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Taiwan Migrant Worker Theatre(2007-2020)
Taiwan migrant worker theatre,Southeast Asia foreign labor,Migrant worker policy of Taiwan,Representation of the Other,Strategies of communication,Social justice,The oppressed,
|Publication Year :||2020|
The number of legal and illegal migrant workers in Taiwan has reached 700,000, one-fortieth of Taiwan’s entire population, as recorded in 2019. The increasing number denotes that the manufacturing and social welfare industries of Taiwan have long relied on them. Nevertheless, the migrant workers have been suffered from various forms of oppression and marginalization launched by the general public.Witnessing numerous migrant workers becoming victims of precarious work environments, non-governmental organizations, such as TIWA and One Forty, have launched social movements to appeal equality and fair treatment. Among these organizations, the Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants try to diminish the prejudice from cultural perspective, setting up literature award to encourage literary productions of migrant worker.As more and more theater productions focused on migrant worker appeared in Taiwan in the recent 5 years, an interesting yet arguable phenomenon has emerged: the migrant worker characters that represented on stage mostly share similar positive personalities—kindhearted, diligent, and optimistic.While the attempt of Taiwanese theater practitioners of subverting the prejudice in mass media is understandable, the propagation of certain characterizations might risk further worsening the situation of migrant worker in Taiwan. Bearing this in mind, I observed and participated in the Taiwan Migrant Worker Theatre both as a researcher and a performer.
To build effective conversations between issues of Migrant Worker Theatre and the social background of the migrant worker in Taiwan, I articulated the histories of economic development in Southeast Asia countries, the process of legislation for foreign labor in Taiwan, the design of private broker system, and the stigmatization in mass media. I then tried to propose a possible way of viewing the history of the Migrant Worker Theatre in Taiwan. In the second chapter, I divided these works, including The Silent Left Hand(2007), Nostalgia(2009), Factory(2013), Finding Lucia(2017), Cry of the Poor(2017), Super Mommy(2017), Homecoming(2017), Qibla(2017), The Regret of Planet Miaoxui(2019), Guardians of the Earth(2019), Aladdin and the Four Fantasy Kingdoms(2019), and Floating(2020) into three categories according to their purposes of production, including autonomous production from troupe or individual artist, production launched by migrant worker related organizations, and the production outsourced by government. Through close reading of the text and the production of the plays, I define Migrant Worker Theatre as an activist gesture of communication. I have discovered that the common communication strategies used by the theater productions include: rewriting classic allusion, focusing on family relation, and emphasizing labor aspect. I analyzed how these works utilize these common strategies to build up connection between migrant worker characters and audience. Furthermore, I stressed on how the productions decontextualized migrant worker from the social backgrounds and thus transforming them into passive or unilateral characters. I argue that these theatrical strategies have deviated from their original purpose of empowering the minority.
In the chapter regarding the production part of Migrant Worker Theatre, beginning with a discussion on the limitation for migrant worker in participating theatrical activities in Taiwan, I outlined how Taiwanese theater practitioners achieve their goals of enhancing the interaction between different racial communities. Beside, by employing the examples of cross-cultural theatre, I point out that the representation of minority group characters might lead to cultural hegemony and further exploit migrant workers. In conclusion, I underlined that the Taiwan Migrant Worker Theatre is an inseparable and significant part of the Taiwanese theatre as it demonstrates how theatre reflects and interacts with society and broadens the possibility and content of Taiwanese theatre.
|Appears in Collections:||戲劇學系|
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