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TLB Launches Literature-Dance Adaptation Project: Literature is in Your Veins

  • PublishTime:2023-11-28

by Wen Hsi-Hsin, Gregory Laslo

The National Museum of Taiwan Literature and poet Hung Hung (鴻鴻) have teamed up to launch “Literature is in Your Veins – Literature-Dance Adaptation Project” at our Taipei location, the Taiwan Literature Base. Extending novels, poetry, and picture books into the realm of physical performance and experience invites us to explore the intimate relationship between literature and the body, and feel the appeal of literature in a whole new way. This project received an enthusiastic reception as soon as it was launched!

Since its opening ceremony in 2021, TLB has been organizing activities to encourage cross-disciplinary experiments between literature and art through classes, workshops, exhibits, and performances. This year, with support from the Ministry of Culture’s National Languages Development Act, poet Hung Hung is reinterpreting Taiwan literature through dance, allowing everyone to feel how literature can be written with the body.

This project has also featured two dance performances performed in Taiwanese. In October, the One Player Short Ensemble (三缺一劇團) gave a demonstration performance in conjunction with the exhibit Beyond Anthropocentrism: Animals in Taiwan Literature (being held from October 29th to April 28th). Their performance was adapted from Wu Ming-yi’s (吳明益) novella The Clouds at Two Thousand Meters (雲在兩千米), which follows the story of the endangered clouded leopard. Taiwanese language dialogue and indigenous Paiwan songs play off against the Mandarin narration, showing off Taiwan’s complex linguistic and cultural legacy. The story leads readers to consider the distinction between “human” and “animal,” and unleash the animal hidden in our hearts.

Following this clouded leopard is the humble oyster from our dinner tables. In November and December, TLB will be organizing musical, storytelling, and physical workshops based on the picture book The Night March of the Oysters (蚵仔夜行軍). The protagonist of this picture book is Oyster, who lives off the west coast of Taiwan, and prompts readers to see the land and consider ecological issues from his perspective.

The final chapter of “Literature is in Your Veins – Literature Dance Adaptation Project” will be launched in the spring. Choreographer Tsai Ching-cheng (蔡晴丞) will direct an adaptation of work by Taiwan poet Chen Ming-jen (陳明仁), inviting audiences to reflect on their aspirations in life and become aware of the bonds that connect humanity and the Earth.