by the NCO was majestically held in Detroit, Michigan.Intriguing Family Love, Overflowing Nostalgia, Double Pleasure for Your Eyes and Ears
National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan, affiliated with Ministry of Culture, has accepted the invitation from “Michigan Taiwanese American Organization”, and performed the highly recommendedFormosa Roadside Wedding Banquettheater concert on 4th and 6th October 2019 at the Detroit Film Theatre and the University of Michigan-Flint Theatre, with Chu Jui-Hao, deputy director of the National Center for Traditional Arts, as the leader. The warm and intriguing family love between a father and his daughter, and the overflowing nostalgia, that is depicted in this successful and resounding artistic feast, once again appeared in front of audiences. The tour performance was successful, and received resounding response.
Roadside banquetis a distinctive festive cuisine culture in Taiwan, and its cultural particularity is a valuable cuisine and folk cultural heritage. The 2019 North America Tour of National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan has specially chosen Roadside banquet as the theme, and vividly manifested the roadside banquet techniques from executive chefs through musical instrument performance and theater performance, where woks, bowls, gourd ladles, pots, stoves, firewood, aswell as tables and chairs were used to render the numerous interesting process from preparation, diving portion, to presentation. The unique Taiwanese roadside banquet culture was rendered through the bustling noises of traditional musical instruments to convey the local festive and delightful atmosphere. The theater concertFormosa Roadside Wedding Banquetof National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan was majestically held on 4th October at the Detroit Film, and on 6th October at the University of Michigan-Flint Theatre, in succession; the concert integrates with Taiwanese Opera, which is distinctive to traditional Taiwanese culture, and powerhouse drama actors including Chang Meng-I, Chiang Ting-Ying, Chen Chen-Wang, and Hsieh Yu-Ju respectively portrayed characters of “matchmaker”, “bride”, “groom”, and “executive chef”, where they presented an artistic and cultural feast that satisfied audiences’ auditory and visual craving, depicted the unbearable mood of the reserved executive chef when his daughter is getting married, as well as the overflowing father love and the profound and warm blessing. The vivid and phenomenal performance, along with the heart-rending plot, has left most audiences crying at the end.
To the performers who are experts in narrating stories through musical instruments, performing in a theater concert is a big challenge, as musicians from the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan must leap forward from the old performance approach, and each of them has to walk to the front of the stage to set free their limbs and interact with the on-site audiences, where they also created the cooking scene of a roadside banquet with flying cooking tools and dancing fire. Liu Chen-Ling, concertmaster of the National Chinese OrchestraTaiwan, who portrayed the head chef, expressed that “roadside banquet is very different to the performance approach of a pure concert, though after the breaking-in period and numerous attempts, the performers were starting to enjoy it; the earliest version of the performance only consisted of parts from wind and percussion instruments, and this tour has been added with parts from bowed string and plucked string instruments, with a more comprehensive orchestra compilation, as well as richer sounds, and everyone was just swaying away delightfully on the stage without holding anything back.”
Director Chiang Chien-Yuan also added: “with the part from plucked string instruments, we were given the tension and rhythm to narrate stories during the process of roadside banquet, and the additional part from bowed string instruments is the most important factor in catalyzing emotions through its melodic lines and rich tone colors.” ChangMeng-I, best actress of the year for the Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music, and the direct disciple of Liao Chiung-Chih, first kudan of Taiwanese Opera, plays the role of “bride”, where her excellent singing and composing skills, and her exceptional response in sobbing tone, has perfectly depicted the profound emotions between a father and a daughter. Thinking back to the first rehearsal of theMarrying Offscene, Chang Meng-I remembers how everyone from the crew couldn’t help but started crying, and because of the fact that this theme is so closely related to livelihood and life experience, Chang expresses that: “working with the NCO this time for a Chinese music theater had an intimate familiarity, which differs from the manifestation of a traditional drama stage; putting away the familiar gestures, I hoped to perform in a more natural approach, and provide audiences full of blissfulness.”
Chu Jui-Hao, deputy director of the National Center for Traditional Arts, led the 2019 North America Tour of the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan, and brought the Chinese music theaterFormosa Roadside Wedding Banquetthat contains warm and intriguing family love, and overflowing nostalgia, while also became acquaintances with many friends. The theater shared Taiwan music and the cultural aesthetics, and successfully expanded the international stage for Taiwanese culture, which has been well received by all sectors in Michigan.
Liu Li-Chen, director of the National Chinese OrchestraTaiwan, who planned for and produced the Formosa Roadside Wedding Banquettheater concert, explained the creative motivation for the theme of Roadsidebanquet:
French Cuisine was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2010, by means of its cultural connotation fulfilled from social life during the dining ceremony, rather than its “delicacy”. The French dining ceremony and cuisine follows a fixed structure, from the aperitif, appetizer, main course, all the way to the dessert at the very end, a gathering to enjoy delicacy is able to produce opportunity to interact with friends and families, as well as reinforce social relationships. Roadside banquet is our traditional catering culture, where not only the names of the cuisines and the sequence of serving dishes require particular attention, but the most important thing is how neighbors and friends are willing to be “helpers” during the process, and work together to help with the banquet, which reveals profound hospitality, connects each other, and tightens interpersonal relations throughout the roadside banquet. The National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan utilized this conception, and brought the roadside banquet culture onto the big stage, hoping to not only become closer to the audiences in Taiwan, but also introduce Taiwanese culture to the world through this exchange opportunity in Michigan.