of RMB 100, and the 30,000-seat venue is packed. Meanwhile, a Peking Opera ticket goes for less than RMB 10, and they can't sell even a third of the theater out.

In Taiwan, most of those who head to the theater are older folks; though many young people go from time to time, they are seeking a change of pace or an enlargement of their experience. They don't really understand how you could see the same opera over and over. When the older folks move on, where will the audience come from?

What the performers at the pinnacle really want is a stage and applause, and they are not willing to go for the lowest common denominator and "make big money with simple arts." The enthusiastic welcome received here by the mainland performers gave them a taste of contentment.

Changes in the larger environment are a blow to artists caught between past and present. What kind of changes are performers on both sides facing? How can they decide when to change and when not? How can practicality and idealism be balanced out? Perhaps some clue to these questions can be derived from the stories of Taiwan's Wu Hsing-kuo and the mainland's Yu Wanzeng.

They are, respectively, the top level hsiao-sheng and wu-shu-sheng players on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait; differing in age by only five years, each has devoted half their lives to Peking Opera. Facing environmental change, they are contemplating the possibilities for breaking through current difficulties. An old Chinese proverb has it that: "There will always be water in the rivers and a moon over the streams." How these two people can carve out a space and culture that belongs to them in an increasingly confined space is something to wonder about.

Besides art and drama, industry has also been subject to a rapidly changing environment. The Industrial Technology Research Institute, established twenty years ago to promote domestic research and development capabilities, is facing the problem of where to go next as it marks its birthday.

Because the Six Year National Development Plan and the National Defense Plan have sharply raised national expenses, plus given the government's "fat-cutting" policy, as well as dramatic shifts in the political environment, in a single stroke the Legislative Yuan pruned NT$2 billion from the Science and Technology Special Case Program, of which NT$1.3 billion came out of ITRI's budget. From the fond glances they received in the early days to the sharp-eyed stare they are getting today, ITRI staffers are feeling a bit insecure.

ITRI can't help but feel offended at the budget cut. But many outsiders argue that there's something to all the complaints that research topics are divorced from production, that there are not enough technological results, and that there are conflicts of interest with the private sector.

Accepting commissions to do research from the government and the private sector is ITRI's brief, and it also does technology adaptation and technology transfer. Simply put, ITRI just wants to play the role of the backup force available to help one and all.

But big businesses want ITRI to be able to turn out twelve course dinners (complex technology) as well as your basic fried rice (lower technology for smaller business). After the results come out, however, then there are disputes over distribution.

Large scale enterprises do not want to see ITRI doing the same kind of R&D they do themselves, and then turn it over to industries who become competitors. Small businesses complain mat ITRI does too much high-tech basic research, and doesn't care about "the little guy." The conflict between the interests of individual businesses and business in general often puts ITRI in a no-win situation. And the cut in the budget this year is a result of the problems of fixing ITRI's role.

Under conditions where ITRI can only do R&D and services and cannot make a profit, while competing with private companies that must take responsibility for profit and loss, the difficulties of ITRI are not hard to understand. But the staff are beginning to understand that they cannot just keep their noses in the books.

ITRI president Otto C .C. Lin points out in the internal journal that the main directions hereafter must be confirming the centrality of R&D, maintaining an appropriate distance from industry, confirming operational goals, strengthening service to industry, and emphasizing communication and guidance.

Given this ability to adapt to changing circumstances, in fact we are optimistic about success. Who said a crisis isn't a chance to change for the better?

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