The essence of the stage of “The Ring of Nibelungen”——A brief introduction to the art of director Deric Gan

The production of Muka Space, the drama version of Wagner’s opera “The Ring of Nibelung” directed by Yan Yongqi, is a major event for the Malaysian Chinese theater scene. The 5-hour drama (17 hours of the original opera) is astounding. At present, most theater performances or movie screenings use 90 minutes as the “standard” length, and the reasons are self-evident. Too long will cause the audience to concentrate and weaken their physical and mental fatigue. At the same time, compared to the agricultural society, the time of modern urban audiences is more “precious” and patience is more scarce, right? Looking at the world-wide contemporary theater performance records, the performance of long-form plays is not common, but once they appear, they will inevitably attract audiences. To be far away, the 8-hour performance at the Singapore Esplanade in 2013, “Dream Like a Dream” directed by Lai Shengchuan, is hard to find. “The Ring of the Nibelungen” did not cause a sensational effect and was purely a crime of non-war. Because the local drama market has not yet formed, the low attendance rate of general dramas is purely “normal.” Moreover, for the general audience, 5 hours is bound to think twice instead of going back. But the performance once again proved that Muka Space and Yan Yongqi’s name are a brand guarantee. No matter in the adaptation, directing performances, stage lighting, etc., the play has delivered impressive results. The 5-hour journey is not tiresome, but the more exciting the night.

The biggest achievement of this play is not just to disassemble and reorganize a large tome with a complex relationship between the structure of the story and the characters, using a non-linear narrative chain and a multi-dimensional linear time to make the story detailed and interesting. Speaking clearly, but at the same time it provides a refined appreciation of art, and even when conveying the theme of the original work, it sublimates to a kind of poetic rendering.

Resolutely, to remove the waste; to dismantle and reorganize, to simplify the complex; to streamline the actors, one person with multiple roles, is the classic “used skill” adapted by director Yan Yongqi. It is not how different his adaptation method is from other adaptors, but the execution: from the exploration and creation of theatrical scenes to the presentation of theatrical scenes and stage pictures, the precision and heaviness presented, or the leading actors In terms of expressing the relationship and emotion of the characters, and creating the image of the characters, it can give people a completely new and reborn feeling. Looking at the adaptation of this play, we can only sigh his solid professional skills, boundless creativity and creativity, which is not comparable to ordinary peers.


Stimulate the creativity of actors

The art of directing is the creation of performance image/form.

Chen Liyang’s father/son/grandson three generations of gods/people; Wen Huiyin’s wattan wife/valkyrie/bird in the forest, Huang Shangquan’s enchantment/rhine goddess/Gu Quna, Hong Ding/wanderer/priest of Amelia, Chen Zhongshi’s Ebury/Hagen, Zheng Yuping’s Celine… I feel that the actor’s multi-role arrangement has turned pressure into motivation and stimulated strong creativity. The explosion of acting under this kind of directing and acting cooperation is admirable.

Another example is the arrangement of a violent scene: the decisive battle between Hong Ding and Simon. When the tension reached the critical point, the “camera” jumped directly to the process of the two being rescued/murdered on the bed. Omissions caused narrative breaks, but the tension and oppression of deliberate management made people breathless. The violent scene of slaying dragons was also performed in a dark field. After a round of strong sound effects, Chen Liyang pulled out a “dragon head”. The freehand design of the dragon head made the audience smile. This is a great tragedy, but comedy scenes appear from time to time. It’s the same for giants being killed and giants rolling out; the comedic technique is another “conventional technique” of Yongqi. This technique has achieved great results in this show. The calculated and accurate comedic content can relieve the heavy tragedy content, allowing 5 hours. The rhythm of the drama can be adjusted. Mimei delivered the baby to Celine and asked the audience to play the role of the doctor, and Gu Quna directly “attacked” the male audience. These arrangements are not just comedies, but also direct and intimate performances and exchanges. The director’s ambition and confidence are so powerful that it is convincing.


Inheritance and development of artistic creation

If there is anything to criticize about this play, we can say two things. The first is the design of connecting the gods with smartphones and tablets. This process can be established logically. Gods are created by man’s imagination, and man can use whatever he wants to use. But creation also has to be inherited and developed. In the past, the description of “communication” of the gods has been a thousand miles of sound transmission, thousands of miles of things, or direct aerial visualization, which can be obtained instantly. Compared with the aforementioned magical powers, the use of mobile phones by the gods in the play is not so clever. The second is that the goddess of destiny speaks English. Those who know the background of Cai Baozhu, who plays the role of the goddess of fate, can also understand the purpose (or difficulty) of the director’s arrangement. The joining of well-known English drama actors can certainly add points in marketing, but if it cannot be “organized” in artistic treatment, it will not help in art.

“The Ring of the Nibelungen” was performed at KLPAC One Theater from 12 to 14, 2018. At the same time, it competed for the 16th Torch Award and was shortlisted for 11 items. When the awards were announced the following year, he won four awards for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor. Looking at the audience on the day of the awards, no crew has won any awards that can match this drama. However, what is strange is that the crew of “Apocalyptic Youth” who participated in the same field took the most out of the “lightness” terms (only the best adapted screenplay). Good drama. The Drama Torch Award is different from the general awards. It is the best drama awarded to “The Last Youth”. It also left a mystery in the history of Malaysian Chinese drama in 2019, which will be “mysterious” in the research of future scholars.

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