Partners on and off stage
Prominent stage actor and playwright Wu Hsing-kuo (吳興國) began his lifelong partnership with contemporary choreographer Lin Hsiu-wei (林秀偉) when they were both learning contemporary dance in their 20s.
Wu and Lin had their first collaboration by coincidence in Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s “The Tale of the White Serpent (白蛇傳),” in which Lin played a minor female role and Wu took the leading male role. Since then, they began to forge a strong relationship as coworkers and as romantic partners.
In the late 1980s, Wu established Contemporary Legend Theater to revive Peking opera by integrating its elements into contemporary dance. Meanwhile, Lin established Tai Gu Tales Dance Theatre to develop contemporary dance with an eastern philosophy while serving as the administrative director for Contemporary Legend Theater.
In the beginning, Wu’s troupe was heavily criticized by several veteran Peking opera experts for its Peking operatic adaptation of western plays. The troupe was even suspended for two years as their works were not approved for public performances. However, Lin supported him through the hardships and together they overcame obstacles to continue pursuing his dream.
“The Life of Mandela (生之曼陀羅)” was the first production created and performed by Wu and Lin together in 1988. Taking inspiration from their own story, the work expresses the passion and contraction between the two individuals, and tells how two separate lives are intertwined together like two souls in one body.
In 2007, Lin brought her troupe to a halt in order to fully support Wu. During the hiatus, she produced works for Contemporary Legend Theatre, including “Kingdom of Desire (慾望城國),” “Hamlet (王子復仇記),” “King Lear (李爾在此),” “Medea (樓蘭女),” “The Oresteia (奧瑞斯提亞),” and “Waiting for Godot (等待果陀).”
Wu and Lin have both played an influential role in Taiwan’s contemporary dance scene. For over three decades, they devoted themselves to exploring and creating works that break the boundaries between eastern and western repertoires.
Off stage, although they have very distinct personalities, they have proven to be a formidable pair. Wu once said to Lin that he wants to be a tree in his next life, only for Lin to laugh and answer: “then I want to be the monkey on that tree and always hang onto you, leaving you with no peace.”
Theater actor, playwright, and director Wu Hsing-kuo has been compared to Laurence Olivier, one of Britain’s most remarkable stage actors. Wu believes that Chinese opera works adequately with Western adaptations and hopes to revitalize the traditional art form by appealing to younger audiences and bringing different parts of world together ... (read more)
Contemporary Legend Theatre
Contemporary Legend Theatre is a pioneering performance group in Taiwan that blends Peking opera with modern Western theater. Since their first Peking opera take on “Macbeth,” they have staged numerous adaptations of Shakespearean and ancient Greek tragedies around the world ... (read more)
Tai Gu Tales Dance Theatre
As the second generation of a family grounded in performance arts, their daughter Wu Tsai-lin learned to dance during childhood and joined her parents in several performances. She took up the position of troupe director at the age of 23, having spent a whole year preparing for the troupe’s comeback ... (read more)