“Male dormitory”
A production by Godot ArtAssociation(Macau).

Script & Directing Harry Ng
Scenography Yi-Ju Chou
Light Sofia Ung
Costume Wen-Liang Chen
Performing Chi-Wai Ng & Deja Zhang & Kai-Wan Zhong & Ip-Cheong Tam & Yao-Ting Su
Sound Wen-Qi Liu

Premiere 28.08.2017. Taipei Fringe Festival
Polymer, Taipei.

photo credit Wei-Zong Yang

This play is a popular comedy. The script takes place in a college dormitory in Taiwan with four characters from Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong and China respectively. They are designed to be stock characters on purpose. The story features a series of confrontations incited by the commitments made by the young men out of loyalty to their friendship. Obscured in the play, politics, youth and the mischief of pun-intended language can be sensed.

Realism is crucial to this play since the dormitory life is a common life experience for Taiwanese audience. The realistic scenes can help them sink into the ups and downs of the plot faster. This realism is carried out using three main emphasis: firstly, there are everyday objects that are commonly seen in a male dorm room, such as the standard bunk beds, dirty laundry, clothesline, big bags of trash, cardboard boxes sent by mothers from back home, a basketball, and suitcases.

Secondly, there are the personalities and aesthetics of each stock character as well as different lifestyles established under the context of different nationalities and economic backgrounds. For example, these traits can be seen from the rich Chinese boy’s posters of basketball stars and music festivals; the Taiwanese eSports otaku’s calendar, action figures, and bed sheets with a weird color combination; the Macau hipster’s indie CD posters, animal figure collection, and plants that are carefully taken care of; and the Hong Kong guy who is not only obsessed with but also has his wall full of photos of his girlfriend who studies in the UK, etc.

Last but not least, there are the hidden political implications. In general, this production is apolitical, but there are some mischiefs regarding politics hidden within. For example, in the play, Diaoyutai, an island territory that China, Taiwan, and Japan fights over, is a ridiculous toy that glows; the anti-nuclear power poster on the door; and the green and blue puzzle mat that resembles the land and sea of the Earth. For me, the most interesting thing of this designing process is how to create a space that carries the bizarre beauty that is common to Taiwanese dorms.