E-interview with Fay Theatre

A new Chinese company was created this year – Fay Theatre. It is presenting a new play this weekend. Kakiseni e-mailed a few questions that were answered by Eva Heng, the administrative director of the company, and the director of their play Funeral for a Stranger (translation by Zoe Au):

Eva, can you tell us a bit what experiences you’re bringing to the Malaysian theatre scene?

I am not that sure about what experiences am I going to bring into the Malaysian theatre scene, for I’ve just came back for nine months and I am still searching the path. The establishment of Fay Theatre and the performance of A Funeral for a Stranger are just the beginning. We try to bring in what we have learnt in Taiwan and lead Fay Theatre towards “Faith, Quality and Professionalism”, which is our motto. We wouldn’t dare say that we bring influences to Malaysian theatre scene but we will try the best we can.

What do you think of the Chinese theatre scene now? And the Chinese audiences?

To build much larger theatre audiences and to bring up the personal quality of the audiences are the responsibilities of theatre companies, the culture and art organizations and the related governmental departments. However, the three organizations are obviously not working on it or not working hard enough. Especially when the last two organizations are not supportive at all. Eventually, theatre companies must put a lot more effort and energy in it, maybe 10 or even 20 years more needed to cultivate the emergence of the local theatre scene.

Who wrote A Funeral for a Stranger? What is the message?

A Funeral for a Stranger is written and directed by Eva Heng and completed together with the cast. It is to present the main theme, which is ‘love’, by looking at it through different angles.

What audiences is the play for?

The possible audiences that we aim for are those who are above 12 and show their interest in art and are interested in the theme of love.

Anything else you want to add?

Below are the two special elements of A Funeral for a Stranger.

The utilization of postmodernism

  • A Funeral for a Stranger uses elements in what we called ‘postmodernism’. For instance, anti-narrative – collage; work in group’s creation and the utilization of symbols.
  • Anti-narrative means that the storyline is non-linear (i.e. non ’cause-consequence’ reasoning). However, the “collage” used in this performance is not the deconstruction of the narrative line of a story but the ‘collage’ of the elements of the same theme.
  • ‘A work in group’s creation’ means that a director emphasises on the performer’s unique quality and social belief in order to expand his or her potential abilities so as to create the infinite possibilities of performing between the performer and the ‘story’ itself.
  • ‘Symbolism’ means that the actors are no longer playing a character but they are a picture in a three­ dimension space. Actors are symbol. The director then becomes a painter, to paint a picture with actors and other elements on stage.

We try to use elements in ‘theatre of postmodernism’ but it doesn’t mean that we would want to be define as ‘theatre of postmodernism’.

The combination of Art and Pop Culture

Art and pop culture usually do not relate. However, A Funeral for a Stranger uses quite a lot of pop music. Through editing and combining them together, presented with the physical language of the actors and also dance, we construct the structure of this performance.



First Published: 04.07.2002 on Kakiseni

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