Dinning On the New Year's Eve

Venue: Experience Theater


As recent performances tend to be more interdisciplinary, this year NTCH has launched a new programming platform called IDEAS Lab to integrate the former Innovations Series (drama, dance and music). The IDEAS Lab has officially become one of the four major art festivals of NTCH. The IDEAS Lab emphasizes the experimental spirit. Artists are encouraged to be rebellious as if in eternal adolescence. It invites artists to ask questions, fight against popular trends, and create innovative visions together.

The IDEAS Lab presents primarily works by local artists in Taiwan as well as local productions co-created by international artists. The festival also functions as a platform to recommend new artists and artists who collaborate with NTCH for the first time. Starting from their own experiences and observations about life, the seven artists or groups in this year’s festival are proposing seven different directions of exploration in theater with their productions that are “purely hand-made, purely innovative, and purely experimental.” Their works also reflect the issues and trends of our time.

Words from Director/Playwright

Hi, I am HSU Po-ang, the director and playwright of the play. This is the most difficult script I’ve ever written thus far in my life as well as the first script that I had to tear the whole thing and start over from scratch half way through the creation. As if there were a curse, one of the members in the team had to face his/herself in each of the Po You Set’s scripts. It’s finally my turn. Fortunately, in the face of an unsatisfying work, I still had the courage to make a prompt decision to stop and start over again. It’s much easier than facing our own lives.

Dinning On the New Year’s Eve is not simplya dinner on the New Year’s Eve, but an unutterable dinner on the New Year’s Eve. The dinner on New Year’s Eve is traditionally a dinner where all family members reunite once every year. However, as time goes by, the people around the dinner table will get fewer and fewer, and at the same time, feel more and more unfamiliar—if everything goes as expected. From the ones “participating in” the dinner, we will gradually become the ones who “maintain” the dinner and eventually the ones who “leave” the dinner.

While writing the script, I’ve encountered three major difficulties. Firstly, the background is set at the battlefield of the Battle of Changban, where two soldiers were left behind. My story has to begin there. Secondly, I would like to elaborate and demonstrate the concept of the “body of traditional opera.” Thirdly, the play absolutely has to be connected with the dinner in the evening on the day before the New Year’s Day. Furthermore, it is the 20th production of Po You Set. I ushered in a new idea just when I was about to run out of new ideas.

We always say that experiments may either succeed or fail, but—let’s be honest—for the creators, whoever it may be, we always wish to see success but rather disappointment. I’m glad that I tore the first draft and found out another possibility for the narrative. There is no introduction or preview prior to the performance. Please just watch it, feel it, and then let it linger in your minds. The Battle of Changban in the late East Han Dynasty does not matter; that ravens belong to the Corvus corax Species of the Corvus Genus of the Corvidae Family of the Passeriformes Order of the Aves Class of the Chordata Phylum of the Animalia Kingdom does not matter; what drums, gongs and signal flags at the battlefield are for does not matter; how brave and fierce Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei behaved does not matter, either. What really matters … sorry nothing really matters at all. What matters the most is that you join us here to find out what really matters in Dinning On the New Year’s Eve.

One more hint for the “body of traditional opera.” Four techniques are considered the basics for a performer of Chinese traditional opera: “singing, reciting, acting and martial arts performing,” while trainings focus on five aspects: “gesture, eyesight, physical movement, gait, and rules and programs.” The aesthetic requirement for the first four aspects is “round,” and for rules and programs, it requires “circuitous.” All in all, the “body of traditional opera” is a physical aesthetics built upon being circuitous and round.

Finally, I would like to say “thank you” to all those who facilitate this dinner as well as to those who come to the dinner.

About Po You Set

Po You Set and Pogakband, respectively a 12-year-old theater company and a two-year-old music band, have just embarked on their journeys. We, as a group of partners, create original stories as well as original ways to tell these stories about traditional Beijing opera, about Taiwan, and about those who choose to meet with us in the theater. You'll find your own stories in Po You Set. If you only go into the theater once in your whole life, please come to the play produced by Po You Set. Or, at least, visit our Facebook to "Like" us, please! By doing so, you'll know everything about this "dinner" and about us -- those who prepare “dinner.”

Organizer: National Theater and Concert Hall

◎ Approx. 110 minutes without intermission.

◎ The program is subject to change.

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