Dennis Yueh-Yeh Li
UPCOMING TRAIN/STOPPED CLOCK/UNTITLED WAITING Artistic Statement
I have been thinking about writing this play for years since college. At first, I was inspired by Walter Benjamin’s idea about traveling—when you are traveling, sitting in the train heading for somewhere, you are positioned in nowhere as if you were abandoned, in limbo. Thinking about that, I started to wonder if this liminal space, this liminal movement really has a destination that we are heading for, or we will indefinitely trapped in this liminality. Then Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” came into my mind. This question of liminality thus became the question of existence, a question that has bothered me as always, from Taipei to New York. Sub/un-consciously, we regulate our quotidian life into mundanity—waking up at 8am, staying at work until 6pm, hanging out with family or friends on weekends. You might say you are creative at work, during your leisure time, or you might make more new friends, fall in love with different souls. There is always something new, something creative. Nevertheless, your life remains the same, and it is still a repetition.
When we interpret Godot as the salvation, or religiously, God, it seems we all give ourselves a possible end that. In this sense, time is linear, and we will eventually head for or end up somewhere. But, as you get to realize your repetitive quotidian body, you might really start to think if time is really linear, or would time actually be circular? If so, how is it possible for us to give ourselves a faint hope for the end, a solution to those unbearable in our repetition, in our quotidian body, and further, in the society we live in?
This is the question that I try to raise in “Upcoming Train/Stopped Clock/Untitled Waiting.” Different from a theatre play that tells a comedy, a melodrama, or a tragedy, “Upcoming Train/Stopped Clock/Untitled Waiting” is to give the audience an experience of the time in the liminal space, and to encourage the audience to reflect on their quotidian body, and perhaps, to stimulate a possible change in life, in the society.