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1986 Pastorale

 Play Title 




8th June 1986


 Play Synopsis 

Pastorale(《田園生活》)concerns the lives of four families living in the sectioned-off apartments of one building.  The four families apartments are divided into the shape of the Chinese word for “field”.  Downstage left is the Gui(歸) family. Their oldest daughter, Mei-Chuan美川, is a student at Taipei First Girls’ High School and is actively involved in the environmental movement of 1986, the year in which the play takes place.  In the middle of the night, she goes out to pull down illegal visual and intellectual pollutants.  She also participates in sit-ins to protest river pollution, eventually being detained by the police.   The second Gui daughter, Mei-Yu美雲, is fascinated by scientific experimentation and Halley’s comet and actively explores the secrets of the universe.  The matriarch of the family, Grandmother Gui, spends all her time reminiscing about a chance encounter that led to a youthful love affair.  On the floor above the Gui family is a Mahjong(麻將) gambling parlor.  Recently, Ah Zhong(阿忠), a young man from the countryside town of Hualian(花蓮), has been very preoccupied.  The boss’ wife, Li Li(莉莉), is Sang Chen’s(陳桑) mistress.  At upstage left is the home of married couple Jie Song(宋潔) and Jing-Yu Shen沈靜宇.  Jie has recently become pregnant but is going to have an abortion and hopes that Jing-Yu can accompany her.  The neighbors begin to have contact with each other when a leak starts in the Gui home.  Sang Chen has a plumber come look at each apartment for the source of the leak, but the plumber cannot find where the leak is coming from.  After this, Ah Zhong’s condition starts to worsen.  When Sang Chen asks a Taoist(道士) priest to come say prays over Ah Zhong, they discover that he is being followed by a mysterious ghost.  The ghost reportedly used to live on the property in earlier times.  However, as the landscape of the ghost’s memory, with its traditional courtyard house, fields and gardens, hasn’t existed in ages, the ghost cannot find its home and so is angry and confused.  When the ghost tries to make the people in the gambling parlor leave, the Taoist priest banishes it.  News reports say that the unoccupied downstage left apartment is owned by the Wu (吳)family.  Zu-De Wu 吳祖德passed away some time ago.  Nancy and Helen, his two daughters that live abroad, return to the apartment to prepare it for sale.  Mr. Gui has finally bought the long-desired telescope his daughter Mei-Yu has been asking for, and they, along with the rest of the family, take it onto the balcony to watch Halley’s comet.  They invite the other neighbors to join them.  The only one left is old Grandmother Gui, who stays inside, recalling the affair of her youth.