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Shinehouse Theatre (Taiwan)

Grand Hall
1.30 (without intermission)

Premiere 2020

Dramaturgy, directing Po-Yuan Chung
Set design Zeke Meng-Jung Lee
Costume design Yi-Chen Lee
Light design Ya-Yun Ko
Sound design Ming-Yi Chen
Choreography Emiko Agatsuma
Graphic design Luta Liu
Video graphics Meng-Hsueh Ho
Producers: Yu-Lan Yeh, Zeke Meng-Jung Lee
Translation into English Chen-Yu Hsieh

Cast: Yung-Yuan Cheng, Chia-Yi Chen, Wan-Ting Chang, Wei-Chen Chen, Cheng-Yu Hsieh, Comei Liao

Voice performers: Cheng-Nan Tsai, Chan-Mien Chang, Hung-Yu Liang, Shao-Yi Gao, Yi-Ting Fang, Chi-Ling Chen, Yu-Lan Yeh

Text and movement dovetail in a fluidly stylished production which asks: If disaster were to strike what would you do, who could you turn to? A lonely taxi driver shares a bond with a sensitive potted plant. A loving same-sex couple are conflicted about surrogate parenting. A diligent woman accompanies her cat for her its last journey. Spirit mediums voice these characters’ innermost thoughts and feelings.
The epidemic hits the world like a tsunami in 2020. People appear to be particularly lonely during the disaster. The isolation and interruption of physical contact strengthens the current era’s loneliness. However, just like the wave, people and everything in the world are bound to be implicated, emerging and annihilating one after another. “The Whisper of the Waves” reveals the interdependence between companions, humans and animals, and humans and plants, emerging in the wave of life. So that they are not lonely despite being alone, even when the flood comes.
The script was originally inspired by the 2011 East Japan 311 earthquake, which caused the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear accident. These events did not only shock Japanese society, but also started a self-examination about their living environment; as for Taiwan, an island sitting on the fault line of the Pacific Island chain, if a disaster of the same level occurs, how much damage will it cause? How long will it take to recover?
Director Po-Yuan Chung invited Emiko Agatsuma, a Butoh dancer and choreographer, to travel to Mount Osore, one of Japan’s three haunted sites, to visit Itako (Japanese witch). Like the spirit mediums in Taiwan, “Itako” can tell the dead to possess her and use her as a bridge to communicate with the living. The Chinese translation of the two character s(潮來, Itako) carries the meaning of flooding.
“The Whisper of the Waves” applies the dual meaning of “Itako”, possession and the flooding, digging into human nature of “love, loneliness and existence” through the prediction of disaster. “The Whisper of the Waves” was translated into English, Japanese, and Korean. Upon its completion, it was then performed during the Korean People Theater Festival in 2020, the Seoul International Environmental Theater Festival 2021 and Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Taiwan Season in 2022.