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Upcoming Train/Stopped Clock/Untitled Waiting

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li
August 22, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright/Director.

What is your show about?
Four characters waiting on the train platform for an answer to an unanswerable question—what are we anticipating? Inspired by Waiting for Godot, Upcoming Train/Stopped Clock/Untitled Waiting will reflect on the ridicule of quotidian life and artistic life.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Experimental Theatre. I do not believe theatre should be purely entertainment. Theatre has its function, political function. And yet, theatre is a form of art. Experimental theatre is what I can challenge myself aesthetically. There is futurity in experimental theatre, where you will see (un)tangible possibilities in the future.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I am super obsessed with the ephemerality and unarchivability of theatre. That also gives theatre more than a medium for pure entertainment, but as Brecht's idea, a medium for making the society better. Because theatre is ephemeral, unarchivable, the impact on the audience is way more stronger than other media, given the close relationship it builds with audiences. I am drawn by the power and unique aesthetics in theatre, and now this is where I belong, and work hard on challenging the theatre landscape artistically, while at the same time making a society better with my utopian dream.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
I have been thinking about writing/directing this play for years. The complexity between the linear time and the repetitive quotidian life always intrigues me, and encourages me to experiment on Beckett's Waiting for Godot. 60 years ago, this play raises a very essential question: what does existence mean? And yet, 60 years after Waiting for Godot, this question is not answered. Instead, the ridicule in the quotidian life goes beyond extreme. Therefore, I am trying to look to this ridicule again with this play, and reflect on the question about existence through the lens from my Asian background.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Audra McDonald?
Of course Ang Lee. We are from the same country, Taiwan. That's the very first reason. Also, all of his works tackle humanity very detailedly, which I super admire. If he really writes me a letter, that means he really understand the humanity I try to convey through my play. That will be a huge acknowledgement!

Who are your heroes?
Why believes in heroes? Godot is here, does that make any change? Be on your own, and you are your own hero.