“How do so many directors direct together?”
This is a frequent question. After six years of the launch of the World Wide Lab, we are still sticking to the spirit of collaboration, hoping that the possibility of collective creation might be achieved step by step.
From 2011 to 2015, we have brought World Wide Lab to reality at the Watermill Center and Brooklyn in New York, Rome in Italia and Syros in Greece. Each year directors fly to a city at one small corner of the world to work together for a creative collaboration lasting three to four weeks. Spontaneously we did this. No one’s forcing us. Despite all the difficulties, despite our nearly breaking of rationality, upon the arrival of our next Word Wide Lab, we will still gather our luggage, flying to another destination from whatever city it is.
Lots of people have come to our help along the way, while as many voices of questioning have also poured in. Sometimes we even long for an ending, to spare ourselves an easy vacation. Yet, gods have forbidden that. Challenges keep coming every year. They prove to be appealing to us, and again and again we keep making the impossible come true.
Taiwan University of Arts, to get them trained together with other professional and foreign actors. We make ourselves connected to 435 Art Zone in Banqiao in New Taipei City and to the local culture. The ESP-I Performing Arts Group in Taiwan is in charge of the curating of performance and workshops, and the efforts the whole team has invested have reached a new height.
The name of our production this year is In Transit. It is completely original. “Trauma” and “healing” are our two themes. We have discussed “Trauma” through three dimensions: How do we deal with trauma? How do we talk about it? How is trauma passed on through us from one generation to another?
While revealing trauma, we will also be healed. Yet, how should trauma be “said” without second injury? How could we transit those “moments” in association with trauma? Those moments when trauma can be talked about or cannot; those moments when we are not sure what to do; those moments when things seem to have faded out but emotions cannot be pacified; those moments when deep inside the body somewhere is still aching. We should have the courage to go on, as long as occasionally more support and understanding can be bestowed upon us. With the cross-cultural working platform established by World Wide Lab, we earned more chances to know and to listen to others, understanding how other cultures face their moments when they come. During this process, we are inspired, and this inspiration turns into our nutrients and materials for creative production. Hence, we have been determined that we shall lead our ensemble team to locate a universal language belonging to our transnational members, a form of representation that will go beyond regional language and will incorporate our thoughts about trauma and healing.
In Transit is shaped not only by languages or narratives, but by the historical background of 435 Art Zone, the multiple traces imprinted by the contemporary and old Taiwanese society, as well as our most intimate personal stories. All of them will be uncovered in this arena where we do our production.
Perhaps, just at this moment when this article is still being written, many of our hidden stories are still being excavated and harbored inside our rehearsal room. Before too long, however, we will definitely be integrated into a piece of production that can be better said, better understood, and less constrained by lingual boundaries. We will see you then!
by Jocelyn Yuchia Chang, Taiwan
(Translated by Yu-Ting Kao)