The Future Road

Passing On the Torch of Heritage that Will Never Go Out

The Road gets longer as one walks it. Straining one's eyes to look ahead, the end cannot be seen.

The Road of Art is even more unending. Ceaseless effort and renewed effort. Endless pioneering and pioneering. And that Road always seems very long, very far.

Ya Yin is 18 years old. Kuo Hsiao-chuang has given her youth as a young girl, her entire ardent heart, eventually opening up a new road for traditional Chinese opera, winning the recognition and applause of the public at large. Later new opera troupes and new productions, even new drama forms and new experiments, are all deeply under the influence of Ya Yin, treading the new road opened up, with much hard work by pioneers before them, and marching forward. As the soul of the innovative school of Chinese opera art, and also the pioneer for the modernization of Chinese opera, Ya Yin has broadcast her innovative seeds far and wide to the opposite shore.

The road that Ya Yin still has to walk is long. The things she needs to do for Chinese opera art are still many. She will never think that what has been done in the past is enough. Kuo Hsiao-chuang still feels that the burden on her shoulder is not light. She still feels a duty toward Chinese opera, toward society, and toward culture.

The footsteps of the 21st Century draw near. Ya Yin must reflect on the future. She must open another path at the time the new millennium arrives. Ya Yin has her plans about the future. Her plans are divided into 2 parts.

The first part is performing. It is a large scale production plan. Working under the general direction of "international outlook", Ya Yin's productions will have international objectives, not just global tours, but shows on international modern stages. She wants to combine the special character of conventional Peking opera with modern technology to introduce in a complete way to audiences all over the world, and promote traditional Chinese culture.

Working toward this goal, Kuo Hsiao-chuang will soon start another new study program. She wishes to prepare herself first, then concentrate her mind and effort, her wisdom as well, to start a construction project on the new path. In fact, this is the path that Chinese cultural development must take. When China is richer and more powerful, Chinese culture will naturally move toward internationalization. It is only that Kuo Hsiao-chuang is a forerunner with a true character and sentiments. She cannot forget producing Peking opera at old Broadway. This is a dream, an ideal, and a goal that can be reached by running hard. This concept of Ya Yin's for the future builds another new road for the innovation of Peking opera.

The second part is education. Kuo Hsiao-chuang has a strong interest in teaching. Since graduating from the University of Chinese Culture, she has stayed on as lecturer, and has taught at many universities. Over the years, she has often been invited to give talks at institutions of higher learning. Ya Yin has organized activities of everybody singing Chinese opera together, and also youth study camp, teaching young people to sing Chinese opera. Originally, Kuo Hsiao-chuang had applied to the Ministry of Education for the plan of starting the Ya Yin Experimental Opera School. Later, because of being busy with Ya Yin's shows, she has not put it into practice.

On the road to the future, she has plans for setting up an Art Institute overseas. This is her wish. This Institute will have disciplines and departments in literature, dance, Chinese painting and drama. There will also be a research center on Chinese opera. Though aimed at overseas Chinese younger generations as target students, young people with a love for culture and art on both shores of the Strait are also included. Her aim is to make overseas Chinese know more about Chinese culture, and enable talents in culture and art to take roots. As for the research center, it will make use of the quiet and simple environment overseas, gather Peking opera talents from both Shores to engage in academic research work, thus enabling the development and thriving of Chinese opera. At the same time, Kuo Hsiao-chuang also makes preparations for setting up a Chinese Opera Foundation, mainly offering scholarship and financial aid in teaching. Her plan is to set up several scholarships in Peking opera schools in Taipei, Peking, Honan and Shanghai. Qualified applicants will be given scholarships. Also, research in teaching awards will be established for outstanding opera teachers, in order to encourage industrious students and honor conscientious teachers. This will be of benefit to nurturing Chinese opera talents, and a token offered by Kuo Hsiao-chuang.

The road gets longer as one walks along. One must pass on the relay baton from one to the next. This is the important meaning of life. From creative performance, to future education enterprise, Kuo Hsiao-chuang also has this meaning of passing on the torch of experience and ideals. This is a proper road.

In the future of the future, we will see Ya Yin disciples emerging from the Ya Yin Institute of Art, and those who have received Ya Yin Scholarships. They tread step by step along the road opened up by Kuo Hsiao-chuang to spread her gospel, to redevelop and expand the innovative work for Chinese opera art, together bringing Chinese opera on the international stage.

One day, Broadway will have a run of our "Matchmaker Red Maid", "Liang Shan-po and Chu Ying-tai", "Peacock Gall Bladder", "Autumn Night Rain", etc. LíŽOpera in Paris will stage our "The White Snake and Hsu Hsien", "Tragedy of the Red Ribbon", "Wang Kuei Jilting Kuei- ying". This is not a dream! This is not a dream! Ya Yin has this wish. Ya Yin's disciples will make it a reality, will certainly make it a reality.

The road is long. Straining oneíŽs eyes, even though the end cannot be seen, one can nevertheless see its longer and longer blazing trail of brightness. That brightness is a hope, an energy. Because of this hope and energy, Ya Yin has been walking for 18 years. And beautiful Kuo Hsiao-chuang has already walked half her life, and is still full of hope, still full of energy.

 

Cold winter at the end of 1997 in New Jersey.