Taiwanese playwrights to stage three new LGBTQ plays in New York

11/14/2019 09:45 PM
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New York, Nov. 13 (CNA) Three new LGBTQ plays by Taiwanese playwrights, which contemplate life after the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan, will be performed in New York on Nov. 14, according to the city's Taipei Cultural Center.

The center hopes that the plays, which incorporate elements of traditional Taiwanese culture, will enable audiences to better understand Taiwan's fight for marriage equality.

Stage readings of the translated plays, performed by New York-based actors and directed by Michael Leibenluft of Gung Ho Projects, will be held at the Segal Theater, followed by a panel discussion featuring the playwrights, according to the center.

In an interview with CNA on Wednesday, the three playwrights, Liu Chien-Kuo (劉建幗), Chao Chi-yun (趙啟運) and Lin Meng-huan (林孟寰), shared how they grappled with the question, "What's next after marriage equality?" in their plays.

Liu's short play, "Why Don't We Get Married?" follows two actresses in a Taiwanese opera troupe who decide to tie the knot, and the challenges they face in doing so.

Liu, a playwright born to a traditional opera family, said that

the question posed in the title of her play reflects the hesitance that same-sex couples feel before deciding to get married, as the decision makes one's sexuality public.

Although she and the other playwrights only had a month to write the scripts, she wanted to make it as good as possible given that she has always paid close attention to LGBTQ issues, Liu added.

For Chao, his inspiration came from those who did not live to see the historic ruling, an idea he combined with the old Taiwanese custom of posthumous marriages, as well as food culture in southern Taiwan.

In his play, "Love in Time," two sisters plan to stage a wedding for their late father and his former boyfriend, Uncle Zun, who is still alive, as they explore what happens when progress comes too late.

The final play, Lin's "The Red Balloon," is a futuristic take on sexuality and medical technology, in which a gay man and his partner use genetic manipulation to ensure their son is also gay.

However, after the boy grows up, he insists on undergoing "orientation reversal surgery" to become "normal," raising the question of what is normal in a world where medical procedures have increased the choices available to people.

Lin said that in his experience, the LGBTQ community in Taiwan is sometimes closed-off, and unwilling to face internal issues. As such, choosing to focus on a darker theme in his play represents an attempt at self-reflection.

The three playwrights, alongside artists and scholars from the U.S., also participated in a panel discussion Wednesday, where they exchanged their experiences of LGBTQ theater and the fight for marriage equality.

(By Ozzy Yin and Chiang Yi-ching)


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