Parangalan, Chen Jiannian, Wu Hao’en, and the Nanwan Sisters Present Still, On The Road On Nov. 24-25 at the Outdoor Theater of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)
Still, On The Road, a large-scale musical adapted from the movie Kara-Orchestra (the movie was adapted from 2010 musical On The Road), was performed on Nov. 24 and 25 at the Outdoor Theater of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying). The 2010 musical, which featured a musical performance delivered by the National Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Chien Wenpin) and Taiwan Colors Music, introduced the Puyuma Tribe (a region that gave birth to many prominent male and female singers) and told the story of the musical journeys that these outstanding singers embarked on in the pursuit of music. After its premier, the musical was nominated for the Taishin Arts Award. Chien Wenpin, now the art director of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), invited his old production team to produce a new, improved version – Still, On The Road, to be performed outdoors. All visitors are welcome to come and celebrate this emotionally touching event.
On The Road, a musical with the Puyuma Tribe being the background, begins with the story of a symphony orchestra conductor visiting Taitung tribes in search of the sounds from his childhood memory. The musical touches on the subjects of tribes, ancient melodies of indigenous people, and outstanding tribal singers pursuing their music careers. The conductor’s search for his childhood sounds also uncovers the lives, wishes, and happy-go-lucky attitude of these indigenous people.
The Chinese name of the musical is based on a warm greeting between indigenous people, literally meaning “Hey, you haven’t given me a toast for a long time!” Chien explained that the act of giving a toast described here has nothing to do with alcohol, but rather the affection between people. Singer Wu Hao’en stated that “The key word in ‘Hey, you haven’t given me a toast for a long time!’ is ‘toast’ because it signifies the respect between people, which is a heartwarming feeling. By performing this musical once again, we want to bring back this feeling, a feeling that once touched everyone.”
For the opening season of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, the center decided to reproduce On The Road, inviting famous theater director-actor Shan Chengju to direct the musical and the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra to deliver the performance. The director played the role of a guide as he took the audience on a mesmerizing journey.
“My biggest challenge is to make adjustments to a very successful musical and make sure that the sequel outperforms the original,” remarked Shan, “I came up with the idea of covering the leading actor’s face and taking away all his lines. The goal is to let the audience imagine themselves as the leading actor. Please come to Weiwuying and enjoy this captivating performance.”
Still, On The Road featured an all-star cast of Parangalan (the father of Taiwanese folk songs), Chen Jiannian (Golden Melody Award winner), Wu Hao’en (a vocalist), the Nanwan Sisters (a group of singers from a tribe in eastern Taiwan), Wasir Chou (a model and actor), Yinguyu Yatauyungana (an explosive singer), Sien Vanessa (a famous gospel music singer), and Pan Yanru (a rookie singer). The performers, who had matured from the time when the original musical premiered, performed tribal ballads and classical music using their natural, beautiful voices at the Outdoor Theater of Weiwuying, inviting people who were once touched by the original musical to bring their families and friends to come see the musical once again and enjoy the touching voices of indigenous people.