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諸神之鄉 優人神鼓創辦人 劉若瑀|Land of the DivineFounder of U-Theatre: Ruo-Yu Liu

TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang

週六上午,大自然一如既往沐浴著老泉山,淅瀝瀝地落在枕木步道,忍不住潛心留意足下,卻驚喜發現腳旁的草木是那般飽滿朝氣。經雨露洗禮,我們在雲霧繚繞中邂逅身著白衣青袍的劉老師,即使隔著口罩仍能感受蔥蘢裡的芬芳氣息,草木扶疏所滋孕的安定能量,經年歲積累,悄然寄寓於山上劇場,「在這裡生活三十年,才感受到這個環境成為一個諸神之鄉。」

On a leisure Saturday morning, Mother Nature bathes Laoquan Mountain as usual, with rain drizzling on the trail and the grass and trees blooming with vitality. As we walk through the mist and haze, we finally meet the founder of U-Theatre, Mrs. Ruo-Yu Liu. Even through our face mask, we could still feel the aroma of nature and the nurturing energy of the environment. “After having lived here for thirty years, this place finally feels like a land of the divine.”

優人神鼓創辦人劉若瑀。
Founder of U-Theatre, Ruo-Yu Liu.

凡人皆是巫

山本身孕育了人,人跟大自然的力量加在一起,這個神的力量就出現了。睽違兩年,優人神鼓即將推出年度創作《諸神之鄉》,一切的創作脈絡皆是歷經步步演變,從一場森林大火至疫情肆虐,反而讓團員們覺得很久沒有照顧這座山,進而產生感恩之情,於隔年演出《祭天》紀念災後週年,為劉老師感謝天地的溫柔方式。

2021年,她望見團員穿戴面具排練與撒奇萊雅羅法思祭團的合作演出,「諸神之鄉」四字隨即浮上心頭,歷經人類風霜,卻依舊安靜單純的臉龐,猶如大自然最初始的生命力,深刻撼動了內心。「諸神之鄉的意義在於大自然本身與人安靜的心,它其實就是一個神的所在,每個人都有神的內在,如果去除了分別心、內在情緒與衝突,你的心靈就像巫一樣可以通天地。」淡然祥和中,自帶思索韻味。

目光回歸自身

回首過往,最讓劉老師難以忘懷的人生記憶是與丈夫黃誌群相識,連續打坐半年後,隻身一人前往印度的那場旅程。「打坐的深刻是生命裡第一次自己可以這樣坐下來,安靜的一個人,不是在生活裡相對應別人才存在,而是坐下來跟自己相處,這個經驗是活了那麼大而沒有的。」相比以往單獨旅行會感到害怕,她說因為禪坐,成為一個人最安心的狀態,也使眼前風景擁有了更深遠的意義,「不會覺得一個人走馬看花,而是每一個你所看的景物,都能跟自身產生連結,每一個經過都那麼深刻。」當目光回歸自身,同樣能將此道理套用於「自信」養成,劉老師笑答這是一個相當有趣的問題,她認為自信本就存於人的內在,或許是與他人比較,便產生有所求、有所要、有所得的思緒,相對得不到,自信即會減弱,「如何幫助一個人自信,就是先看見自己為什麼不自信,原因找到了,其實自信就在了。」

《諸神之鄉》劇照,攝影/陳懷恩。(優人神鼓提供)
Land of the Divine, photo by Chen Hwai-En. Courtesy of U-Theatre.

非想非非想

優人神鼓於去年開始集資《非想非非想》紀錄片拍攝計畫,不僅見證三十年來的轉折,更是台灣藝術文化史的重要片段。「紀錄優人神鼓的過程,是一個去了解生命可觸不可觸、可思不可思、可想又不可想的狀態。」當生存的思維已超脫堅持與執著,那個抓不著卻又真實存在的自我便是「非想非非想」之寓意。「其實也就是優人神鼓這麼長時間,透過黃老師帶來打坐之後,我們將表演藝術跟這件事的結合,想透過優的歷程,在這個紀錄片跟大家分享的主題—對生命的了解。」對於優人神鼓的期許,她冀望透過禪定的安謐能量,幫助大眾如何應對外在世界,於有生之年,將這樣的力量傳達給更多人,「在年輕團員們身上,他們也成為未來的傳遞者,我想這是我們對優人神鼓在未來永續發展上,唯一最大的期待。」溫柔中帶一絲堅定,彷若聽見陣陣鼓聲,磅 礡悠揚於萬物生生不息。

劉老師融入大自然中打坐,靜心觀看自我。
Mrs. Liu meditating in nature, a quiet self-reflection.

Divinity Rests in the Mind 

“The mountain itself nurtures humans. When the power of mankind and nature are combined, the power of God emerges.” After two years of preparation, U-Theatre is about to launch its latest performance “Land of the Divine.” From going through an unfortunate forest fire to the pandemic now, members of U-Theatre actually felt like they had not been taking good care of the mountain they’re living in. The performance “Conversation with Heaven” not only commemorated the anniversary of the disaster, but was also Mrs. Liu’s way of showing her gratitude towards the earth. In 2021, when she was overlooking her group’s rehearsal with Sakizaya Lubas Mapalaway Putiput, the name “Land of the Divine’ suddenly came to her. Even after so many unfortunate events, the faces of the members still remained calm and pure—a perfect representation of nature’s original vitality. “Land of the Divine calls to the origin of nature and the quietness of the human heart. It is like a place of God that resides in everyone. Once we eliminate our inner emotions and conflicts, our mind can reach the divine like sorcerers.”

Self-Reflection   

Looking back, Mrs. Liu’s most unforgettable memory is the one where she met her husband Chih-Chun Huang, who had introduced her to the art of meditation. After that, she went on a solo trip to India after six months of meditation. “The profoundness of meditation is that it’s the first time in life I get to sit down alone and be fully emerged in silence. We no longer exist because of others but only for ourselves. It was an unprecedented experience.” Reflecting on the self, I can’t help but wonder, what if we apply the same thinking to the curation of self-confidence? Mrs. Liu smiles and says that she believes confidence stems from within. Once we start to compare with others and generate desire and expectations, it actually hinders the growth of our confidence. “The way to help someone gain confidence is to first find the reason behind his or her lack of belief. Once we find it, that’s where the confidence is.”

《時間之外》劇照,攝影/張智銘。(優人神鼓提供)
Beyond Time, photo by Michael Chang. Courtesy of U-Theatre.

No No Thought 

Last year, U-Theatre began to raise funds for the making of their documentary “No No Thought,” a film that witnessed the group’s 30 year history and the important moments of Taiwan’s art and cultural past. “The process of documenting U-Theatre is a state of understanding that life is untouchable and unthinkable.” Once the thought of existence is free from humane insistence, the untouchable but authentic self is the meaning of “No No Thought.” “After such a long time, with the lead of Mr. Huang, we try to combine performing arts with meditation. Through our documentary we want to share our theme, the understanding of life.” When asked about the aspiration she holds for U-Theatre, Mrs. Liu aspires to help people face the world through the peaceful energy of meditation and to continue spreading this energy to the public in her lifetime. “My hope lies within our younger members because they are the messengers of our future. I think that is my biggest expectation for the sustainable development of U-Theatre.” With a gentle but persistent tone, her response echoes with the continuing drumming in the background, majestic and filled with a never-ending vitality. 

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