Lupa, the Key to Open the Creative Maze
Art Exchange VOL.Art Exchange|by ZHANG Xiangyang Photo by DUAN Chao


Lupa and performers were in discussion of script

     At the beginning of the establishment of the MOFEI, Lupa led everyone to spend a lot of time studying works and the life of SHI Tiesheng, and then also spent much time reading the script to confirm the tone and temperament of the whole play. The picture shows Lupa and the performers' meeting to discuss the play creation.

Lupa's demostratio of the last scene of the second act - his appearance at Insect Abdomen

      Lupa visited the shooting site. The venue is more than 50 kilometers away from the crew, which requires them to start at 3 am. By 8:30, the film was closed because it was basically no longer available. After returning to the theater, it shall start the rehearsal at 10:00. 

     Background change of final scene of the second MOFEI, Lupa demonstrated by himself. He stressed that moving the bed should be smooth and slow like a ship sailing on the sea.

  Krystian Lupa, together with Grotowski and Kantor, is considered one of the three giants of Polish drama in the 20th century. He has won the Austrian Cross Merit Medal, the Ordre des Artset etdes Lettres of the French Ministry of Culture, the European Theatre Prize and other honors. Lupa's Logging Wood and Heroes Square were staged in Tianjin and Beijing as the greatest drama of LIN Zhaohua's Theatre Art Festival, creating a new record for the audiences to "spend the whole night" to watch the opera. With the end of the Tianjin LIN Zhaohua Theatre Art Festival, Lupa's MOFEI has gradually become a "miracle" amongst audiences. Thanks to the invitation of the Beijing Artists management Corporation's Second Laoshe Theatre Festival, it was re-staged, which compensated this regret for Beijing people. The reveal of the genuine content of MOFEI , without any suspense, has created the "2nd heat" amongst higheducated groups.

  The drama MOFEI, presented by Propel Media, was adapted from SHI Tiesheng's work "The Imagination of a Drama with a Film as Stage Background". It coincides with the aesthetic thoughts, creative ideas of the Polish director Lupa and Chinese stage spirit, creating a wonderful combination of imagery and psychological time and space, reflecting the respect and return of contemporary theater to the ontology of drama literature. Back in 2017, he rehearsed at the Tianjin Grand Theatre, and once again people are stunned by the great master's outstanding skills in the field of psychology.
  Stunning Rehearsal
  Lupa has brought the European director's arrangement for drama: no script, he read more than 40,000-word novels and writers' documentaries. He also asked to translate SHI Tiesheng's Fate and Acacia into Polish; there was no precise rehearsal schedule, and the role was discussed face-to-face with translators and actors on a daily basis, and actors were asked to come up with their own life feelings to fill the role. Though the performance was imminent, Lupa calmly led the actors to walk through philosophy, psychology and art history... "Put all the ideas of the characters of alcoholic, YANG Hua, and mother into the suitcaese, then go for traveling." Lupa said.
  It is very difficult to rehearse Lupa's drama because of his strong and stubborn thoughts. The actors have to consume a lot of energy, which is exactly why the actors give up high revenuedrama for this uniqueness. The rehearsal cycle of MOFEI was more than half a year, and it was unexpectedly long, and the stage was most quiet like an operating room. All the cast members not only felt the sacredness of creation from this strictness to harsh discipline, but also Lupa's great respect and trust for the actors. He never urged or interrupted them, but gave them almost extravagant time and freedom, and the actors can immerse themselves in deep-conscious pursuits, without fear of the director's interference. Instead, they could perceive a type of mind power echoing and shining enlightenment.
  For the first time, I was allowed to enter the rehearsal field. The scene I saw was the actor who played role of Mofei, WANG Xuebing went into the house from the outside and fell into the bed, as he broke away from the control of the alien shape, and the rich layers of sentiment were stripped and diluted with time flow, causing people to lose the sense of time in reality. The sleeping YANG Hua sat up to comfort the drunken Mofei, but he was sweating and finally returned to reality. Later, WANG Xuebing concluded and said, "I only played the most crucial event when I was acting - just getting up. It sounds poetic, but it is actually very accurate. As the starting of a play, it let the audiences slowly enter into the life of Mofei. This scene actually only has one line, all other objects were helping me to perform. In fact, a person who keeps talking has been escaping the most important thing in the heart, the more important, the more you want escape and avoid, until everything is finished, the emotions will accumulate to a limit and suddenly collapse".
  Upon chatting with actors once, Lupa asked what the drunken state was like. WANG Xuebing said that his mind was confused at the time. When drinking to a certain extent, he became a god himself, and didn't know what he had said and become stuttering. It is because the things that the drunkards wanted to express rushed out totally, and the thought was in an explosive state, forming a state of incoherence. Lupa believed that if you can think about the psychological process of the drunkard, then it is a very good starting point for creation.
  MOFEI possesses a total of 13 acts. The duration of the first act is about 15 minutes. When first acquiring the script, WANG Xuebing felt that he could finish it in three minutes as there is no substantial content, which is roughly about an alcoholic who wakes up in the morning, and only talks with a rat and suddenly remembers his divorced wife YANG Hua. There are not a few words in total, so what are the additional ten minutes that come out? It just restores the real time.
  Lupa once asked WANG Xuebing about why Mofei started drinking. WANG Xuebing believed that to drink is to find love, only love can save him. If he could find love, he would not die. Drinking is a way to return to childhood for him. It is a key, like a magical shoe in a fairy tale, he can control everything with wine in hands. Perhaps SHI Tiesheng was also looking for such a key to open the secret of destiny, want to go back to the past days, control the situation and hook off the fate.
  In some scenes, the drunkard was in the wheelchair, while in others, he was not. The inside logic is very strange. Later, WANG Xuebing revealed that "Drinking makes 'Me' return to the past and allow 'Me' to have a dialogue with the child. This is 'My' own illusion. When thinking about it, I basically didn't need a wheelchair as the body existed in the imagination of the brain. The more drunk you are, the less 'I' need the wheelchair, and the more you can only be in a wheelchair when you are awake."
  The deepest impression Lupa left on Chinese actors is his superb talent. Lupa said that he often wrote down his own monologues, which is his way of thinking. He also hoped that the actors could write down these ideas before improvisation.
  After the actors entered the group, there was a long and boring story as everyone was squatting in the depths of self-memory, and the things that were deeply buried in the heart and never touched were re-excavated. The narration and questioning from Lupa have touched the deep heart of the performers, who were occupied by the memories he had dug out all the time, even thinking of insomnia... But after a long time, they were depressed for this way of finding the path with a low and confused mood. One day, Lupa took out his own play Insect Abdomen out of nowhere, and found the relationship between the characters in the Transformation and the external world, the philosophical foundation of the play. The performers were so delighted and completely impressed by the rich connotation of this imagination. The memory of the past was ignited and illuminated, and the implied meaning of the reincarnation allowed the performers to experience the sorrowful and heavy connotation of Lupa.
  European-style Distant Loneliness
  When he first came to work in the Chinese rehearsal field, Lupa felt that it was difficult to break through the barriers of cultural differences. However, after experiencing the creation of timprovised works one after another, he and the performers all cried, which were very intense emotional collisions and profound experiences. For most performers in China, this rehearsal was released from certain rigor and reins. Meanwhile, the rigor and discipline of Chinese performers have formed a very favorable combination in this situation. For him and the performers, they, through this cooperation, have completed an unexpected challenge and travel, and finally he became a very good friend of all the performers. 
  As early as in the interview of Logging Wood in Tianjin in 2016, Lupa proposed that his stage was a spiritual laboratory: a group of crazy people, taking their own life as an experimental way, take all risks to enter other people's cognitive behavior in order to understand the limitation of their lives. Performers are more favorable playing the role of more cognitive tools than psychiatrists—they can experience specific events over and over again, provoke and observe what happens to them, as if they are on the other side of themselves. In other words, the improvisation of performance is a mutual provocation against certain cognitive behaviors.
      The inner monologue fascinated by the performers is the flow of thought and imagination between the bodies, and it is also the flowing emotions we are trying to express. Producing a true inner monologue can be a performer's generators to a specific event path.
  In the master classes of Lupa around the world, he built the inner monologue as a way to let the performers establish the secret of the role in themselves. Literary works are only part of the given character itself. But this role goes far beyond the scope of participation in theatrical activities. This is a character, excluded in the length of the play, which requires the performers to discover after going through a long spiritual journey. Completing a great inner monologue is like a miracle of improvisation, making them more and more resemble a dreamer. Every such act is like a fantastic road. A full-fledged performer with comprehensive inner monologue is like a bomb filled with unknown elements, which may cause volcanic eruption. As a preparation for the deductive role and the path of the performers playing the role, this is the first platform for internal monologues.
  The second platform of inner monologue is the process of utilizing internal monologue as a physical, psychological and spiritual role in playing a character, meaning that without trelying on the content being taught, they try to mobilize an instruction themselves - I am getting up now, I open the window, endeavoring to open an internal monologue for each performance every time and using very personal ideas to open impersonal ideas and feelings. When a certain inner experience appears on the stage, the performer himself awakens, which is the best way to present improvised performances during the whole process. It is like a second different space in the character's inner monologue, an extraordinary performance tool.
  In interviewing Lupa, scholar WANG Yinjie acquired such expression from Lupa: "People need an open space. The happiness we collect is a bit like bees collecting honey from flowers. The bees of each flower must be treated separately. To collect nectar from pollen is not just a pretended action. If we don't use the secrets of the time that happened to us, the details that happened to us, we think it is a waste of time. If the performers play too fast, the audience will skip and not notice the details. After 10 minutes, things become so boring for the audience, because they don't know what actually happened." Lupa said
  "The theater must be more real than life, as it not only means illusion, but we also see in the theatre what we didn't see in life because life has disappeared. Life happens to us once, and it disappears at that moment before we knew it."
  SHI Tiesheng and Lupa met in The Imagination of a Drama with a Film as Stage Background. Although the two figures are not in the same field, they share a distant similarity. SHI Tiesheng had no hope of achieving the performance. However, he did not expect that, 11 years later, a Polish director walked into the altar of this wheelchaired chinese writer and made a perfect assignment even though God did not tolerate. Lupa wandered along the altar, the two lonely souls jointly discovered temples in the sunset with shadow of trees and whispers of wind, and made their secret dialogue that was exclusive to the altar.
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