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Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio Column: I Am Not Talking To Myself – Some Random Thoughts
The Art of Life
Text: Tang Shu-wing (English Translation: Li Yu-ching) / Renowned theatre director, actor, and educator. Artistic Director of Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio and former Dean of the School of Drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.


Recently I have been dreaming of taking a long vacation, doing and thinking nothing but going to a place that I’ve never been to, without a plan.  People of our age are too busy and are always occupied by the electronic media.  In the public, most of the people sink themselves onto the screen of their electronic devices and pay no attention to the surrounding.  Our brains are bombarded with information and there is no peace of mind. 

 
I think technology is really the culprit of many problems that we face today.  The internet becomes the place where we understand this world, the main channel of our communication, and even the source of “truth” to many people.  No use to lament.  There is no turning back.
 
The meaning of art today is mutating as a result of technological development.  I’m not talking about technology as the subject of artistic creation and appreciation, such as digital arts, but a kind of deeper and more self-reflective questioning. 
 
I attended an alumni reunion the other day in which I discussed about meditation with my old schoolmates.  One of them said that he started meditation in 2011 through which he managed to solve questions that haunted him for years.  He was greatly influenced and he decided an early retirement.  He then began to spend the weekdays in the Island District and go to the urban area during weekends only to visit his mother.  Put it in Bruce Lee’s wordings, my schoolmate is already an artist of life: to live without a form, where one can truly be free. 
 
Starting from this month, our company will launch the physical theatre training course for adults above 24 because I often receive such enquiry from various organisations.  Today I think the time is ripe for me to kick off this short course mainly composed of monologue, supported by voice and yoga training.  Monologue could direct to oneself or to an imaginary figure, like “god” or audience.  Such monologue is about self-narration, and “I” have to “do” something (including talking) to express my feeling of sense or emotion.  
 
Strictly speaking, monologue can’t be counted as drama training because there is no interaction with a counterpart, yet it is essential and basic.  Therefore, I attempt to use voice and yoga training to breakthrough “blindspots” of the body, the inertia of a certain established form of self-representation: a certain range of voice or a certain force field of the body.
 
You may say, everyone has his/her own preference. So what’s the problem?
 
It’s certain ok in daily life.  But if one takes life as art, it makes a great difference. Art is about “possibility”.  An artist’s work is to explore such possibility and make the imaginary a reality.  Reviewing our established image and looking for a change are considered as artistic behaviours.  Voice and body are the tools by which we sense and express.  Therefore, we have to revisit, to explore and to criticise them out of our daily context, so as to grasp them once again.
 
To put it bluntly, the adult course is about the art of life, serious as well as playful. 



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Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio Column: I Am Not Talking To Myself – Some Random Thoughts
The Art of Life
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