[中][ENG] 用減法,尋找自己的語言——一場關於燈光與身體的對談

Subtracting light to find your own language — A dialogue on the relationship between lighting and the body in dance performances


文:莫兆忠


九十年代剛參與劇場的時候,澳門表演藝術仍處於業餘性質,劇場分工並不明顯,導演常兼任燈光、佈景設計及舞台監督。隨著劇場愈來愈重視原創及專、職業化轉向,劇場設計才回到由專人負責,但燈光設計的概念卻又從何而來?近十年來,一批年青學子到香港、台灣等地修讀劇場技術、設計專業回澳,整個表演藝術生態、美學的追尋又呈現了另一種面貌,燈光、表演之間的關係又如何並行、對話?

從「平衡」到「想像」


八十年代開始習舞的盧頌寧(下稱小寧)提到,燈光與舞蹈的關係一定在台上,但舞者總是在排練室的時間比在台上的長很多,而那時代可以讓學生上台的機會有限,一年大概只有一到兩次。一到台上,馬上就要適應很多事情,例如「燈光」,「第一次意識到燈光與身體的關係一定是平衡。」小寧說。燈光進入,觀眾席消失,意味著方向、空間感的改變,舞者要用最快的速度,記憶前後左右空間距離,那時舞台地板上不會有「mark」,但上台綵排的時間極短,所有判斷與記憶,就只能靠經驗(包括每一次的失誤、被罵)累積下的身體敏感度。以當時來說,所謂「燈光設計」主要都是「copy」。由於那年頭澳門較少原創舞蹈,很多舞蹈教師將內地舞團的演出錄像作為「藍本」,學生跟著跳,上台時就按場地有限的條件模仿錄像中的燈光設計,由舞蹈教師著技術人員去執行。至於當時燈光與舞蹈表演最深刻的記憶,小寧提到一支由澳門濠江中學演出,名為《海燕》(劉英編導)的舞蹈,全男班舞者們穿一身緊身衣,下身全黑,上身全白,其中一個場面是燈暗,UV燈亮起,舞者身上只有白色部分感光,於是他們展開肩臂的動作與排列,真的像一群在空中飛行的海燕,年少時的她第一次看到燈光原來可以如此改變空間和身體,給人帶來更多想像。


1996年小寧到倫敦Laban Centre研習舞蹈及動作,當時因為窮,很少有機會看大劇院的演出,反而看了很多學校或社區裡的小作品,這些實驗作品令她最開眼界的是跨越了舞蹈、戲劇的邊界,甚至模糊了藝術與生活的界線,在燈光技術方面,因為小,創作人反而會用最少的資源做到最大的效果。2001年小寧在澳門城市藝穗節中發表了回澳後首個作品《九彩人生》,主辦單位安排了一個建造中的菜市場工地給她,沒有很充足的技術資源提供,她見技術人員手上只有些燈管,於是她就借了一片舞蹈排練室的大鏡子,一面牆放鏡子,一面牆放燈管,舞者就在兩者之間演出,舞者甚至會拿起燈管來舞動,「對我來說,那次的燈光可能是其中一件道具」。


那麼到底有沒有一種「舞蹈的燈光」?


小寧的舞蹈歷程成長於資源相對匱乏的八、九十年代,而現職燈光設計及舞台技術的杜國康(下稱K仔),剛開始接觸劇場時,澳門的表演藝術正從業餘走向專、職化發展,2010年他到國立臺北藝術大學修讀劇場設計專業,回澳後一直從事燈光設計、舞台技術及導演工作。對K仔來說,舞蹈的燈光主要是「畫面先決,燈光塑造一個畫面、空間讓表演者在當中演出,但那個畫面未必跟表演者有太強的接觸關係,相對只有少量的『戲劇性』畫面」。舞蹈的燈光主要是構成「大畫面」,戲劇演出的燈光則較重視戲劇性、劇情推進。不過當代劇場在類型上已不容易分別來看,K仔以他與我合作的《詞話人間》(莫兆忠導演,2021)為例,雖然是先有文本的演出,但在看排練時卻發現,導演的方向是先作空間規劃、動線,再用演員的獨白進入這些大畫面,所以即使不是「舞蹈」演出,有時也會像思考舞蹈作品的方向去做設計。

《題目待定》(2020)To be confirmed (2020)/攝 Photo:李佩禎 Pui Cheng Lei(照片由莫兆忠提供 Photo provided by Mok Sio-chong)


看見的或看不見的


「減去」,是小寧和K仔在談燈光與表演時都提及到的。燈光常常在舞台上被功能化地想像成照明,在表演的地方「增加」亮度。而事實上舞台上燈光的起點來自黑暗,而「減去」照亮的部分、把部分「暗去」正正也是一種燈光設計。小寧以K仔跟「足跡」合作的《題目待定》(薛美華導演,2020)和《長衫詞》(莫兆忠導演,2017)為例,燈光會讓她知道甚麼東西在那當下是被隱藏的,「我思考的其實主要是我想甚麼東西被看見,甚麼要看不見。」她更意識到「表演者退下去」的時候,即使是一個單人表演,但其實也是跟燈光及音樂在做對手戲,也要讓出空間給燈光、音樂去表演。她回憶去年自己演出的單人物件劇場《題目待定》,她綵排時就會常常要問,「現在燈光照到甚麼?沒照到甚麼?」這牽涉到她知道每個動作投射的力量,身體此時哪一個部分要加強投射力,哪些看不見的部分可放鬆一點,燈光的光暗、節奏,其實與表演者能量轉換有密切關係。而《長衫詞》是小寧任動作指導,演員梁建婷、黎若嵐主演的作品,講述一個南音師傅在唱一個女人的命運,K仔的設計以碎片、切割為主調,演員常常在演出中途因為燈光突變而只看到她的手、腳或手上拿著的物件(鞋、帽等),於是力量的投射便要從整個身體的演出,轉移到手上或手上的物件,如果習慣演話劇、以臉演戲的演員,由於物件、手勢變成了她的「表情」,有時會比較難即時作出調整。小寧想起年少時看過的舞作《雀之靈》(楊麗萍作品),舞者以手的剪影來呈現舞作中的「孔雀」,「動的只是手指,表演者如何將整個焦點放到手上,觀眾好像看到你整個人但他們的注意力只在那一部分。」


K仔也認同他自己去做設計時,會從減法的邏輯作思考。「即使是外國一些很注重大畫面、場面很乾淨的舞作,其實也是減去了會干擾畫面的燈光。」他很記得一開始在國立臺北藝術大學上課時老師說的話︰「燈光決定了觀眾如何看這個作品」。他認為不管是戲劇、舞蹈或任何類型的演出都好,最重要是找到自己的語言,「不能被那些雜亂無章、聽起來像真理的東西把你定調,最重要是不斷質疑自己『為甚麼我要這樣做』」。對他來說,先決條件不是到底這是否一個舞蹈或戲劇演出,而是自己有多理解這個作品。


訪談日期︰2022年7月20日,下午3:00至5:30


對談者︰


盧頌寧—澳門資深舞蹈工作者,近年主要從事表演、編舞、劇場動作設計,2001年創辦表演團體足跡Step Out。


杜國康—自由劇場工作者,主要以燈光設計為主。燈光設計作品涵括戲劇、舞蹈、音樂劇、歌劇等。


訪談詳細內容可在《評地》網站中收聽:https://reviews.macautheatre.org.mo/event/podcast/


《詞話人間》(2021)A Day In The Life (2021)/攝 Photo:鄭冬 Winter Chiang(照片由莫兆忠提供 Photo provided by Mok Sio-chong)



Subtracting light to find your own language — A dialogue on the relationship between lighting and the body in dance performances

Text: Mok Sio-chong

Translator: Tiffany Wong


When I first participated in theatrical productions in the 1990s, the performing arts scene in Macau was still largely amateur. There was no clear division of labour. The director was often also the lighting designer, the set designer, and the stage manager. As the theatre scene put more and more emphasis on originality and required more professionalism and expertise, theatrical design was increasingly done by trained personnel, but where did their lighting design concepts originate? In the past ten years, some young students have travelled to places like Hong Kong and Taiwan to study theatrical techniques and design and then come back to Macau, bringing big changes to the performance art ecosystem and aesthetics. How do lighting and performance work in parallel, and how do they form a dialogue?


From “Balance” to “Imagination”


Lou Chong-neng, who has been dancing since the 1980s, points out that lighting and dance form a relationship only when both happen onstage, but dancers spend much more of their time working in rehearsal rooms. When she began her career, students had limited opportunities to perform on stage, usually only once or twice per year. Once on stage, dancers must adapt to a lot of things, including 'lighting', “For the first time, I realised that the relationship between lighting and the body must be balanced”, says Lou. When the stage lights are turned on, the auditorium disappears, changing the direction and the sense of space. Dancers have to memorise the spatial distances around them as quickly as possible, as there aren’t any marks on the floor. Yet the time allowed for onstage rehearsals is very short, all judgements and memory must rely on the physical sensitivity accumulated through experience (including every mistake you make and every time you get scolded).


At that time, the so-called 'lighting designs' mainly consisted of just 'copying' from others. During those years, there weren’t many original dance works in Macau. Many dance teachers used videotaped performances of mainland China dance groups as 'blueprints' — students followed the movements in the videos, and when the piece was put on stage, they adapted the lighting design in the video according to the limitations of their performance venue — this was usually coordinated by the dance teacher and a technician. As her most unforgettable memory of lighting and dance performance, Lou recalls a piece by Hou Kong Middle School of Macau entitled Haiyan (Petrel) choreographed and directed by Liu Ying. The entire company of male dancers wore costume with the lower body in black and the upper body in white. In one scene the lights went down, then a UV light faded in, so only the white part of the dancers’ costumes showed up. The movements of their arms and the way they were grouped on stage really looked like a flock of petrels flying in the sky. This was the first time that the young Lou witnessed how lighting can change space and bodies to inspire people’s imagination.


In 1996, Lou travelled to London’s Laban Centre for Movement and Dance to study dance and movement. At that time, since she hadn’t got much money, she didn’t visit large theatres very often. Instead, she watched a lot of ​small scale school performances and community projects. What most surprised her was the way these experimental projects crossed the boundary between dance and drama, while some even blurred the line between art and life. For the lighting aspects, because they had very limited technical resources, the creators had learned to use minimum means to achieve maximum impact.

《九彩人生》(2001)Fruitful Life (2001)/影片截圖由莫兆忠提供 Still capture provuded by Mok Sui-chong


In 2001, Lou staged her first work after returning to Macau, Fruitful Life in Macau City Fringe Festival. Organisers arranged a wet market construction site for the performance and there wasn’t a lot of technical support, she saw all that the technicians had were a few light tubes. She borrowed a large mirror from a dance studio, placed it on one of the walls, and on the opposite wall she placed light tubes. The dancers performed between the two walls, and sometimes actually handled the light tubes as part of the choreography. “For me, the lighting in that piece was also effectively part of the props.”


So, is there such a thing as “dance lighting”?


Lou’s dance journey began in the 1980s and 1990s when resources were comparatively scarce. On the other hand, Du Guo-kang, who is currently a lighting designer and stage technician, began getting involved with theatre at a time when Macau’s performing arts scene went from amateur to professional. In 2010, he started studying Theatrical Design at Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA). After returning to Macau, he has worked as a lighting designer, stage technician and director. To Du, lighting in dance usually works this way: “The lighting creates an image, a space for performers to perform in, but that image might not form a strong physical connection with the performers, and there would be only a few ‘dramatic’ scenes.” Lighting in dance is mainly used to create “the big picture”, while lighting in drama is focused on helping to advance the plot.


Yet today it has become hard to distinguish between these different genres. Du used our collaboration A Day In The Life (which I directed) in 2021, as an example. Although the work was based on a text, during rehearsals, he noted that as director I started by designing the space, blocking, then putting actors into the scene with their monologues. Even though it was not a dance performance, the approach of creating a dance work could still be applied.


The visible and the invisible


“Subtraction” is something Lou and Du both mentioned when talking about lighting and performance. Lighting on stage is often reduced to mere illumination, to make the performance space brighter. In fact, stage lighting starts from darkness; “subtracting” from what is illuminated or “dimming” some parts is part of creating a lighting design. For example, in Du’s collaborative works with Lou’s group Step Out, To be confirmed (Hsueh Mei-hua, 2020) and Canção de Cheong-Sam (Mok Sio-chong, 2017), the lighting let Lou know what needed to be hidden at each moment, “I think about what I want to be seen and what I want to be hidden.” She also feels that, when the performers leave the stage, even if it’s a solo performance, the lighting and the music still need to interact as part of the performance. She recalls how, during rehearsals for her solo show To be confirmed last year, she often asked, “What’s being lit now? What’s not in the lights?” This allowed her to decide how much effort to put into each of her movements, which body parts to put more power into, and which part was hidden from the audience so she could relax a bit.


Light and darkness and the rhythm on stage are in fact strongly related to the energy conversion of the performers. In Canção de Cheong-Sam, Lou took the role of movement coach, and the performance was led by actors Leong Kin Teng and Elisabela Larrea. The storyline follows a naamyam (Cantonese narrative singing) master singing about a woman’s fate. Fragmentation and segmentation are the main themes in Du’s design — the audience often only see the actors’ arms, legs, or an object they are holding (shoes, hats and so on) due to sudden changes in lighting. Therefore, the energy needs to be transferred from a performance focusing on the performer’s whole body to only their hands or objects held in their hands.

區均祥粵劇曲藝社有份參演的足跡製作《長衫詞》Associação de Ópera Chinesa Au Kuan Cheong in Canção de Cheong-Sam by Step Out/攝 Photo:鄭冬 Winter Chiang(照片由莫兆忠提供 Photo provided by Mok Sio-chong)


For drama actors, or those who are used to expressing through their faces, sometimes it might be difficult to adjust to having their hands or the object they are holding take the place of ‘facial expressions’. Lou thinks of a dance work she saw when she was young, Que Zhi Ling (Spirit of the Birds) by Yang Liping, where dancers portrayed peacocks using the silhouettes of their hands, “The performers only moved their fingers, they put their entire focus on their hands, yet the audience seemed to see their whole body although they only focused on that one part.”


Du agrees that when he works on designs, he tends to use subtraction as his starting point. “Even in overseas dance works which focus on stunning images and minimal scenic designs, any lights that would interfere with the view will be subtracted.” He remembers a teacher’s words he heard when he first started studying at TNUA, “Lighting determines how the audience sees the work.” He thinks that no matter whether for drama, dance or performances of any genre, the most important thing is to find one’s own language. “Don’t be affected by random things that may sound like truth. You have to continuously ask yourself ‘Why do I do it like this?’.” To him, the key point is not if the work is dance or drama, but how well he understands the work.


Discussion date: 3-5:30pm, 20 July, 2022


Participants:

Lou Chong-neng — Experienced Macanese dancer, focusing on performing, choreographing and theatrical movement design in recent years. Founded the performing arts group Step Out in 2001.


Du Guo-kang — Freelance theatre practitioner, focusing on lighting design. His lighting design works include drama, dance, musicals, operas and more.


Discussion recording is available on Reviews:

https://reviews.macautheatre.org.mo/event/podcast/



==

莫兆忠 Mok Sio-chong

澳門劇場編導、評論人,《劇場.閱讀》季刊及《評地》網站主編。

Macanese theatre playwright and director, critic, Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly Performing Arts Forum and the website Reviews








300x250.jpg
0.gif