2002年12月20日 星期五

introduction to Against-Again Troupe


First of all because they're all young and it's took me a long time to get young and now I consider myself young. And I'm proud of it. I'm proud that I'm young. And I only wish that all you people who are sitting out here today or tonight weren't here and I could see all kinds of faces with hair on their head - and everything like that, everything leading to youngness....

There's no black and white, left and right to me anymore; there's only up and down and down is very close to the ground. And I'm trying to go up without thinking about anything trivial such as politics. They have got nothing to do with it. I'm thinking about the general people and when they get hurt. -Bob Dylan, “Remarks at the Bill Of Rights Dinner at the Americana Hotel” (1963)


About us

Against-Again Troupe was founded in 2002 in Taiwan by a group of theatre practitioners coming from diverse artistic backgrounds. Our productions range from theatre, musical performances, to exhibitions and small-scale performance festivals. Major works lie in the field of site-specific theatre, music theatre and performance poetry, implementing objects, sound, and multimedia to create performance pieces infused with collage, repetition, alienation, and non-narrative text. A large portion of our work is socially conscious and issue-related. Through art we attempt to examine the human condition in our age of globalization, in regards to class, gender, identity and survival.

The literal translation of AAT's mandarin name - zai yi tsi ju jue zhang da - is "to refuse, once again, to grow up." The archetype of the child-god is found in many Asian mythologies from China to India. In Taiwanese folk religion, Nezha is the child-trickster, embodying destruction and noted for his stories of violence and patricide. We believe that the ephemeral act of theatre is akin to the anger of Nezha, inclined to disrupt our habits of sensory perception, and to be the eternal child, forever walking between the lines of death and rebirth.

The recent works of AAT are focused on experimentation with space, objects and sound. Our biennial Apartment Showcase transforms the compact living quarters of urban capitalist Asia into a space for site-specific theatre and a playground for experimenting with performer/spectator relations. Kuroshio and Götterdämmerung are collaborative works of music theatre, redefining the execution of actions as performance and channeling the performative qualities of sound, objects and music. All that's left to happen is some deaths (my own included), created in 2012, is a performance without actors, as well as a series of ventures into the concept of micro-theatre, constantly reinventing itself as it travels through alternative venues from Taipei, Taichung, to Macau and to the World Stage Design festival in Cardiff. The same year, American Dream Factory, was performed at Festival Tokyo (F/T). Through ten scenes of interwoven dreams, this show explores global capitalism as collective mythology, and how theatre art can find new forms of resistance and communication within a world of popular culture, institutions and postmodernity.

Works, 2002-2014

Theatre of the Oppressed: In Search of Brecht
This is the first piece of work created by the core contributing members prior to the official founding of Against-Again Troupe. It was created in collaboration with Dining Theatre who were devoted to the field of dinner theatre at that time. Theatre of the Oppressed: In Search of Brecht transforms the black box theatre space of Guling Street Theatre into a bar/theatre where the lines between house and stage are blurred. Audience are seated among actors including actors in the role of audience. As conversation and confrontation are acted out among the spectators, another performance is being played out which tells the story of a character from Bertolt Brecht's play in search of a playwright in contemporary Taiwan theatre. It is Against-Again's first experimentation with metatheatrical narrative and environmental theatre.
Oct. 29-30, 2002
Production Manager: Pao-shan Liu
Director: Snow Huang
Collaborator: Dining Theatre
Venue: Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre (3 shows)

Déjà vu
Kuling Street Theatre: “Game-War,” Department of Culture Affairs, Taipei City
The concept of this play is taken from an essay by professor Hsiu-Li Juan, entitled Narrative and Memory, which states that “...how big the memory is, how big the forgetting shall be. Forgetting is memory without form.” The play starts out with a scene of a boy falling from a building, proceeding to scenes of fictional storytelling interlaced with projections of rehearsal situations and interviews. The shadows of the live performers are projected onto live or pre-recorded videos in a juxtaposition of illusion and alienation which explores the interactions and ambiguities between death and memory, fictions and the forgotten, in the empirical world.
Dec. 20-22, 2003
Production Manager: Pao-shan Liu
Director: Snow Huang
Venue: Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre (5 Shows)

Dharma
Festival in the Square, CKS Memorial Hall

An interdisciplinary work based on the anthology Deep and Beautiful Asia by Taiwanese poet Ke-hua Chen. Chen's fervent criticism of nationalism and fascist emotions sparked much controversy in the poetic scene at the time. The performance, being a dialogue between the actors' improvised movements, multimedia, and the poetic text, seeks to explore the possibilities of the performance of modern poetry in the theatre. As regards voice, we reject the conventional tonal and rhythmic techniques used in the recitation of Chinese poetry, while preserving the complex nature of its form, combined with repetitive language developed in Taiwan's avant-garde theatre and dada's concept of “sound poetry.” This method of presenting poetic language has, through the rehearsal of later productions, become one of the aesthetic trademarks of Against-Again's theatrical style. The intended effect is not to convey meaning, but to provide a dialectic of meanings, to examine the interstices between fractured meanings and how they interfere with each other.
June 4, 2005
Production Manager: Nelson Wei
Director: Snow Huang
Venue: CKS Memorial Hall Square (1 Show)
Oct. 30, 2005
Venue: Tent Theatre B, CKS Memorial Hall Square (2 Shows)

Specimens of Immorality
Bailemeng Festival
A rendition of Dharma for the Bailemeng apartment.
July 29-31, 2005
Production Manager: Nelson Wei
Director: Snow Huang
Venue: Bailemeng Apartment (3 Shows)

Island
Opening Ceremony Performance of the 7th Taipei Poetry Festival
Adapted from three pieces by Taiwanese poets: Island by Mi-mi Yeh, Era by Hui-zhi Hsu, and Uniform by Xiang Yang. Rather then being a critique on the age of White Terror in Taiwan under martial law, this piece is more of an insight into the themes of affection and exploitation between human beings. The poetic text is rendered as scraps of paper scattered on stage, in order to signify the unspeakable and forgetful nature of trauma, the hopelessness of the living to uncover the truth from mountains of historical information, and how truth is swallowed and buried under empty language.
Nov. 5, 2005
Director: Snow Huang
Venue: Guangfu Theatre, Chungshan Hall

Like a Larva
This piece is based on the written texts of Vaslav Nijinsky, Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud, and Sarah Kane – four figures renowned for their genius and madness. Madness is often interpreted as a kind of “undersocialization,” but this notion is a violent form of denomination. If one has never the chance to change what it means to be “socialized,” then one is forsaken in a violent world for his/her inability to wear the neatly-clad uniform of citizenry. This is a play that only consists of introductions. It is not a commemoration or a biography, but through the use of inverted and overflowing language, it is a ritual summoning of those who have died at least once.
Sept. 8-10, 2006
Production Manager: Snow Huang
Director: Brian Wong
Playwright: Ma Yi-Hang
Venue: Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre (6 Shows)

4F, 80, Beixin Rd. Sec. 2
Against-Again Apartment Showcase 2007
The Apartment Showcase is Against-Again's response to the discourse of “little theatre” in Taiwan from the 90s onward. Although still a popular usage, the term “little” can no longer signify the experimental and critical nature of avant-garde theatre. What is true though, is that in a performance space smaller than “little-theatre,” to the point of being able to be dubbed “micro-theatre,” the sensory perception of both audience and performer are amplified to a certain degree. The creative vocabularies of participating artists are inspired by the specific environment of Against-Again's apartment. A dialogue between body and space is enacted through choreography, videos, installations, wall painting and body performance. In this close proximity of audience and performer, art interlocks with life, and the divine can be glimpsed within everyday details.
Aug. 1-12, 2007
Curator: Snow Huang
Executive Producer: Wei-xiang Huang
Artists: Ding Shiun-bin、Wu Ping-Chen、Kappa Tseng
Venue: 4/F, 80 Beixin Rd., Sec. 2 (7 Shows)

Demon-Revealing Mirror
Opening Ceremony Performance of the 9th Taipei Poetry Festival
This is a segment of The Silent Left Hand, invited to be presented as part of the opening ceremony of the 9th Taipei Poetry Festival. A poetic performance combining sound objects, improvised music, and monologue.
Nov. 3, 2007
Director: Snow Huang
Venue: Guangfu Theatre, Chungshan Hall

The Silent Left Hand
Presented in the unique architectural landscape of former military housing community Sisi South Village, the economic themes of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl is transformed, through musical drama and environmental theatre, into an examination of the marginal living conditions of southeast Asian foreign laborers in Taiwan and Muslim immigrants in France. Form and subject matter interact into an introspective contemplation on a history of silence. It was nominated into the 6th Taishin Arts Awards performing arts category.
Theatre art is by nature helpless in the face of violence. Most of the works of Against-Again Troupe are more self-reflection than social commentary. Rather then viewing The Silent Left Hand as a vehicle for speaking out for foreign laborers, it is more of an introspection into how we, as members of the dominant culture, should face our own fears. How is it that we antagonize “the other”? What does it mean when we say “we”? As we raise our torch-lit right hands to impose sanction on the other, is there another, silent, left hand? We ask ourselves these questions and believe that to be “silent” is not to “shut up,” but that silence is the accumulation of rage and the prelude to revolution.
Dec. 20-23, 2007
Production Manager: River Lin Ren-zhong
Director and Playwright: Huang Ting-Wei and Snow Huang
Xinyi Public Assembly Hall, Taipei (Sisi South Village)
The Silent Left Hand Pre-listen Concert
Nov. 4, 2007
Taipei County Arts Center Performance Hall

Home+ 4F, 80, Beixin Rd. Sec. 2
Against-Again Apartment Showcase 2009
To the city-dweller, the “apartment” is perceived as a metaphor for home and shelter, signifying an inherent nature of privacy, a meaning that can only be felt by members of the family. The Apartment Showcase of 09 is based on this notion, positioning the audience within the realm of “home.” Parents arguing, domestic violence, the living condition of a foreign household servant, moving in, moving away, themes of love, death of family members... these themes invite the audience into a whirlpool of universal experience. This production ran 28 shows through 14 days, with each show limited to 10 spectators. The audience are no longer only onlookers but are drawn into the experience of the helpless child or servant, as if in a “living installation”. The close proximity of the audience zooms in on the performance like a voyeuristic movie camera, albeit more three-dimensional than a movie camera. Through these personal experiences, we explore the possibilities of the “micro-theatre,” returning to the most basic of social units, and engage in a presentation of the Taiwan family and the general social conditions within.
July. 4-19, 2009
Curator: Po-hsin Liu
Executive Producer: Grass Wang
Artists: Pao-shan Liu, Chun-Hao Hsueh, Betsy Lan, Wan-yi Lu, Angie Wang, Brian Wong, Yu-yun Peng
Venue: 4/F, 80 Beixin Rd., Sec. 2 (28 Shows)
Home+ 4F, 80, Beixin Rd. Sec. 2 Documentary Screening
Directors: Yang Yi-ann, Fu Yue, Ding Shiun-bin
4/F, 80 Beixin Rd., Sec. 2 (2 Screenings)

Kuroshio Project
Kuroshio is the outcome of Against-Again's art residency at Hualien. Directed by troupe founder Snow Huang in collaboration with guest butoh performer Wei-lian Wang, this performance is focused on the dialogue between sound and body. The “Kuroshio” is an ocean current flowing along the east coast of Taiwan. This flowing current that nourishes the ecosystems along the shoreline is rendered through this performance into a neverending “spring of life.”
Through the integration of butoh and musical theatre, the relationships between man, faith, and nature are explored. A story is told of a man who, after the death of a friend, embarks on a journey. He steps into an old church, where a memorial concert is being held with no one attending. He interacts with a deaf-mute woman in service to the church, and gradually discovers the weight of the dead he carries on his back. The production designs transform the warehouse of an old winery into an abandoned church. Through symbolic imagery and fables, it addresses issues central to the spirit of butoh such as that of sleep and awakening, death and rebirth, and explores the inner meanings of “Requiem.”
Kuroshio
Nov. 13-14, 2009
Production Manager: Nelson Wei
Directors/Performers: Snow Huang, Wei-lian Wang
Hualien Cultural and Creative Industries Park, Red Wine Warehouse (2 shows)
“Hearing the Body” Workshop
Oct. 17–Nov. 1, 2009
Instructors: Snow Huang, Wei-lian Wang
Guest Instructors: Sze-man Huen, Chieh-ting Hsieh
Hualien Cultural and Creative Industries Park, Millet Wine Theatre (8 sessions)
Pacific Poetry Festival
Nov. 7, 2009
Pine Garden, Hualien

American Dream Factory
Since our first production Theatre of the Oppressed: In Search of Brecht, on through Dharma and The Silent Left Hand, Against-Again Troupe have constantly utilized everchanging symbols, repetitions, and collages of non-narrative situations in an attempt to elaborate on the verfremdungseffekt of Bertolt Brecht. American Dream Factory is the culmination of these efforts.
The play is made up of twelve dreams. The stage installation overflows with symbols and totems of popular culture and consumer products, assembled into a maze of signs known as the “Dream Factory.” The inhuman mechanical world that surrounds the lives of the post-80s generation is represented via theatrical means. It explores the themes of existence, labor, and dreams, regarding our generation of young people, how individuals are homogenized by simplified social expectations and ultimately depleted by late capitalist society. The work asks how the modern individual may “wake up” from the homogeneity of manufactured dreams. American Dream Factory has made the rare record in taiwan of selling out 13 shows in two weeks, as well as being nominated for the Taishin Arts Awards of 2010.
May 21-30, 2010
Production Manager: Pao-shan Liu
Director: Snow Huang
Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre (13 shows)

Time of Liberty
In 1989, after 71 days of resisting arrest, Cheng Nan-jung, founder of the Freedom Era Weekly, set himself on fire to protest against the Kuomintang's suppression of the freedom of speech, ending his life of 42 years. How does this one man who died for freedom relate to the “unfreedom” of our own era? And how can we, through an understanding of his death, reflect upon our own value and meaning of life?
In the history of news media, freedom of speech was never as simple an indication as the rationalist notion of “I speak therefore I am.” The fight for the freedom of speech, whether in Taiwan or in western countries, has always been addressed specifically towards the oppressive powers of a given time. From Freedom Era Weekly to a “Time of Liberty,” this play attempts to confront and discuss what it is exactly we are up against when we are fighting for freedom of speech in this day. What is the object of power and what is our objective? And how we can inspect our own values and meanings through the death of an individual?
Sept. 24-Oct. 3, 2010
Production Manager: Betsy Lan
Playwrights: Li-ying Chien, Koh Choon Eiow, Brian Wong
Director: Brian Wong
Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre (8 shows)
Cross-generation Time of Liberty Forum
Aug. 31, 2010
Moderator: Tunghung Ho
Panelists: Mei-na Lin, Benla Kuang, Chiung-li Sun, Mei-Yu Liu, Li-ying Chien, Koh Choon Eiow, Brian Wong
G Straight Cafe

Dispatches on Survival and Resistance: A Concert
New Taipei City Arts Festival Environmental Theatre Series

This is the first musical concert organized by the Against-Again Troupe. The first half of the performance is Atonalitude, a collaboration between Lenny Guo - formerly of the Hong Kong band 'Blackbird,' Japanese musician Chino Shuichi - prominent figure in Tokyo's Perspective Emotion mixed media art festival, and American poet Madeleine Marie Slavick. The three come together to weave an atonal tapestry of poetry, musical improvisation, and experimental sound objects. The second half of the show is Hold Everything Dear, featuring Taiwan's 'Silent Circus,' who incorporate a variety of styles in a musical interpretation of John Berger's book of the same title. Berger's critique on the world's political and economic situation takes us through countless individual choices, exploring themes of enlightenment, sacrifice, despair, and memory, and asks for the meaning of political resistance in today's world. We try to explore how music, as a time-based art form, can help us “share the time that repeatedly exists between moments: the time of Becoming, 
before Being risks to confront one yet again with undefeated despair.” (Berger)
Hold Everything Dear
Oct. 8, 2010
Performers: Jez Fang, Yujun Wang, Snow Huang, Tao Chiang
Atonalitude
Oct. 8, 2010
Performers: Chino Shuichi (JP), Madeleine Marie Slavick (US), Lenny Guo (HK)
Creative Plaza, 823 Memorial Park, Zhonghe, New Taipei City
Forum: A Diaologue of Voices
Speakers: Chino Shuichi (JP), Madeleine Marie Slavick (US), Lenny Guo (HK)
G Straight Cafe

The Evening of Everything
Against-Again Apartment Showcase 2011
Starting in 2007, the Against-Again Apartment Showcase has reached its third biennial. The artists of the first showcase broke away from the realist setting of the home apartment and utilized installations, projections and dance in a dialectic between body and space. The second showcase focused on the apartment as “home,” and explored themes of privacy and life. The third apartment showcase will focus on “the material” as a central theme of focus, and continue to explore the possibilities of environmental theatre in a non-theatre environment.
Nov. 14-27, 2011
Curator: Kappa Tseng
Production Consultant: Pao-shan Liu
Executive Producer: Miss B.
Artists: Grass Wang, An-Ru Chu , River Lin Ren-Zhong, Styx Zheng, Tao Chiang, Chun Hao Hsueh
Against-Again Apartment, 4/F, 80 Beixin Rd., Sec. 2


All that’s left to happen is some deaths (my own included)
All that’s left to happen is some deaths (my own included) is a performance-exhibition project originally curated by artistic director Sze-nung Huang, of the Against-Again Troupe (AAT). It is a series of performance pieces attempting to create a theatre without actors. Through animated daily objects and ambient sound events, the individual pieces reveal the life-traces of an absent woman. Inspired by stream-of- consciousness literary styles,All... attempts to convey presence through absence. As this absence is collectively experienced through the passage of time, it is as though we are experiencing little deaths of moments gone by. The concept examines the absence of the feminine body and its resonance with space to reveal an existence that is, in fact, essentially “present.”
Curator: Snow Huang,
Artists: Kappa Tseng("The Ebb of a Day "), Tao Chiang("Your favorite half-light, your favorite consciousness"), Grass Wang("A Total of...Days"), Joyce Ho(“Boundaries”), River Ren-zhong Lin(“For The Rest Survival”)
Sep. 2012 – MadL Gallery, Taipei (8 shows)
Nov. 2012 – no.47 art space, Macau (2 shows, Macau City Fringe Festival)
Sep. 2013 – Caird Studio, Cardiff (2 shows, "Four at WSD" of World Stage Design 2013)
*nominated for the 11th Taishin Arts Award


Götterdämmerung
In 2014, AAT was invited by curator Hung-ya Yen to participate in “Der Ring des Nibelungen: A Revolution Unarmed,” a festival of new and non-operatic interpretations of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. AAT responded with their take on “Götterdämmerung” fusing a theatre of sound with contemporary puppetry and multisensory experience. As part of the concept, the work was created as a collective effort, experimenting with anarchy in the creative process, and seeking new definitions of ‘total theatre’.

Wagner’s text, with its mythical themes of power, contracts, betrayal and apocalypse, written in the midst of industrial revolution and the rise of elite culture and fascist politics, stood in its time as a battleground between old and new, revolution and oppression, myth and enlighten- ment, etc. Taking this cue, AAT’s “Götterdämmerung” presents a diorama of conflicting values, the dialectical image of destruction and rebirth. Siegfried is presented as a puppet, manipulated and eventually dismembered by powers that be. Brunhilde’s text is juxtaposed with that of a recent Taiwanese worker who charged his truck into the Presidential Palace. Live video projections of chemical reactions are used to represent the fall of Valhalla. Intertextuality, objects and visual elements are set to a live soundtrack of noise, improvisation, rock music, protest song, and sound poetry, to create this vision of New Music Theatre, a shot of heteroglossia to unsettle the homogenizing powers of modern society.
Artists: Yin-Chen Cheng, Tao Chiang, Snow Huang, Ting-Wei Huang, Pao-shan Liu, Kappa Tseng, Grass Wang, Brian Wong, Klaire Wu, Jimi Zhang 
June 13-15, 2014—Huashan Creative Park 
 * nominated for The 13th Taishin Arts Award

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