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中国学生领略百老汇戏剧的魅力


 早在一千多年前,中国人就已开始热衷于京剧这一古老的戏剧形式。不过,在最近的三十年中,西方文化对中国带来了潜移默化的影响,百老汇音乐剧这一西方艺术也逐渐被越来越多的中国大众所接受和喜爱。

Elizabeth Barkas 是俄亥俄州土生土长的马西隆人,作为众多音乐剧迷中的一员,她已在中国的年轻群体中推广百老汇音乐剧。在过去四年中,Elizabeth Barkas 一直在北京市十一学校教授英语课程。从一年前开始,她终于有机会将自己对音乐剧的热情传递给她的学生们。

Elizabeth Barkas 回忆说:“去年,我们的音乐剧导演制定了《屋顶上的提琴手》(Fiddler on the Roof)的演出计划,并获得了来自学校方面的支持。老师们都十分兴奋,非常希望加入这一极富开创性意义的项目。”

然而,百老汇这一音乐剧形式对于中国学生而言是一个全新的概念,因此要顺利开展这一项目并非易事。其中最大的挑战就是中国观众对于《屋顶上的提琴手》(Fiddler on the Roof)的故事情节和所处背景几乎一无所知,在他们看来这是太过于西化的艺术。

Elizabeth Barkas 说:“我们希望能将这场音乐剧原汁原味地带到中国,不做任何折衷化的艺术处理。为了易于理解,我们特意制作了专门的观剧指南,用于讲解剧本中的某些词汇以及与音乐剧诞生地文化背景相关的内容。”

将音乐剧搬到其他国家的舞台,需要具备文化敏感性。在工业化生产流程中,音乐剧的海外投放业务通常包括对台词及歌词的翻译,因此究竟是否需要保留原剧的幽默元素或是吸收目标市场的流行文化,导演必须做出明智的选择。

比如,在迪士尼的经典影片《狮子王》中,小鸟沙祖(Zazu)总是唱着欢快但老套的歌曲。在百老汇音乐剧中,这首歌变成了一连串超长的单词(Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious);在澳大利亚,沙祖的歌曲被换成了袋鼠歌(Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport);在上海,这首歌则为国内某知名广告中的旋律;在德国,沙祖演唱的是动画片《海蒂》的主题曲。

虽然对观众文化差异的考量非常重要,但在今年四月份即将上演的舞台剧《美女与野兽》中,Elizabeth Barkas 和她的团队不会对原剧做很大改动,比如更换剧中的歌曲。舞台导演 Stephanie Anderson 表示,“我们会完整保留原剧的歌曲,避免因改动而带来不必要的失误。不过在某些场景中我们可能会考虑使用筷子。我们将通过舞台两侧的屏幕分享中文版剧本,以便于所有人欣赏。”


Chinese Students Get a Taste of Broadway

For more than a millennium, Chinese people have enjoyed one of the oldest dramatic art forms in the world: Chinese Opera. But Western influence has steadily crept in over the last three decades and Chinese people are slowly embracing a new performing art: Broadway musicals. 

Elizabeth Barkas, a native of Massillon, Ohio, is one of a few musical enthusiasts who has helped introduce Broadway to China’s young generation. She has been teaching English at Beijing National Day School for more than 4 years, anda year ago, she had the opportunity to share her passion for theatre with her students.

“Last year, our musical director came up with a plan to stage Fiddler on the Roof and pitched the idea to our school,” she recalled. “The local teachers were really excited and eager to be involved in such a ground breaking project.”

But because Broadway musicals are such a completely new concept for the students, getting the project off the ground was not easy.  One of the biggest challenges was that the story and the setting of Fiddler on the Roof were so foreign to Chinese audiences.

“We wanted to introduce this show to China without compromising the musical,” Barkas said. “To make it easier to understand, we included a guide in the program that explained some of the vocabulary from the script as well as some of the themes that were connected to that culture.”

Staging a musical for a foreign audience requires cultural sensitivity. On an industrial scale, the business of exporting musicals often involves translating the dialogue and lyrics into the local language, therefore directors must face tricky decisions when it comes to conveying humor or using pop-culture references.

In Disney’s “The Lion King,” for example, Zazu the bird is supposed to sing a cheerful but trite tune. But on Broadway, that song is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”; in Australia, it’s the country’s familiar “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport”; in Shanghai, it’s a famous Chinese ad jingle and in Germany, the bird sings the “Heidi” theme song.

Although considering the cultural background of your audience is important, Barkas and her crew won’t go as far as to change the lyrics of the songs in their next musical Beauty and the Beast, which is scheduled for April. Show director Stephanie Anderson said,” We’re not changing the script at all. We want to stay true to it and avoid potential cheese, but we may use chopsticks in certain scenes. And, of course, we’ll have translations on either side of the stage so everyone can enjoy it.”


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