TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.