Artistic Director's Home
黃俊達 Ata Wong
綠葉劇團藝術總監及導演 Artistic Director of Théâtre de la Feuille
翻譯Translation: Tiffany Wong
Q&A by myself: What kind of existence does Théâtre de la Feuille bring?
The leaf (la Feuille) is the foil to the flower, dedicated to highlight the truth, goodness and beauty of humanity as flowers state. We, as storytellers, wish to wander between professional and non-career-oriented attitudes, persisting on keeping in close contact with real life, with part-time or regular non-theatrical jobs to keep our feet on the ground, to stay humble, to focus on the ‘flower’ itself. May our little ideas and worldviews be shown in different corners of the world, planting seeds in different places, making photosynthesis happen — building the interactive relationship between performers and audience from all over the world. By offering boundless imagination in theatrical and non-theatrical spaces, we reflect and pursue a better life.
The company is like an Indie Band
Most of our core members have their primary careers, working in areas irrelevant to theatre, beside taking part in the company’s regular trainings, field studies and creative processes. The company cultivates a relationship on creation between professional and non-professionalism, to stay close with real life instead of the mere artistic world. This allows all collaborating actors to have a deeper understanding of life, so as to present works with substance.
Perhaps of my studies in France, I was influenced by their culture, and so redefined my thoughts on theatre. Rather than becoming an actor, I wanted to be an arts practitioner. When I created my first work in Europe, I asked myself a few core questions: At the current time, what question do I want to ask myself? What question do I want to ask the audience? What is the most important thing in this time? What sort of questions could induce a deeper thought from both of us?
綠葉劇團演出《孤兒 2.0》Performance L’Orphelin 2.0 by Théâtre de la Feuille ；照片由黃俊達提供 Photo provided by Ata Wong
After returning to Hong Kong, I started looking for a group of fellow arts practitioners with shared beliefs and creative vocabularies, as well as high expectations toward themselves and people around them. In different workshops throughout these five years, I found partners who share these conditions and ideas. We trained together and explored the possibilities of storytelling, making use of physical theatre or physical acting and creative methodologies, figuring out the body as a tool to express and perform. Then, we discussed and came to consensus of the topic of our work. Other than just telling a tale, we endeavoured to deliver the tale within a tale; reminding ourselves to stay open-minded and live up to an equal position with our audience, so as to initiate the best atmosphere in theatre, and allow further imagination and thinking.
Why is body used as the main vocabulary in our creative work?
For any form of performance, our bodies are undoubtedly involved, unless being put in complete darkness with no vision. Even standing still on stage could mark the beginning of a performance. A comprehensive performance system effectively enables performers to acquire more creative tools or elements, to broaden the possibilities of their body’s qualities. These tools and elements turn into an inner motivation within the body, and the motivation becomes the space attracting audience’s imagination and reflections. In the training process, I often stress on control and extreme boundaries. They empower us to find the unknowns of our bodies, to escape from our body’s habits, to ditch our sense of security and to explore infinite possibilities. After such process is put into practice for all these years, taking body as vocabulary for creation empowers performers’ potential to showcase themselves, at the same time performing more appealingly, whereas eventually the audience resonates and feels towards the performance.
綠葉劇團演出《爸爸》Performance Papa by Théâtre de la Feuille ；照片由黃俊達提供 Photo provided by Ata Wong
What we faced during trainings, creating, and touring?
In the past five years, we have been to a lot of different places. Apart from experiencing various local cultures , the most important thing is that our work and our members grow in the process. Gaining experience is always more important than technique. One time when we were performing in Japan, the audience was in complete silence throughout our show; just as we thought the house might be empty, we were given a big applause at the curtain call, from which we learned that local audience there maintain absolute silence during a show, avoid distracting the performers . While the audience in the US was quite the opposite, reacting differently for almost every segment.
Since most of our members are regularly employed, our regular trainings are held in the early morning at 6-8am. Besides, half of our members live in Mainland China, therefore, we occasionally travel back and give intensive training; sometimes they might need to travel to Hong Kong. It is inevitable that we are often separated from our families.
Together we hope to stride and make a troupe in steps, grow and tell mesmerising tales. We look forward to bringing our stories further, traveling to many more places, anticipating the next decade.