Newsletter No. 531

七岁从艺,初为电影童星,后踏上粤剧舞台,自此氍毹逐梦六十多载,除醉心演出,更以传承粤剧 艺术为己任,积极向学界推广粤剧。2018至19年度,俯允中大主讲通识课程「中国戏曲欣赏」。 Professor Yuen began his performing career at seven as a child film star. Later, he took on Cantonese opera and over the past 60-odd years has devoted himself to the art. A seasoned performer, he spares no effort in promoting Cantonese opera in the academic world. In 2018–19, he taught a CUHK general education course entitled ‘The Appreciation of Chinese Opera’. 为何答允中大讲授中国戏曲课程? 让学生认识戏曲是我数十年来的心愿,英国人都知道莎士 比亚,意大利的村妇亦对歌剧如数家珍,日本无人不知能 剧,虽然不普及,但起码通过家庭和学校,对自己国家的表 演艺术有所认识和尊重。为何我们的年轻一代会不认识中 国戏曲? 学生对粤剧哪些地方最感兴趣? 小学生定是服装和化妆,我会拿新事物吸引他们,例如告 诉他们把花旦的片子弄得贴贴服服的刨花是中国千年历史 的纯天然发胶。中学生分析力较高,抗拒和接受都比较强 烈,历史故事是很好的切入点。 这次在中大授课,如何设定内容? 原意是介绍戏曲的正规轮廓,包括一些现在看不到原貌的 传统戏曲特质,为学生建立欣赏的基础。我很高兴出席者 不都是戏迷,不是为捧场而来,而是真正会笔记提问。文化 艺术的培植需要时间,不是朝种树晚锯板。我不是要年轻 人明天就去买票看粤剧,只是希望他们认识这块广东文化 瑰宝。 粤剧在革新方面步伐如何? 小心别乱了步伐。戏曲的锣鼓音乐、台步舞蹈、唱做念打、 服饰舞台,紧密糅合成为一套完整的程式,割裂改动便会 乱套,便不是戏曲。话剧、西方歌剧可以革新其中一些元 素,罗密欧与朱丽叶穿了牛仔裤,仍可念莎剧的台词,唱他 们的咏叹调,但革新了戏曲的服装,那水袖如何耍起来?水 发如何甩起来? 丝毫也不能动? 可以赋予旧故事新生命,同是讲长平公主,唐涤生跟清代 的黄韵珊便对清廷有不同程度的鞭挞。《白蛇传》可以在 爱情故事之上突出社会控诉。我写《文姬归汉》,道尽蔡文 姬的无可奈何。所谓高台教化,就是呈现社会现象、人生困 境,引起观众共鸣,从而思索如何自处。 拜师学艺和学院训练两者比较如何? 师徒制是捆绑式,以前师徒同住,弟子服其劳,徒弟在师傅 教导别人的时候可以偷师,茶余酒后与同辈切磋,或向前辈 请益,也是从旁学习的机会。用心聆听揣摩,无论技艺或待 人处事,定必受用不已。可是一边拜师学习,一边上学校, 又会疲于奔命。 学院系统训练胜在循序渐进,条理分明。但是如果开办的 是大专课程,这个年龄学戏太迟了,只得两至四年学习,也 未足够。最好是成立包含文化课程的寄宿戏曲学校,艺术 的比例重一点,例如六年中学毕业后,文化科等同初中水 准。 七岁开始演艺生涯的你如何看「神童」的美号? 「神童」只是引诱观众入场的口号,不要自我迷恋,掉进 名气的陷阱里。小孩子只要一点儿漂亮功夫便容易博得称 赞,但如果不自我增值,长大了何以为继?在我之前的「神 童」,好多只是短暂辉灿便归于沉寂,我目睹观众对他们的 失望离弃,视为最大警惕。我十六岁拜师,还要是全行最凶 的老倌。就是因为自知不足,要跟随严师重新学起。 阮兆辉教授 Prof. Yuen Siu-fai Why did you agree to teach a course on Chinese operatic art at CUHK? It’s been my wish for decades to introduce students to the art of Chinese opera. Britain has Shakespeare, Italy its operas, Japan its Noh. They may be highbrow, but these arts are at least known and respected by most people in the countries. Why is it that our young people know so little about Chinese opera? What do students find interesting about Cantonese opera? Primary school pupils are always fascinated by the costumes and the make-up. They would be fascinated by my saying, for example, that the leading actress uses a natural substance discovered more than a thousand years ago to gel her hair. Secondary school students are of an impressionable age. It’s better to analyse and reason with them. Historical stories would be more effective. What were your considerations when designing the CUHK course? My intention was to give students a general understanding of traditional Chinese opera, including features no longer seen today, laying down for them the foundation for appreciating the art. I am glad to see that not all the students were Chinese opera fans; they were serious learners who took notes and posed questions. The cultivation of artistic appreciation is not something that can be achieved overnight: it takes time. I don’t expect young people to make a beeline for the box- office after the course, but I do hope they will learn to appreciate this piece of gem in Cantonese culture. How is Cantonese opera in innovating? Care and caution must be taken when introducing changes. The music, stage movements, dancing, singing, acting, recitation, martial art displays, costumes, stage setting, etc., all form an interlocking whole. Any change or deviation might turn it into something else. It’s relatively easier to innovate in drama and Western opera. Romeo and Juliet in jeans, for example, can still speak Shakespeare’s lines or sing Gounod’s arias without looking odd. But if the Cantonese opera players were dressed in modern outfits, how could they do the ‘willowy sleeves’ or the hair swinging? Does this mean that no change should be contemplated at all? Old stories can be endowed with new lives. For instance, Tang Ti-sheng’s Princess Changping is different from Huang Yunshan’s. Social criticism can be introduced into the love story of White Snake . I hope to convey a sense of inevitability in my Cai Wenji’s Return to Han Soil . The purpose is to lay before the audience the human predicament amidst social reality for them to reflect upon. How would you compare the traditional apprentice system with today’s college training? The traditional apprentice system means a very close tie between master and apprentice: they live under one roof, and the apprentice carries out all the chores for the master. The apprentice may take away something when seeing how his master taught others, or compare notes with his peers at leisure, or consult his seniors for instruction. He would benefit a lot, in both performance techniques and social skills. However, serving as an apprentice and going to school at the same time is very demanding. College training, on the other hand, is systematic and methodical. But I am afraid it may be too late to start the training at college level, not to mention that college is only two to four years. It is better to have a boarding school of opera with a six-year curriculum tilted towards Cantonese opera performance but at the same time offering grammar school subjects up to Secondary 3 level. You made your debut at the tender age of seven. How do you see the label of ‘child prodigy’? The label is only a marketing ploy and one should not be too serious about it. It’s easy for a kid to win applause with cute little tricks, but to sustain people’s interest one must keep improving as one grows up. I witnessed many so-called whiz kids before me whose star faded after just a very short stint. That was a wake-up call and reminded me of my inadequacy. That was why I started my apprenticeship to learn everything from scratch under a very strict master at the age of 16. S. Lo 08 # 5 3 1 | 1 9 . 0 1 . 2 0 1 9 口 谈 实 录 / V iva V oce

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