August 10, 2018
The Delusion of Home (家) by contemporary theatre group, Our Theatre (阮劇團) from Chiayi in southern Taiwan is a documentary-style theatrical look at contemporary life in the poor rural south of the island. It is occasionally difficult but is always involving piece of multimedia theatre. I guarantee that you will come away not only informed, but affected and thinking greatly and what you have seen and heard.
The work was inspired by Chuang I-Tseng’s (莊益增) photographic project of the same title, in which he photographed derelict and run down homes and spaces of all descriptions, including those inhabited by the dead.
Directed by Wang Zhao-qian (汪兆謙), the docu-play takes a sometimes rather poignant look at social issues including foreign marriage and the moving away of young people as they seek a better life in the cities of the north. Photographs and film clips are used to specifically link together lives and everyday experiences in the small fishing port of Dongshih.
The images of deserted architectures along the city’s riverside and seashore are weaved with the text and the acting, to present how humans build their homes in different shapes and styles and how, and how they look anxiously for a home, or how they look for a home in vain, even after death.
At the heart of The Delusion of Home is a deeply sincere, touching performance from Yu Pen-chieh (余品潔) as an oyster farmer. We hear of hardships, of how young people no longer want to work in the industry, that people now buy oysters from overseas. She draws back the curtain on life in a truly heartfelt and honest way as she reflects with some sadness on how things now are. As she muses on life’s ups and especially downs, and the tedium of her work, you feel like she is speaking directly to you. It’s a skill seen rarely on the Fringe, certainly to this level. It’s not all darkness, there is some light relief as she talks about her dancing.
I understand the homeless, King Lear figure’s importance was ramped up for Edinburgh. It just feels unnecessary (and most British theatregoers would not be familiar with the Shakespeare anyway). And, after all, the themes of exile and migration, poverty and homelessness, life and death, are universal. I walked away deeply moved.
The Delusion of Home by Our Theatre is at Summerhall to August 26. Visit tickets.edfringe.com for details and tickets.