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.
In a parallel universe, on the planet Earth No. 2019, Taiwan looks almost exactly the same as the one we live in now. The only difference is that the teenagers are almost extinct here.
The genetic technology that allows human beings to skip teenage has emerged around 1971 when Taiwan left the United Nations and people were worried about the future of the country. A labor force consisted of people who are emotionally steady, mentally mature, and fully socialized, became people’s hope when they were striving against adversity. In 1974, the gene technology made a breaking progress and were found to be able to provide the following benefits -- (1) reducing the time for the young dependent population to become mature, (2) maintaining the social stability, and (3) enhancing national competitiveness. Based on this gene control technology, a vaccine was developed and was widely adopted across the country, which led to a long period of peace.
However, in recent years, several cases have been reported in which the “almost extinct” teenager features were found in some people, and this has become more frequent. People who tried to communicate with this emerging group were facing a strange problem similar to the so-called “generation gap.” Being the concerned authority, the Gene Control Bureau, after several failed attempts, has decided to take preventive measures against the emerging teenager phenomenon, which has not been seen in Taiwan for decades, in order to prevent this pseudo-atavism from becoming more popular and from having a direct impact on the current social structure. Experts from many fields have been assembled in order to analyze the problem of teenagers, a missing link in human development, from different angles. Meanwhile, the bureau has launched a massive project, a.k.a. “Clone Youth 2.0.”
From the Creative Coordinator— About Clone
We started from devising a play about the teenagers. In the process of collecting data and fieldwork, we tried again and again to define “the teenagers” from different angles. From various fields such as biology, neuroscience, aspects of law and society, and the concerns of the majority of people, we pieced together the characteristics of the teenagers. We decided that the contemporary teenagers are the focus of the play. In this age of information explosion, the adults do not have enough knowledge for the teenagers to face the future world. Yet, being the most powerful group in society, the adults still control the policies, education, welfare, and resource allocation for the teenagers. The teenagers are regarded as immature people who do not have full capacity. Even those who have recently matured to adulthood are still treated as newcomers in society and are closely monitored (protected).
Each teenager is a unique individual. And in every generation, the teenagers exist only in the present time. People older than 22 have all experienced their teenager period, but as they are further away from their youth, all that they can remember about their own youth are memories of being immature, being misunderstood, being free and doing what they want, having dreams about the future, and being rebellious. Adults use these experiences to define “teenagers.” However, as time progresses, the teenagers in the new present are living with different peer groups, families, identities, popular idols, educational systems, and social political environments. As the generation gap widens, inter-generational dialogues generate interesting ideas and perspectives.
Usually, people understand the world based on their own experience. However, the so-called “teenager experience” of current adults is just like an archeological study. Attempts to trace the missing link in the evolutionary process of (individual) human beings is something analogous to attempts of adults to regain memory about their teenage. No matter how hard you try to portray the details, it is very difficult that you can get close enough to the features of the current teenagers. What you get is more likely a profile of “prehistoric creatures”. We do hope very much that more teenagers would come to the theatre and participate in this play. It would be very absurd to rely only on the understandings of us as “present creatures” (adults) towards the “prehistoric creatures” (our teenage) and to design the needs for the “future creatures” (adults in the future) and hope that they will be able to survive in the future environments.
We are interested in how to promote this mental process “see – accept – understand” in theatre. When we see the context behind someone’s behavior, if we can just simply accept it, then there is a possibility of understanding. And understanding may lead to constructive dialogue. We try to summarize our findings during the preparation process, and share with the audience the precious stories we have collected, stories about the confusion of being an teenager. No one can give a clear definition about the teenagers, and yet everyone has experienced the particular state of development. To avoid the situation that each person starts with a different personal definition, we would like to propose that, what will happen if the “teenage”, as a state of human development, has disappeared? With the help of the magic power of the immersive experimental theatre, our goal is to promote inter-generational dialogue. Let’s start from the beginning and explore for ourselves.
About the Over Diamond Art Studio
The mission of the Over Diamond Art Studio is to promote theatre as social action and to create social impact with theatre.
It actively explores new possibilities of performance field and invites artists with similar ideas to work together. Its work focuses on two themes: social issues that are relevant to local people and communities, and arts that speak for the oppressed and the weak. Over the years, the studio has been providing its members systematic training and encouraging them to make performances in different formats. Over Diamond Art Studio combines music, voice, dance, and video in its work, and is dedicated to promote arts as social engagement. Recent productions include the The Given series and the immersive experimental theatre productions The Lesson, Taiwan and Old Fairy Tale.
Organizer: National Theater and Concert Hall
Production Team： Over Diamond Art Studio
Approx. 130 minutes without intermission
The program is subject to change.
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