Resources / Cardenio / Taiwan


Ching-Hsi Perng and Chen Fang
Taipei, Taiwan
May, 2014

Producer CHENG, Rom Shing

Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe released the 2014 Hakka opera, “Betrayal,” an artistic creation of western and oriental culture adapted from the anonymous script of William Shakespeare, “Cardenio,” in the formality of Hakka opera. The troupe looks forward to an inter-cultural exchange between ancient time and modern days, and the orient and the west. Rom Shing expects to incite sparkles of excitement from the play and to leave a perfect record on the magnificent experiment of “cultural mobility” as well as adding another legend to the legacy and creation of Hakka tea-picking opera.

In Taiwan, Hakka opera once encountered tremendous predicament between 1960 and 1990, where Hakka language gradually declined while aging artists, falling traditional troupes, and deteriorating social atmosphere were against the survival of local operas. During the time, Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe restricted for foundation and has survived in nearly 30 years step by step. The re-thriving and glamorous representation of Hakka opera has preserved the culture passed down from the predecessors. Along the way, the troupe does not play tricks but only project at “creating talents and operas” and “innovation from tradition” with pragmatic operation that reproduce the diverse look of plain and beautiful Hakka operas while exhibiting the combination of time movements and modern performance elements. The troupe releases new works each year while maintaining the essence of traditional Hakka three-role tea-picking opera, fostering new talents from the operas with gradual robust growth. There are many new talents as seen from “Betrayal,” which brings comfort to the future prospect of Hakka opera talents.

Recently Taiwanese operas and arts become increasingly enriched and diverse with constant changes and thriving prosperity that exhibit vibrant vitality. The previous annual Hakka opera, “Concubine Consort Yu,” produced by Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe, featured drama integration of Beijing opera, Taiwanese opera and Hakka opera as an experiment to incite sparkles of opera exchange and racial harmony. Today Harvard University carries out the Cardenio Project for global drama exchange to perform adapted Shakespearean script worldwide, which allows Hakka tea-picking operas to connect with the world. Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe cooperates with foreign theaters and academic circles through the performance of “Betrayal,” so that the troupe will no longer be constrained by domestic tradition but can cross the border between ancient time and modernity, and the west and orient, and thereby substantially expanding its horizon. In this exchange process, Hakka operas and Taiwanese operas are naturally upgraded with international visibility and impact, leading to more promising opportunities. We are seeking for more possibility in traditional operas as well as long-term development in the lifeline of Hakka operas.

We would like to acknowledge the strong support and guidance from the officials of Ministry of Culture and Council for Hakka Affairs for the publication and release of Hakka opera, “Betrayal.” We would also like to acknowledge the script provided for free by Professor Peng, Jing-Xi and Chen Fang. We would like to give special thanks to director Chen Le travelling from China to Taiwan and Mr. Gao, Ming-Long of stage art design, who provided professional assistance in the production as well as the collaboration from all performers. We also appreciate the enthusiastic sponsorship, care and encouragement from many predecessors of Hakka townships, particularly the valuable help from Madam Zheng Yue-Qin. All of the aforementioned are the driving forces that support Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe to progress. We look forward to comments from all predecessors.