Training for transcendence
The life of Liu Ruo-yu (劉若瑀), founder and artistic director of U-Theatre, took on a different path in 1993 when she met Huang Chih-chun (黃誌群), a stage actor, composer, and drumming choreographer. For over two decades, they have been complementing partners in theater production and personal pursuits.
Before Huang joined U-Theatre, Liu had been exploring the philosophy she acquired from Jerzy Grotowski, which is to use one’s ethnic roots and cultural background as a source of personal strength instead of only applying such heritage to theatrical performances. However, the philosophy was not put into practice until she met Huang.
Huang, who learned meditation and overhauled his attitude toward life after taking a trip to India, was introduced to Liu by a mutual friend in 1993. He inspired Liu to discover a way to become a true performer and has since taken up an influential role in the development of U-Theatre.
The philosophy they jointly believe is that meditation can bring peace of mind and develop inner awareness. Once a performer acquires the ability to understand and control his or her inner senses, that performer can use an inner power to better interpret emotions in public performances.
In addition, U-Theatre practice “Vipassana,” an ancient technique of meditation from India, in which troupe members train their abilities of inner awareness and find a balance between the mind and body.
Following the rule of “meditation first, drumming later,” troupe members spend most of their time meditating at U-Theatre’s mountain base in attempt to reach the state of “playing drums with the depth of their mind.” Thus, U-Theatre has gradually transformed into a troupe that combines drums, meditation, and martial arts in its performances ... (read more)
Liu and Huang have created numerous works together for U-Theatre. “Beyond Time (時間之外),” for example, is based on the philosophy of meditation. The production explores the past, present, and future time, in which the aim is to find the balance between solid and void. Only the highest state of a thought-free condition can be considered beyond the influence of time.
In addition, Liu and Huang have introduced meditation and theater to a prison in Changhua City, where they hold workshops to coach youth inmates to practice meditation and play drums as a way of rehabilitation. The workshops brings hope to these juveniles, and several have joined the troupe upon their release from prison ... (read more)
Theater Director Liu Ruo-yu
For Liu and Huang, creation and performance are inseparable from self cultivation. Apart from working with U-Theatre, they are also learning tai chi to train themselves physically and mentally on a ceaseless journey of self-exploration and self-transformation through meditation ... (read more)