Journal Articles

December 2021 - Vol.52 / No.1
Imagining the Future in the Anthropocene on the Taipei Stage: What Colour is the Cloud? (2016), Taipei Notes (2017), and 1984 (2017)
Author : Lia Wen-ching Liang
Keywords : human extinction, contemporary theatre, Taiwanese theatre, Wang Chia-Ming, Voleur de Feu Theatre
Given our reliance on planetary resources for survival, the worsening global environmental conditions are now becoming a source for artistic reflections. In theatre, curiosity is increasingly turned to the ecological impacts of modern society, especially in regard to the future of humanity. As a form of art that constantly prompts the audience to consider new problems and perspectives, theatre can become a significant vehicle for alerting the general public to our current anthropogenic environmental transformations. Addressing three theatre productions in Taipei, this paper explores how theatre artists in Taiwan have been grappling with planetary environmental crises. The first production is Taipei Notes (2017), the result of collaborations between the Japanese playwright Hirata Oriza and Taiwan's Voleur du Feu Theatre, which presented a revision of Hirata's award-winning Tokyo Notes (1995). Set at a future time that exhibits many similarities to our society, fragments of multiple stories were presented in the lobby at a gallery in Taipei, where famous paintings evacuated from a warring Europe were displayed. The production thus delved into a shifting world order in the aftermath of disruptive patterns of human activities. Next, I examine 1984, The Family Life of Three Sisters, which was the collaborative work of Wang Chia-Ming (Shakespeare's Wild Sisters Group) and Kouhei Narumi (Seventh Theatre) staged in 2017. Evoking the omnipresent surveillance in George Orwell's 1984, this production also paraphrased Chekhov's Three Sisters and explored a futuristic setting in which the scarcity of natural resources easily led to widespread military conflicts and pervasive social control. Finally, the focus turns to What Colour is the Cloud?, another production directed by Wang for the SWSG in 2016. Delivering an overwhelmingly pessimist message concerning the future of the world, this production depicted the survival and destruction of humanity on a damaged earth that had seen vortices of both natural and human-induced disasters. By pointing to a future profoundly unsettled by our ambitions and activities, all three productions offered different cues for viewers to critically consider the question of the Anthropocene.
All the Names and the Event of Love
Author : Duncan McColl Chesney
Keywords : Saramago, Badiou, Love, Event, acontecimento, Sousa Dias
In this article I seek to re-read Jose Saramago's novel All the Names with reference to Alain Badiou's theory of the Event and the truth procedures that follow upon events of both Love and Art. Touching on various examples of love in the Western tradition, I show how Saramago's novel presents an interesting case of the chance encounter, the Event, point-by-point episodes of fidelity, and the on-going development of a truth of love for Senhor Jose. I then conclude by briefly considering the Event Saramago in the novelistic tradition. Badiou's theory allows us to see this work of the later Saramago in a new light and gives us reason to reassess his novelistic accomplishment.
"But stirr'd by Cleopatra": The Ambivalent Role of Foreign Drugs in Antony and Cleopatra
Author : Ying-chiao Lin
Keywords : Antony and Cleopatra, Early Modern medicine, foreign drugs, xenophobia
This study looks at Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra primarily as a text expressing medical concerns about imported foreign drugs in early modern Europe, more specifically in 16(th)-17(th) century England. Through an investigation of the play's dramatic atmosphere, juxtaposed with early modern beliefs about foreign drugs embodied by the images of Cleopatra, this article will demonstrate how Antony and Cleopatra is concerned with imported foreign medicines, and with how Shakespeare has placed various medicinal messages in a drama focusing on a romance and on political ambitions. Antony and Cleopatra is, then, a discourse on social pathology, on the desire for foreign drugs that could be both beneficial and fatal.
Trips, Food, Language: The Tourist Gaze in Janice Y. K. Lee's The Expatriates
Author : Pi-li Hsiao
Keywords : the tourist gaze, the local gaze, Janice Y. K. Lee, The Expatriates
COVID-19 has adversely affected the global travel industry and altered the landscapes of popular tourist attractions. Social unrest can exacerbate the situation. Apart from the pandemic, Hong Kong witnessed a marked deterioration due to continuing pro-democracy demonstrations. With the widespread use of technology and media, which often change worldwide imagination about a place overnight, an acclaimed tourist attraction can lose its appeal in no time. This phenomenon raises questions about how tourists imagine and gaze at their travel destinations. To what extent do preconceived images influence tourists? Do tourists travel to experience new things or to reinforce the pre-existing stereotypes about their destinations? Will their contact with local people challenge the stereotypes? Or will it perpetuate them? The paper attempts to address these and other related questions through a close reading of Janice Y. K. Lee's Hong Kong based novel The Expatriates. Adopting tourism scholars John Urry and Jonas Larsen's theory of the ”tourist gaze” and further adaptations and appropriations made by other scholars, the paper analyzes how the tourist gaze is employed by Lee's American expats in terms of trips, food, and language. In the novel, it is found, otherness in the traveling eye contributes to the construction of Americanness. The paper also examines the relationship between the local gaze and cross-cultural understanding. The local gaze, meaning local people's responses to the tourist gaze, can be both positive and negative. Confronted with the local gaze, Lee's three women protagonists become more aware of their limitations as tourists and achieve varying degrees of familiarity with the local culture, though each of them progresses at her own pace. The tourist gaze entails a tourist's expectation to witness the ”authenticity” of her travel destination. However, we can see there exists no such authenticity at all. When the tourist gaze and the local gaze are interwoven, more images about a place are created.
"We Are No Longer Quite Ourselves": Rethinking Vulnerability in Virginia Woolf's "Street Haunting: A London Adventure"
Author : Yu-ching Wang
Keywords : Virginia Woolf, “Street Haunting,” Judith Butler, vulnerability, subjectivity, writing, ethical responsiveness
This paper intends to inquire the slippage between writing and walking in Virginia Woolf 's ”Street Haunting: A London Adventure.” Reading walking as a metonymy of Woolf's aesthetics, this paper argues that Woolf 's writing, like her body, is characterized by its vulnerability to write its own passivity. Drawing from Judith Butler's conceptualization of vulnerability, this paper demonstrates that instead of embracing an invulnerable subjectivity capable of resisting the shock in the streets and taking hold of the social problems, ”Street Haunting” is more concerned with the question of the subject's susceptibility and responsiveness to contingent city encounters. In the midst of street haunting in London, Woolf becomes ”an enormous eye” in the face of alterity and street shocks. By problematizing the perceiving eye, this paper argues that the enormous eye does not reiterate the primacy of vision; rather, it reveals the tension between agency and passivity in bodily vulnerability and the possibilities of ethical responsiveness regarding the suffering in the streets.
A Landmark of Ecocriticism in East Asia
Author : Xiao-hua Wang
Keywords :