:::Main content


What if we could choose whether we were born? Interview with WANG Yueh-chen, writer of Broken Doll the Musical

What if we could choose whether we were born? Interview with WANG Yueh-chen, writer of Broken Doll the Musical

by Anniel Hao

A lot of people may not know the script of FourFun Theatre's Broken Doll the Musical was inspired by a girl, WANG Shih-ting, and her younger brother, WANG Tien-yu. 

The sister-brother duo wanted to portray their life stories on stage at the Taipei Fringe Festival. As their consultant, WANG Yueh-chen had the chance to witness how the brother lives with Moebius syndrome, a condition in which the sixth and seventh cranial nerves do not function properly, causing the individual to be unable to make facial expressions. The musical was named The Poker Face Boy. From the name to the songs, the sister's heartache and care for her brother were readily apparent.

However, WANG saw more than that. She saw a tight family bond by watching how the two protagonists interacted and depended on each other in real life, so she proposed an overhaul of the piece with their entire family as the core and simplified the name to Poker Face. She explains, "It is not just the story of a diseased boy; it is also about the mother, who hides her feelings, the sister, who cannot be weak, and the father, who supports them all."

The core of the story, the disease, moved WANG, but so did the family members, who keep pressing forward and growing.

The Poker Face Boy won the Genuinely Fringe award at the 2015 Taipei Fringe Festival. Meanwhile, Poker Face, created by WANG's FourFun Theatre, has been performed repeatedly over the years. At Weiwuying in 2022, it will be showing under the new name of Broken Doll the Musical.

The name change was a drawn-out process that allowed WANG to become clearer on what she is trying to express. In the end, the boy's face is not the be-all and end-all of the piece.


"Incarnation Auction"—A Point-of-no-return Decision

In talking about the musical, WANG begins with a negative sentiment: "The biggest challenge to writing this piece was holding down feelings of resentment, which is something everyone has."

Just who is your family? Is it people with whom you have such a strong bond that you are unable to get away from even when you clearly hate them? What is it that makes us willing to stick by these people through thick and thin? These questions kept bothering WANG while she was writing the musical. But as an artist, she does not have to provide the answers; her work is merely a catalyst to cause people to think about these questions. It is a "Reincarnation Auction."

"When we encounter frustration in life because of the family we were born into, there is usually no one to blame, so we just blame the whole world." In writing the musical, the idea she wanted to communicate was this: "What if we could choose which family we were born into? Would we be more proactive in the face of life's difficulties?"

In other words, everything in life is a proactive choice. This is true for the mother, father, sister, and brother in the play. Based on their instinct, people bid on their incarnations into the world, and our births are a testimony to these choices. 

Though WANG has not provided answers, she has received a lot of feedback from the musical over the years, which includes gratitude for writing a story about illness but also a story about the family members who must take care of the sick person. This is why the musical’s name was changed to Broken Doll the Musical from its previous name (Poker Face): In addition to the label "poker face" possessing negative implications under the circumstances, the brother has already seen enough care and attention, and whether good or bad, it is accepted without question. Meanwhile, his caretakers give all they have to offer to keep their family from collapsing despite receiving no attention in return. Few people realized this aspect in the past.

"I've heard people say, 'Finally, someone has taken notice of the role of the sister (or mother).' When I hear that, I see the value in what I'm doing," WANG says.


 "Broken Doll"—So You've Wanted to Fix Me All Along

Looking back, one reason for the massive amount of resonance the audience has with the boy in the musical is WANG's candor. 

She remembers, "While first writing this play, I wanted the boy to be bullied. Those I was working with didn't like it so much and wanted me to change it. But after thinking about it, I insisted on keeping it. It is indeed an uncomfortable part, but it's a real part of that boy's life."

Insisting on keeping it was one thing, but after so many performances, she became unsure as to whether keeping it had been the "right" thing to do and whether it was creating a psychological burden for the audience. After much hesitation and struggle to make a decision about this honest part of the play, she again decided to leave it in.

Another similarly difficult aspect was the song "Broken Doll." WANG explains, "When I first wrote it, I didn't think it was very powerful, yet I'd always cry when I heard it during shows."

The song is about how the brother draws on the sister's doll's face to make it look like his and is then ridiculed for ruining the doll.

"The doll's broken!" the sister deliberately says.

"I'm not broken!" the brother yells.

Even though he has Moebius syndrome, he is still a child, so he fails to see he is "different" until other people tell him so.

Though the melody is warm, like a lullaby, the lyrics express the mother's shame, which becomes buried in her son's heart. When he sees how hard his father has worked to remedy his problem, he finally realizes that he is indeed "broken" in the eyes of others.

At the end of the song, the music is powerful as the son keeps saying, "I'm not broken." WANG's heart always breaks when she hears it.


Broken Doll The Musical: Portrait of a Family

Despite all that, the musical is by no means a tragedy.

It is indeed a tearjerker (of about 90 minutes long), though it also compels people to laugh at times. Perhaps this is a feature of WANG's creativity: scripts that bring tears but in a way that actually seems to ease the burden felt by the viewer.

This may very well be because she never has a clear, single protagonist.

It is true that the beginning of the musical inevitably revolves around the brother's condition, but WANG is quite clear of her intention in telling this story as designated in the opening: all the people in this family have "willingly chosen" to be born into it. She is writing about the whole family and their bond, not just the brother. She says with great certainty, "When this concept becomes clear, we must face everything together no matter what it is, bringing the family closer together instead of pushing it apart."

Since there is no designated protagonist, members of the audience are free to project their feelings on the character they choose and find a place of shelter that suits them in the musical.

Watching a play without a protagonist seems to allow people to feel a bit more at ease and believe that we do not need to try too hard to strive and scream, that we do not need to cling to a protagonist in order to see our own existence. (This might be an overly optimistic conjecture, but sometimes it is better to so idealistically believe.)

So, "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health," we stick together.

The audience will realize that this is not just a vow for a marriage but an entire family.



Learn More:

FourFun Theatre - Broken Doll the Musical


Close the window

Dear Member,
Good news! Weiwuying is now partnering with the National Symphony Orchestra to expand our exciting network of arts and culture. You are invited to become NSO members to enjoy all the benefits of the membership. Join early to explore all the advantages.

To find out more about the terms and conditions, please click here NSO members T&Cs Or visit the NSO's website

We look forward to your subscription.

Membership Terms of Service

Last updated on January. 2024

General Terms and Conditions

  • The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) (hereinafter referred to as the “Center”) provides membership services (hereinafter referred to as “Services”) pursuant to these general terms and conditions. By submitting this membership application or utilizing the Services, the applicant (hereinafter referred to as “Member”) is considered to have read, understood and consented to these general terms and conditions. The Center reserves the right to modify any of these general terms and conditions, and to announce these modifications on its official website without any additional notice to the member. It is suggested that the member regularly check the latest general terms and conditions. By continuing to use the services after modification(s) of these terms and conditions, the member confirms to have read, understood, and agreed to the modification(s). The member has the right to terminate utilization of Services in the event of disagreement with the modification(s).
  • The Center and member agree that any correspondence regarding the utilization of Services shall be made via print or electronic documents.
  • The Center establish membership mechanism in order to provide a complete service. We will collect, process and use of necessary personal information from the membership application. To protect this personal information, as well as the privacy and rights of the member, pursuant to Article 8 of the Personal Information Protection Act, The Center must inform the member of the following
    1. Purpose: The Center collects personal information for the Center and other units under the National Performing Arts Center to distribution promotional material, for development of contracts, agreement or relevant legal matters, ticket reservations and purchases, information services, consumer and customer service and management, research and analysis, online shopping and electronic commerce services, other business registered as scope of business or prescribed in the Articles of Incorporation.
    2. Category:
      C001 Personal Identifier: Name, address, phone number, email address, and occupation.
      C002 Financial Identifier: Credit card number, bank account information, etc.
      C003 Governmental Information Identifier: ID number, passport number,.
      C011 Personal Description: Date of Birth, sex, nationality;
      C036 Life style: The type of consumable products and services, and personal or family consumption model.
      C093 Financial transactions: Payment method, corresponding record.
      C102 Agreement or contract (such as trading, business, legal, or other contract ,etc.)
    3. Utilization period and territory: The Center may utilize relevant information from the date of collection and will stop when the member asks to terminate the Services or when the Center terminates rendering of Services. The Center will utilize information collected in Taiwan and in any country unless prohibited by the competent authority.
    4. Object and method: The member agrees to allow the collection, processing and use of any personal information deemed necessary by the Center. Personal information of the member will be utilized for the Center and the third-party appointed to handle business related matters (e.g. partner, logistics service provider) .
  • Rights of the member to personal information:
    The following rights may be exercised by the member with regard to his/her personal information:
    (1) Inquiry and request for review of personal information. (2) Request duplications of personal information (We will charge fees for copying). (3) Request to supplement or correct personal information. (4) Request to discontinue collection, processing, or use of personal information. (5) Request to delete personal information. If the member wish to exercise the above rights, the information can be found on the official website or contact the customer service of the Center (Tel: +886-7-262-6666; Email: service@npac-weiwuying.org) or take your valid ID to the service Center to apply in person.
  • The member acknowledges that he/she might not be able to complete the membership application process or utilize all of the Services rendered by the Center if any required personal information is not made available or if any information that is untrue, inaccurate to the Center.

Obligations of the Member

  • Each member is to adhere to the following when utilizing the Services:
    1. Provide correct and current personal information as requested in the application form. Application can not be submitted in the name of a third party. The Center reserves the rights to terminate the Services for anyone violating the regulation.
    2. Maintain and update personal information to keep it true, current, and complete, for the most optimal Services. Members agree that the Center will continue to provide various services based on the original registration information if it’s not updated in time. Members should be borne by themselves if it doesn’t benefit as a result.
    3. The Center, at its discretion, has the right to terminate or suspend a portion of or all Services to the member if false information is provided or if required information is not made available, without prior notice to the member.

Services Content and Promotional Information Distribution

  • The member agrees that, within the scope of the Services, the Center reserves the right to increase, modify, or terminate relevant content of Services pursuant to actual requirements of business without additional notice to the member.
  • The member agrees that the Center reserves the right to increase, modify, or terminate relevant activities pursuant to actual implementation status and agrees to provide notice to the member in a manner it deems reasonable.
  • The member agrees that the Center send information or promotional material by mail or email to the mailing address or email address provided in the membership application. The Center agrees to stop mailing or emailing such information or material after receiving proper notice from the member.

Termination and Suspension of Services

  • The Center agrees to reasonably maintain the Services, and reserves the right to terminate and shall not be liable for making indemnity Services in the following instances:
    1. Electronic equipment requires maintenance or reconstruction.
    2. An emergency breakdown of relevant electronic equipment.
    3. Telecommunications services normally provided to the Center are not available.
    4. Force majeure or any other unforeseen matter or factor outside of the Center’s control.

Membership Benefits

  • Those who present a valid membership card while purchasing tickets for programs organized by Weiwuying, official merchandise, or admission to other events shall receive membership discounts.
  • While purchasing tickets online, members with valid cards shall receive discounts upon entering their membership information. Only Weiwuying Unlimited members shall be eligible to receive one free ticket for each of any program organized by Weiwuying (excluding co-sponsored and co-organized programs as well as any other non-program events). The ticket must be booked 14 days before the date of the program and may only be used by the member. The seat assignment and ticket type shall be determined by Weiwuying and based on booking order.
  • The order forms for tickets for Weiwuying Unlimited members shall be issued at the latest on the day following the date (as designated on the official Weiwuying website) of the announcement of the program. An e-mail notification of seating assignment shall be provided at the latest on the day prior to the initiation of general ticket sales to a member who submits the ticket order form before the submission deadline (not applicable for ticket order forms submitted after the deadline). Once the notification is received, the member may claim the ticket with his/her card at the Service Center up to the day before the program. On the day of the program, the member may claim the ticket with his/her card at the performance hall ticket office one hour before the start of the program.
  • Weiwuying Unlimited members may purchase tickets on the online ticketing platform OPENTIX once general ticket sales have begun.
  • Rights of Paid Membership:
    1. Members are only valid for accessing exclusive events or special discounts on events organized by the Center. (excluding non-participating programs, official merchandise and activities. Subject to updates on our official site and on-site).
    2. There is no physical card for Weiwuying Unlimited e-CARD /Weiwuying Lifestyle e-CARD /Weiwuying Youth e-CARD from January1, 2024. Membership cards that were issued before December31, 2023 also feature the function of iPass card, please refer to iPass regulations on accounting, deducting, and depositing.
    3. Membership renewal
      1. Hero and Unlimited membership are exclusive and not available for renewal.
      2. Lifestyle members can enjoy a free renewal for a year with reward points. They can collect points during the valid membership period from spending on tickets for programs performed in the Center, in-store purchases, and in our gift shop. If unable to collect the required number of points, they may pay for membership renewal in person or online. We will inform you by email detailing your eligibility for free renewal 30 days before your membership expires. Once your payment has been processed, no refunds will be given.
      3. Youth members are automatically renewed each year for free (with no need to have your identity re-verified) until you are 24 years old. Accumulated reward points will be reset to zero upon the annual renewal or if your membership has been revoked. Once your Youth membership expires (on your 24 years old), it will be automatically renewed as a one-year Lifestyle membership if you have at least 1,000 reward points.
      4. Failure to complete renewal or new application before the valid period expires will result in cancellation of membership.
    4. Claiming tickets and receipts:
      1. You can receive discounts and collect points at the stores and restaurants in the Center on presentation of your membership card. In the event that you are not able to collect points for reasons such as applying for membership on the day, being unable to produce your membership card, or paying by mobile device, you can contact our customer service team in person within office hours or by email within 30 days (inclusive) of the transaction date.
      2. When purchasing program tickets on OPENTIX, a member must first create an OPENTIX account and add his/her Weiwuying membership card to the account in order to begin to accumulate reward points. For tickets to programs not organized by Weiwuying or tickets purchased through other ticketing systems or convenience stores, points from those purchases may be entered into the member’s membership account if the tickets were purchased during the period of validity of the current membership. The member may process the entry of these points in person at the Service Center during service hours or via e-mail.
    5. If the behavior or actions of a member threatens to damage the reputation of the Centre and/or violates membership terms and conditions, the Centre reserves the right to suspend membership until the matter is resolved. In serious cases membership may be terminated.
  • Updating Personal Profile
    1. Members may change or update their personal profile by logging in as a member on the Center’s official website or contact the customer service of the Center (Tel: +886-7-262-6666, Customer Service mail: service@npac-weiwuying.org). Members may also update their profile by visiting the Center’s customer service Center and presenting valid ID.
    2. If you wish to cancel your membership, you should contact our customer service desk in person with proof of ID for assistance.
  • Terminating Membership
    1. Membership is regarded as terminated when valid period expires; however, iPass function of the membership card will remain functional.
    2. If member wish to terminate membership prior to the end of membership period, please contact our customer service team in person for assistance. The annual membership fees are not refundable once the application has been successfully processed. We regret that you will not be able to receive membership benefits when membership ends, including but not limited to in-store purchases and tickets. You are also not entitled to claim points retroactively or request a replacement card.
    3. If member’s profile is fraudulently used by others or you have violated applicable laws, transaction security or the Membership Rules, the Center deems it necessary in order to protect the security of transaction, the Group, or a third party; the use of the member service will be terminated, and if necessary, the transaction will be refused, terminated or registration data will be deleted or removed. The Center will not liable for any damage that you may incur in connection with the Membership Service.
  • Other Notices:
    1. Membership application forms and other related documents submitted to the Center will not be returned. The Center reserves the right to accept or reject any membership application.
    2. The Center reserves the right to modify, terminate, or amend any membership benefit or discounts, as well as to activate and terminate memberships.
    3. The Center reserves the right to modify or revise its membership plan, and such modifications or revisions will be posted on its website.
  • Special Authorization
    1. For the supply of the service may from the website, goods and services (or gifts, etc.) may be necessary to supply through the delivery, logistics service provider. Member agrees and authorizes use of any personal information deemed necessary by the Center (e.g. recipient name, shipping address, phone number, etc.), Provided to delivery, goods or service providers to complete the supply, delivery and retrieval of the goods and services (or gifts, etc.).
    2. iPass Personal Information Terms and Notices:
      Members of the Center that were issued before December 31, 2023 also enjoys the services of iPass. To comply with regulations, when the Member applies for membership card, The Center shall provide iPass Corporation the Member’s personal information (name, ID No./Resident Certificate No., birthdate, nationality, telephone number, address, e-mail address), allowing iPass Corporation to collect, handle, and utilize within its business scope (electronic ticketing and payment). Adhering to Personal Information Protection Act, iPass Corporation has published all related notices on official website www.i-pass.com.tw. For any inquiries, please call service hotline +886-7-791-2000.