I taught Dramatic Arts to Language Gifted students at the Taichung Girls’ Senior High School from 2017 to 2020. Here are the articles I wrote about each production for the Theater Program available at performances. I’m also including my introductions to the two poetry books I initiated and edited.
- 2020 Unmansioned
- 2019 Chauvinwall
- 2018 L
- 2017 Merciful Misfortunes
FROM THE EDITOR
- 2012 Door-to-Door: Closet Poems
- 2013 Door-to-Door II: Rooftop Language
Unmansioned: Forgotten. Forbidden. Forgiven. (2020)
Welcome to this year’s original drama play in English. Unmansioned promises to be a thoroughly thought provoking and distinctly unique experience. I have been fortunate enough to witness and assist this story coming to life; from the wild imaginations of the brainstorming students, to the actual writing of the script on the page, and then the dramatic adaptation of the words on the page to the spotlight of the stage.
Act 1: Forgotten.
Over the last decade the Language Gifted classes at TCGS have chosen the most difficult challenge of writing, producing, and presenting an original play in English. They can never be forgotten. Here is a list of their amazing work:
- 2009 – 2019 語資班話劇公演
- 2009 Toni Libra: the Guardian Angel 蔡玉珊
- 2010 Home Front 蔡鴻明
- 2011 Three to/2 One 吳惠君
- 2012 Air Plan 劉冠伶
- 2013 Rewind & Replay 呂艾穎
- 2014 TimEscape 蘇奕帆
- 2015 The Stars 陳敘靜
- 2016 Wright here, Write now 蔡鴻明
- 2017 Merciful Misfortunes 林佩蓉
- 2018 L 陳思妤
- 2019 Chauvinwall 蔡懿馨
Today, 2020’s Class 201 has chosen to follow in the footsteps of their talented sisters by accepting the almost impossible challenge of writing, producing, and presenting another original play in English. They have not forgotten the long line of talented and motivated students that have come before them. Class 201 can stand proudly among their peers with heads held high. I feel honored and privileged to play my small part in this amazing group of talented young ladies. I expect further greatness from each and every one of them!
Act 2: Forbidden.
Any act of true creation is, for some, a forbidden act of rebellion. For me, being creative is just part of who I am: I am not a rebel, I just enjoy creating something out of nothing but the thoughts in my mind. In Unmansioned, Class 201 looks into what creates and shapes our character and our identity. When we experience trauma or abuse we can easily become trapped in a downward spiral of despair and anxiety. When we struggle to cope with the challenges and injustices that life can sometimes throw at us, we need help.
For some people, traumatic experiences become taboo or forbidden in their minds as time passes. Their past might even become overpopulated by these dangerous and often forgotten memories. How then can they truly recover from the trauma done to them? Are they destined to forever be held captive by their bad memories? What if their minds become broken by these burdens, and they go insane? How can they really heal and bring return to sanity and a good life worth living? Unmansioned dares to ask these profound questions and, more importantly, offer us some hope for the future.
Act 3: Forgiven.
To err is human, to forgive divine. (English Proverb)
We all make mistakes. That is the best way for us to learn and to grow. Our failures prepare us for success. It is all too easy to be angry when we have been wronged by others. If we practice more empathy, we may find it easier to forgive and to rise above the hurt we feel. Unmansioned presents us with this dilemma. It asks us to look deep inside ourselves at the monsters and the angels that we carry within us. We must take full responsibility for our lives and choose which one to be: Monster? or Angel? We have the power to shape our own destiny if we accept our error-ridden past today for a better tomorrow. The future is ours for the making.
And it is this uplifting and inspirational message that ultimately leaves me feeling that this drama can help to shape and mold the world into a better place on a personal and intimate level. Unmansioned made me a better human being, and I am sure it will do the same to you.
Thank you for supporting today’s live drama performance with your attendance and your attention. This is ultimately for you, dear audience. Thank you to TCGS for creating this drama course and hosting this production – you are generous to a T! Thanks to Teacher Johnny and the entire TCGS English Department – you rock on so many levels! A tip of the hat to every single student onstage and offstage today – you made magic come alive! And much gratitude to families and friends far and wide – you are the heart of our small but talented community.
I had an idea for writers to submit poetry anonymously… This amazing collection is the result.
Is Door-to-door a writing technique? A writer (perhaps even you) walks from the door of one closet to that of another, collecting or selling literary objects – perhaps poems – easy to do in your own house with your own supportive family, but more challenging when in the abodes of absolute strangers, and almost impossible if these residences are spread out all over the globe. The challenge is further complicated because these strangers are (like yourself) writers, too. Their closets contain infestations of books. They nestle and nuzzle cover to cover in the dark, sharing illicit paragraphs, explicit chapters.
On the plus side of this equation, the writers here are not really strangers, as they’ve recently done time together during the 2011 summer residency for the MFA in Creative Writing at the City University of Hong Kong, away from the erotic rustle of secretly reproducing paperbacks.
Door-to-door is a collection of ‘closet poems’ by fellow writers on a global road. Fellow writers, who are becoming better skilled in the craft of writing and in the art of storytelling in Asia across the disciplines of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, and Poetry.
Marilyn Chin inadvertently sparked off the idea for Door-to-door when she observed in passing, “Every writer’s got a few closet poems rattling around.” A ‘closet poet’ is a writer who hides poetry in the closet claiming, “I don’t write poetry,” when the truth is more likely, “I do write poems, but… shhh!” while those tough hard-covered dust-jacketed books gang up on the discarded and skeletal orphans.
As an answer and a challenge to “I don’t write poetry” (remember the “shhh”?), Door-to-door is a mostly anonymous collection of ‘closet poems’; a mix of diverse voices speaking out from the darkness of private-but-global closets. A full list of the 2010 and 2011 MFA cohorts is included, and you are welcome to figure out which poet might have written which poem.
A big thank you to everyone who submitted a ‘closet poem’ (or two) in the first place, and then agreed to share it (or them) here.
So we bring our poems from the writer’s privately poetic imagination to the public, through the easily-opened door of this book. These poems are for you, the reader and re-creator of our work.
Enjoy our 31 polyglottal snapshots in English!
(July 2011-April 2012)