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Theater Director Returns to China With ‘Liberating and Cool’ Vision

来源:纽约时报    2018-07-31 03:24

        In the way Chen Shi-Zheng imagines his theatrical adaptation of “The Orphan of Zhao,” the production will bring out all the elements of the story that have appealed to Chinese audiences through the centuries, like the timeless themes of revenge and self-sacrifice.        在陈士争(Chen Shi-Zheng)的设想中,他对《赵氏孤儿》的戏剧改编,会展现出这个数百年来吸引着中国观众的所有故事元素,例如复仇和自我牺牲这样的永恒主题。
        But despite the familiarity of this 13th-century play to spectators in Mr. Chen’s homeland, they might have trouble understanding all the lines.        不过,尽管这部13世纪的戏剧作品对陈士争老家的观众来说耳熟能详,但他们可能听不懂台词。
        The principal actors Mr. Chen has cast for this staging in China are almost all Americans, and they will speak in English. In fact, very little about the production will signal the story’s Chinese origins.        陈士争为这部在中国上演的剧目挑选的主要演员几乎都是美国人,而且以英文对白。实际上,这部戏没什么地方能显示出这个故事的中国起源。
        Subverting audience expectations is one of the goals of Mr. Chen, a veteran stage director.        颠覆观众的期待,是经验丰富的戏剧导演陈士争的目标之一。
        “I think young people will love it,” Mr. Chen, 55, said. “It’s like fresh air coming to the mind and the eye.”        “我觉得年轻人会喜欢,”55岁的陈士争表示。“它就像新鲜空气进入大脑,来到了眼前。”
        “The classic story can be interpreted in a new way,” he added. “It can be so liberating and cool at the same time.”        “这个经典的故事能以新的方式进行解读,”他又说。“能既有解放性,同时也很酷。”
        Mr. Chen plans to start rehearsals in August in New York, where he lives, for the English-language performance of “The Orphan of Zhao,” which is scheduled to take place in October before a mostly Chinese audience at the Beijing Music Festival in China’s capital.        陈士争现居纽约,他计划于八月在那里开始《赵氏孤儿》英语表演的彩排,该作品定于十月在中国首都举办的北京国际音乐节上演,届时观众将以中国人为主。
        Since his debut as a theater director in 1996, Mr. Chen has created works for prominent spaces around the world, from New York to Sydney, but a big production in China has eluded him.        自1996年作为戏剧导演出道以来,从悉尼到纽约,陈士争为世界各地的许多重要表演空间打造过多部作品,但在中国尚无大制作上演。
        His appearance at the Beijing festival will mark his return to presenting public performances in China, where he was born and where he trained in opera through his teenage years.        他在北京国际音乐节上的亮相,将是他在中国献上公开演出的回归之作。那是他出生,并且在少年时代接受戏曲训练的地方。
        Not since a 1996 touring production of “The Bacchae” by Euripides has Mr. Chen directed a work for the Chinese public, although he has done private stagings in China and drawn on Chinese talent for his global productions.        自1996年欧里庇得斯的《酒神的伴侣》(The Bacchae)巡演之后,陈士争就没有为中国公众导演过作品了,虽然他在中国进行过私人导演工作,并且为其全球制作招募过中国人才。
        In the late 1990s, officials in Shanghai tried to hobble an epic opera production he was bringing to New York. The officials objected to aspects of the production, and for years that incident cast a shadow over his career in China.        1990年代末,上海官员曾试图妨碍过他将一部史诗级戏曲制作带到纽约。官员们对该制作的一些方面进行了反对,该事件导致他在中国的事业长年笼罩在阴影里。
        Over a recent dinner in New Haven, Mr. Chen and Audrey Li, his wife and business partner, talked with excitement about the chance for him to create a work for a Chinese audience again, playing the role of a cultural bridge as relations between the United States and China become more fraught over a variety of economic and security issues.        最近在纽黑文的一次晚餐上,陈士争与妻子、商业伙伴奥黛丽·李(音)谈到他再次有机会为中国观众打造作品时兴奋不已,在中美关系围绕着一系列经济和安全问题,产生越来越多摩擦时,他得以扮演文化桥梁的角色。
        “It’s about time,” Ms. Li said, putting her arm around Mr. Chen.        “是时候了,”李女士说着,一边抱住陈士争。
        Throughout his career, Mr. Chen has mixed Western and Chinese influences in his work, with a particular emphasis on avant-garde framing, and his visions for the two productions he is taking to the Beijing festival in October are likely to challenge the Chinese audience’s ideas of how traditional stories are told on stage.        在职业生涯里,陈士争在他的作品中将来自西方和中国的影响融合到一起,特别强调前卫的框架。此外,他对自己即将于十月带到北京的两场制作的愿景,很可能会挑战中国观众对传统故事如何在舞台上得到展现的看法。
        Besides the version of “The Orphan of Zhao” with mostly American actors, Mr. Chen plans to produce another classic, “Farewell My Concubine,” for the opening performance of the festival.        除了一个主要班底为美国人的《赵氏孤儿》,陈士争还计划制作另一部经典作品《霸王别姬》,作为音乐节的开幕演出。
        The story is well known to a Chinese audience, and unlike “The Orphan of Zhao,” this production will have Chinese actors dressed in period costumes. But Mr. Chen plans to eschew the traditional staging: The production will use two large video screens with close-ups of actors’ faces as its main design element, and it will have a pit orchestra.        这个故事对中国观众来说毫不陌生,而且不像《赵氏孤儿》,这部戏将由中国演员身着古装出演。但陈士争计划避开传统舞台设计:该制作将使用两个大型屏幕,演员的脸部特写将是其主要设计元素,有管弦乐队现场伴奏。
        Mr. Chen’s career in the United States and Europe took off two decades ago as he grappled with a production that nearly failed.        20年前,随着一个几乎失败的剧目被他勉力挽救,陈士争在美国和欧洲的职业生涯开始起飞。
        After his directorial debut in 1996, Mr. Chen aimed to present to the Lincoln Center Festival in New York a 20-hour production of “The Peony Pavilion,” a prominent example of the traditional form of kunqu opera. He put the production together with actors in Shanghai, but officials there objected to him exporting it. He had to reassemble it piecemeal in New York, and the resulting news coverage, and well-received production, brought Mr. Chen into the spotlight.        在1996年的导演处女作之后,陈士争的目标是在纽约的林肯中心艺术节上演20小时的《牡丹亭》,那是传统昆曲的一出杰出剧目。他在上海和演员排练了剧目,但那里的官员不允许他把作品带出国。他不得不在纽约零碎地重新组装一切,由此产生的新闻报道和广受欢迎的演出使陈士争成为人们关注的焦点。
        “My work has always been controversial,” he said. “I think new interpretation is essential for classic art to find its young audience in our time.”        “我的工作一直存在争议,”他说。“我认为经典艺术要想在我们这个时代寻找年轻观众,新的阐释是至关重要的。”
        Since then, Mr. Chen has gone on to produce Western opera, from “Eugene Onegin” to “Turandot,” and more than a dozen Chinese works.        从那以后,陈士争继续制作西方歌剧,从《尤金·奥涅金》(Eugene Onegin)到《图兰朵》(Turandot),以及十多部中国作品。
        He first trained in opera as a teenager in Hunan Province, where he grew up without his parents. His mother was killed by a stray bullet at a street celebration for Mao when he was 4; his father was labeled a “rightist” and sent to a re-education camp. After his formal arts education in China, he was invited to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University as a graduate student, where he studied experimental theater from 1989 to 1991.        陈士争十几岁的时候在中国湖南省开始接受戏曲训练,在那里,他在无父无母的情况下长大成人。四岁那年,母亲在为毛泽东举办的街头庆祝活动中被流弹击中身亡;他的父亲被打为右派,送进劳改营。在中国接受正规艺术教育后,他受邀进入纽约大学帝势艺术学院(Tisch School of the Arts at New York University)就读研究生,于1989年至1991年在那里学习实验戏剧。
        “He’s one of a number of artists who have tried to make Chinese theatrical traditions come alive in a very contemporary fashion,” said Nigel Redden, who was the longtime director of the Lincoln Center Festival, including during “The Peony Pavilion” controversy, and is now the director of Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C. “He’s very much informed by a Western theatrical experimental tradition.”        “他是众多试图让中国戏剧传统以现代方式活跃起来的艺术家之一,”奈杰尔·雷登(Nigel Redden)说,他任林肯中心艺术节总监多年,包括《牡丹亭》引发争议期间,现为南卡罗来纳州查尔斯顿美国斯波莱托音乐节(Spoleto Festival USA)总监。“他非常了解西方戏剧实验传统。”
        Mr. Chen said the goal of widening global appreciation for classic Chinese works had been at the forefront of his artistic thinking. “I felt part of my mission in this country was to present Chinese culture in a way that a 21st-century audience could appreciate,” he said. “Nobody reads Russian, but everybody does Chekhov.”        陈士争说,在全球范围内扩大对中国古典作品的欣赏,这个目标一直是他艺术思想的焦点。“我觉得我在这个国家的使命之一,就是以21世纪观众能够欣赏的方式呈现中国文化,”他说。“没人看得懂俄语,但大家都会排契诃夫。”
        “I was very passionate about introducing this into a Western canon,” he said of China’s literary heritage. “It should be performed, it should be read.”        “我非常热衷于把它引入西方正典,”他谈到中国的文学遗产时说。“它应该被上演,应该被阅读。”
        While his works have been less embraced in China, he did a private production in 2012 of “Farewell My Concubine” in an upscale Beijing hotel. After the initial performance, the plan was to have the production be the centerpiece of dinner theater at the hotel, but that plan fizzled. Before that, Mr. Chen directed a Chinese version for Disney of its “High School Musical” franchise, but it failed to draw a large audience.        虽然他的作品在中国不那么被接受,但他于2012年在北京一家高档酒店上演了《霸王别姬》的一个堂会版本。原计划是首演之后将成为酒店晚餐剧院的核心之作,但计划失败了。此前陈士争为迪士尼执导了《歌舞青春》(High School Musical)系列的中文版,但未能吸引大量观众。
        While working on that film, Mr. Chen met Ms. Li, who was a producer with Disney in China at the time, and the two began dating later and married in 2013. As co-founder of their company, Ovationz Production, Ms. Li talks as much about trying to get a foothold with the Chinese audience as he does, and both hope his productions in Beijing will elevate his profile.        在拍摄这部电影的同时,陈士争遇到了奥黛丽·李,她当时是迪士尼在中国的制片人,两人后来开始约会,并于2013年结婚。作为两人合创的欢呼制作公司(Ovationz Production)的创始人,奥黛丽·李和他一样热衷于谈如何在中国观众当中站稳脚跟,并希望他在北京的作品能够提升他的知名度。
        “I just can’t wait to see how people receive Shi-Zheng and these productions, which are maybe a little different from what they have been seeing and hearing in China,” Ms. Li said. “I also think this is a very good window. Once we open that window, we can bring more into the big picture in China, so people know there’s Shi-Zheng, there’s us, and we can have more opportunity to present things.”        “我迫不及待地想看看人们如何看待士争和这些作品,它们可能与他们在中国所看到和听到的有些不同,” 奥黛丽·李说。“我也认为这是一个非常好的窗口。一旦我们打开这扇窗子,就可以把更多的东西带入中国的整体图景,这样人们就可以了解士争,了解我们,我们也可以有更多机会展示更多东西。“
        “It’s quite a big step for us,” she added.        “这是我们的一大步,”她补充说。
        Mr. Chen is juggling the China productions with two other large projects, a sign that he is not about to forsake his Western audience anytime soon.        目前,除了中国的剧目,陈士争还在处理另外两个大型项目,这表明他不会很快放弃西方观众。
        For the 2019 opening season at The Shed, a new multimedia arts space in Manhattan, Mr. Chen is directing a piece of performance theater with a new vision of Chinese-American mythology. He is developing the project, “Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise,” with the two writers of the hit film “Kung Fu Panda.”        “小屋”(The Shed)是曼哈顿一处新的多媒体艺术空间,陈士争正在为它2019年的开幕季执导一场戏剧表演,它将展现中美神话的一种新形式。这个项目名叫《龙跃凤飞》(Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise),是他与热门电影《功夫熊猫》(Kung Fu Panda)的两位编剧一同创作的。
        The story is an adventure tale of hybridity and immigration, involving a sect from China that has taken root in a near-future version of Flushing, Queens, and harbors a secret that everyone is after. Martial arts and spirituality figure in the plot, but Mr. Chen is striving to make those aspects of Chinese culture more universal in the presentation.        这是一个关于混血和移民的冒险故事,故事发生在不久的将来,涉及来自中国的一个宗派,它植根于皇后区法拉盛,并且拥有一个所有人都在追求的秘密。情节中有武术和灵性人物,但陈士争努力令中国文化的这些方面在作品中更具普世性。
        “It’s not this binary of East and West,” said Alex Poots, artistic director of The Shed. “Through migration and diasporic movement, there are pockets of identity all over the place. That’s an important aspect. It resonated with me.”        “这不是东西方的二元对立,”小屋的艺术总监阿利克斯·普茨(Alex Poots)说。“由于移民和散居迁徙,到处都有不同身份的小团体。这是这部作品的一个重要方面。它引起了我的共鸣。“
        Mr. Chen is also developing a production of the epic “Ring” cycle by Richard Wagner that will be performed in Australia and will have Chinese elements. Looking at the work, Mr. Chen said he did not see a Europe-centric story, but rather a universal one.        陈士争还在创作理查德·瓦格纳“指环”史诗组剧,它将在澳大利亚演出,并将带有中国元素。陈士争说,他从这部作品中看出的不是一个以欧洲为中心的故事,而是一个普世故事。
        “The Chinese philosophy may play a part in it — how you look at things — gods and demigods and hell and human behavior” he said. “There’s tangible power and invisible power, both. That’s something quite interesting.”        “中国哲学可能会是其中的一部分——你如何看待事物——神灵、半神、地狱、以及人类的行为,”他说。“二者当中都有切实的力量和无形的力量。这非常有趣。”

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