Approaching Theatre has long been concerned with the identity of the contemporary Southeast Asian Chinese diaspora, using the body theory of traditional arts in Southeast Asia and Taiwan as the starting point for mutual interpretation and cultural presentation, and diasporic narrative as the entry point. Through research, studies, and body technique learning, it explores how border demarcation and state conceptions after World War II have affected Taiwan and Southeast Asia in the aftermath of decolonization.
The project name “Realm in the Mirror” refers to the proximity or similarity between Taiwan and Southeast Asia, and the many similarities in historical and cultural experiences. However, in reality, there is a border between them that is clearly within reach, but not easy to cross and difficult to reach. The project focuses on the Chinese figures in the traditional dances of Java in Indonesia, the wartime writings by the Malaysian Chinese, and the narratives of sorrow and grief in Taiwan’s Nanyin opera. From the three dimensions of narrative, voice, and body, 8 lectures and 19 workshops under related themes were held. The objective was to train potential collaborators in the first stage of experimentation and preparation for the development of a theatrical production in 2024 through related preliminary reading, research, data collection, and arrangement.
Approaching Theatre founded by the theatrical duo of Koh Choon Eiow (Malaysia) and Cheng Yin-Chen (Taiwan) has been dedicated to theatrical creation, playwriting, directing, performance, theater education and publication. Its work is concerned with the subjective identity in historical contexts and specializes in adapting literary works for theater performance. It is dedicated to finding the connection between literature and drama, the classical and the contemporary, as well as reinterpretations of one by the other. It aims to guide the separated Chinese diasporas under different political structures to learn about and understand each other.