Monday, 24 October 2011

充滿驚喜的一夜

昨晚到沙田大會堂看衛駿輝、陳咏儀主演《帝女花》,十分愜意,頗有驚喜。

驚喜之一,是舞臺上有好幾張熟悉的臉孔,都曾在公主殿下麾下亮相。不過她們以前大都以丫鬟、舞蹈員身分演出,連話也不必多說;今次則人人都有個角色,有戲可演。例如盧麗斯演昭仁公主、譚綺文演維摩庵新住持,都很稱職。昭仁公主戲份不多,但盧麗斯絲毫不見鬆懈,暗場裡仍不乏表情、造手,感情投入,燙貼自然,值得表揚。

驚喜之二,是不少配角都很用心,非常亮眼;其中以飾演張千和王承恩者最為人激賞。王承恩只在〈香劫〉出現,而且口白很少,但她從頭到尾非常投入,宣召長平公主上殿之時,雙眉緊蹙,竟是一臉無奈與痛心,正好映襯長平公主在崇禎皇帝和宮中上下的地位。印象中沒見過這樣入戲的王承恩,竟如親歷其境一樣,真箇是一見難忘。

至於張千,她的小個子、長方臉、像卡通松鼠般的小哨牙,加上鼻樑上一小片白漆,扮相滑稽可愛,不用說話,憑誰見了就忍俊不禁。這位張千同樣演得用心、投入,掌握搞笑的節奏分毫不差,而且會與其他無名家丁稍作交流,正所謂「沒戲找戲做」,讓場景更活潑些,但又沒有搶去主角的鋒芒,值得一讚。例如在維摩庵被周鍾打了一記耳光,便哭喪著臉轉過身去向其他家丁無聲無息地「訴苦」;得知公主確實沒死之後,又得意洋洋地用拇指指向自己,彷彿在說:「你們看!這都是我的功勞呢!」然後又滿心歡喜鮮蹦活跳地向周鍾討賞錢。可惜沒有場刊,不知道兩位的芳名,但她們的心思、誠意和佳績,都是有目共睹的。

驚喜之三,是這場《帝女花》的曲詞完全按照「雛鳳鳴」2006年重演時的修改本,把原著的微瑕全部改正,也刪掉了一些無關宏旨的曲白,令劇情更緊湊流暢--儘管少了這幾句滾花,仍覺意難平:「對一載青燈和杏卷,到此方知劫後情。觀音懶得拾殘棋,孝女未應長養靜。」

驚喜之四,是燈光、布景等技術環節,也做到一絲不苟,可見臺前幕後的認真態度。例如〈香劫〉時崇禎得知曹化淳偷開彰義門,李自成率兵長驅直入,全場燈光倏地轉為紅色,儼然一片血光火海。可惜底景用了色彩斑斕的蟠龍浮雕圖案,效果未算十分顯著,反而不及十多年前在上環劇場用白色布幕作底景,全場忽地染紅的視覺震撼。〈樹盟〉、〈迎鳳〉、〈香夭〉等場,從全景亮燈漸次換成對準主角的白色射燈,都是配合劇情發展的,值得一讚。從〈上表〉到〈香夭〉的過場時刻,舞臺中央垂下一幅深灰色的簾幕,臺前則是一幅繫滿了柳絲和彩珠的珠簾,設計意念明顯來自五年前的《帝女花》,不過「雛鳳鳴」版本的垂簾沒有珠子,而是密密麻麻的深綠色長旒,在〈香夭〉開始時把舞臺隔開前後兩半,駙馬和公主再度出場時,幾乎把他們的樣子完全遮掩,要伸手撥開柳蔭探出頭來,不免有點滑稽相。這一次珠簾在過場時在臺前垂下,而且旒子距離較寬,身穿吉服的周世顯手執綵球,領著公主緩緩下場的表情和身段,都看得比較清楚。另外,他們採用暗燈換幕的手法,大幅縮短了換景的時間,讓整齣戲看來更覺一氣呵成、情緒連貫;完場時也不會太晚,只是十一點左右,無論對觀眾或演員,都是一件好事。

至於驚喜之最,莫過於衛駿輝飾演的周世顯,竟然非常符合自己多年來對駙馬爺的想像,滿心喜慰之情,實在難以形容。

已經忘記了,這些年來看過衛駿輝演多少次《帝女花》,無論在戲院還是鄉郊戲棚,她也從來不會故作兒女態取悅觀眾,深得我心。難得是這次更進一步,從〈樹盟〉的自信瀟灑,經歷〈香劫〉的悲喜跌宕、〈乞屍〉的徬徨無主、〈庵遇〉的鍥而不捨,即使唱著爛熟了的曲子、唸著同幾句口白,就是乾淨俐落,沒半點脂粉氣,活脫脫一位傲骨錚錚、才情並茂的駙馬爺。〈迎鳳〉時故意在公主面前說反話,以騙過周鍾、周瑞蘭和十二宮娥,暗場裡卻又擔心公主信以為真而受不了打擊,表情細膩獨到,令人擊節嘆賞。衛駿輝素來擅長武戲,身手不凡,〈上表〉的慷慨激昂文戲武做,自然難不到她;只可惜唱到長滾花最後一句「共舉齊眉案」,稍覺洩氣。下次或可嘗試用霸腔唱出,把高亢的情緒推至沸點再結束,以收「言有盡而意無窮」之效。

然後,到了〈香夭〉。

五年前拙文曾提出,〈香夭〉的周世顯,感情複雜、心態曲折、層次豐富,所以極難揣摩,遑論表達。自問看戲二十年,還沒有看到接近理想的演繹。

然而這一句,終於要改寫了。

這次〈香夭〉的周世顯,頗能兼顧「先國後家」的公義與私情,非常難得。繃緊的臉上總是帶著三分肅穆、三分悲戚、三分凜然,深得「江山悲災劫」之要旨。喝毒酒的時候,更沒有半分猶豫,甚麼跺腳嘆氣、偷眼往酒杯裡瞧的,全然沒有。但周世顯能令雍容大度、嬌矜自負的公主兩度傾心,又怎會是有勇無謀、不解溫柔的莽漢?「將柳蔭當做芙蓉帳」的時候,他從容地攙扶公主坐下、細心地為她放下鳳冠上的紅羅巾,絕不讓她操心,更不會讓她手忙腳亂,落人笑柄。「夜半挑燈有心作窺妝」的時候,燭影搖紅,四目交投,居然還能向公主報以一絲誠懇溫暖的笑容,彷彿是為了讓她安心,告訴她只有他是全心全意、義無反顧的愛護她,無論上窮碧落下黃泉,也會永遠伴著她、牽著她的手。

「寧甘粉身報皇封,不負蛾眉垂青眼」的諾言,多年來聽過無數遍;這一夜,總算真正的做到了。

表演藝術很虛緲,也很實在。某時某刻的表情、動作、歌唱或唸白,都可以震撼人心,一剎那便成就了永恆。可是那份震撼,卻看不見摸不著,只能活在記憶之中。多少年苦心孤詣、潛心修為,就是為了博取那一剎的永恆。看衛駿輝謝幕時激動難言的樣子,大概她也沒想過自己能突破到這個水平罷?希望她繼續努力,闖出屬於自己的一片天。

Monday, 17 October 2011

Say No to Communism and Capitalism. But What Next?

Today marks the one-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Quoting press reports, the Wikipedia said the protesters, who claim to be inspired by the Jasmine Revolution of Egypt and the Arab world earlier this year, "are protesting against social and economic inequality, corporate greed and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government, among other concerns."

First instigated by the chronic economic problems and financial crises in the United States and Europe, the Occupy Wall Street movement has now received tremendous support beyond national boundaries, with replicas in varying scales flaring up across the globe.

In Hong Kong, where the income gap is notoriously wide by international standards, the Occupy Central movement is long overdue rather than surprising. I must confess that I am pleased to see that something is being done to make the calls for social justice and reasonable distribution of wealth louder and clearer than it used to be.

Having said that, I'm not sure if the movement is heading towards the right direction. To make it long-term and sustainable and thus consequently achieve a real difference to our lives and those of our children, we need to strategise. We need to give some concrete, logical and well-thought arguments that would appeal to the people. We need to articulate these clearly and sensibly so that everyone would understand. In order to achieve all these, first of all, we need to think carefully what exactly we are against and what we are looking for.

From what I can see in the local news, the protesters in Hong Kong don't seem to know what they are doing. They don't even seem to know how to express themselves properly. What do they mean by "Say no to capitalism"? Can you believe that they are actually asking for reform instead of complete dismissal and revolution by chanting this slogan?

More than 160 years ago Karl Marx already knew all the horrendous problems of capitalism and thus proposed his prescription. Only until 1990 were we convinced that it wouldn't work. China, Russia and many other communist regimes have already changed course, with or without admitting upright. However, we must not forget that capitalism "survives" because it is better than communism but not the best system. Far from it. Whether capitalism is the only viable option is also highly disputable. Therefore I believe if the protesters are serious about what they are doing, they have to think hard and come up with some sort of proposals. It can be a new type of ideology, only if they were intellectually capable; or pragmatic stuff such as a detailed programme of social and economic reform. Only in this way would the protesters be seen as constructive stakeholders for common good rather than troublemakers who promote nothing but destruction. Only until then would they be taken seriously by the rich and powerful and those who are watching on with their arms folded.

Before closing, just wanna share an editorial of Headline Daily today, which is certainly worth considering not only for the corporate monsters and government leaders, but everyone of us.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Shame on Us

Once again, Sir Donald Tsang's presence at the Legislative Council question and answer session for his last policy address on Thursday ended up as a farce.

Legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man's assault was by all means predictable and quite expected. Yet Sir Donald's response was regrettably clumsy and stupid.

Those who understand Cantonese or Chinese (refer to the subtitles), please check it out yourself on Youtube here:

Over all these years since Sir Donald took office as chief executive of Hong Kong, he never really seems to be able to maintain his composure, if any awareness or serious attempt to do so.

As a result, he fell prey again and again to those legislators who took advantage of clangers and misbehaviour of senior officials. Understandably, one can hardly resist the temptation to defend and rebuke. But this is exactly where the trick of the vicious cycle sets in: The more you blame your rivals without reflecting on your own attitude and thus crafting your response, the harder they attack on you and the more you hate them. This is exactly what happens in Sir Donald's case.

And Legislative Council chairman Jasper Tsang's overreaction to dismiss Mr Wong and his colleague Leung Kwok-hung only made things worse. As we can see from the video, despite their provocative attitude and disruptive actions, they did not utter a word of improper language or use any form of violence. The dismissal is thus controversial and seems unfounded on evidence. This yet provided the pro-democrats another great opportunity to showcase their "integrity" and "dedication" for "justice".

But I'm not saying that Mr Wong and Mr Leung and their colleagues can come clean. It is no secret that their performance as legislators has been far from satisfactory, let alone any closer to good. For example, Mr Wong's questions raised at the general assemblies of the Legislative Council are surprisingly irrelevant and ridiculous, even though he is a seasoned journalist and professor himself. His questions are often meant to embarrass anyone in the government who is responsible for preparing the answer. The real target of the issues are often missed, if deliberately.

Let's re-consider the recent example on Wednesday. When the session was supposed to focus on the policy address, what is the point of bringing up Stephen Lam's appointment of Chief Secretary for Administration? Can't we just stick to the agenda, undoubtedly an important one, and put first things first?

Equally disappointing is the media and public reaction. Why so many of us are so obsessed with the moral judgment of telling who is right and wrong and taking sides? What does it mean if you choose to support Sir Donald or Mr Wong in this case? Nothing! And so many people don't even bother to think carefully whether Mr Wong's yelling could be regarded as some sort of violence!

Over the past 14 years since the handover I have already seen too much of this kind of ridiculous episodes dominating the air time and press coverage. This is why I am unbearably weary of news these days. Too many of us seem to have lost our brain to think logically and properly. No serious attention has been given to the grounds and implications of policies and measures in question. Due to the limited space and air time, media reports have been filled with pointless rhetoric and meaningless debates like this one rather than well-thought arguments supported by reason and evidence. Criticisms, be they relevant or not, are all over the place, but prescriptions or counter-proposals are rare, if any.

I just can't help but asking why. If we take so much pride in our smart brains that have made Hong Kong what it is today, why do we have such mediocrity at the helm of the city? Many would blame the absence of democracy in Hong Kong, but how about the legislature? There are still plenty of directly elected seats to make some difference. Why do we have so many folks who don't seem to know what they are supposed to do in their current places? Why can't we exercise our power, albeit limited, to kick them out and source for someone better? Imagine if we were going to select the next chief executive by universal suffrage, is there any better alternative to the existing candidates? Will the top talents of the city dip their toes into the dirty waters of politics?

So stop blaming and start thinking if we really want to make a case to Beijing that we deserve something much better. Stun them with good governance, justice and reason. Show them that we can manage our business well. The repeated blunders and farces of our local politics would only reinforce their prejudice that we are brainless economic animals who know nothing but to fill our stomachs full.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Happy Birthday, Anita!

Dearest Anita,

Happy birthday!祝你仙福永享,壽與天齊。

今天有甚麼慶祝節目嗎?是不是Ann姊、Danny和Leslie他們給你開party?不管怎樣,我在這裡先飲為敬了。今晚一定很多歌迷排著隊給你敬酒、送禮,好好enjoy吧。不過記著別喝太多,否則待會兒若是儀態盡失,別怪我言之不預也。你可不像我,喝醉了只管找周公去做心理輔導;以前見過你喝醉了的照片,那個醉態可掬,嘖嘖嘖,真是有失身分哪。畢竟是女皇陛下,不能不著緊點兒啊。

往年很少替你慶祝生日,大概你也知道我的古怪脾氣,總是不太喜歡湊熱鬧;但我心裡總是記得清清楚楚,你也是知道的。

這陣子給公主殿下迷得七葷八素、翻江倒海,彷彿要把二十年來的感情一古腦兒傾瀉而出,然後在更高、更遠的起點重新出發。這是一種怎樣的感覺,事隔兩個多月,我還是捉摸不透,只知連自己也措手不及。你居高臨下、旁觀者清,覺得又是怎麼一回事呢?

無論怎樣,我知道你一定不會吃醋,因為咱們倆的感情是不一樣的。相識於微時,從小到大的相伴相知,說甚麼也無法取代--因為,回憶這事兒,是真實而永恆的存在,沒有人、沒有東西可以敵得過。即便是老人癡呆症發作,回憶只會失落在腦細胞退化的荒原裡,就像深埋地下的古老文物一般,等待被人再次發現。雖然回憶重新出土的機會微乎其微,卻不是無緣無故消失於世間,只是我們再也找不到、說不出罷了。

更何況,你和公主殿下都是獨一無二的。可惜不知道還有沒有機會,把咱們這份交情再提升到另一個層次,就像我對公主殿下那樣。

那天在首爾,和Gloria說起你的《男人四十》,我說我真的很感謝許鞍華,感謝她請你演繹陳文靖這個角色,讓你的演戲生涯畫上一個圓滿、漂亮的句號。說話的時候,我想起你在戲裡淡掃蛾眉、長髮輕挽的造型,剁肉煮飯、洗燙衣服的樣子,胸口仍是一酸,心裡還是想哭,不知道眼睛有沒有洩漏風聲,但好像勉強能按捺著。我不知道為甚麼會這樣,只知道你心坎裡最想做的事、最想過的日子,只能在鏡頭前、舞臺上裝模作樣的過一把癮。燈滅了、鏡頭關了,一切又回復舊觀。雖然感情是真實的,可是對象始終不對;再真摯的感情,也得收拾起來。

光是說,已經覺得累;這些年來你一次又一次地重複了那麼多遍,大概只有累不堪言罷?希望你現在真的無憂無慮、無拘無束,想睡多久就多久,想玩甚麼就玩甚麼。

今天是你的大日子,抱歉我似乎不太識趣,儘說些無聊透頂又不著邊際的話來,希望你別見怪。為了陪罪,就送你一段早些年你跟羅文在香港大球場合作的片段來助慶吧。實在愛死了這一段,看一次high一次,多麼想坐叮噹的時光機回去跟你們大唱大跳大叫一場,那一定很過癮。

同場加映一張從網上淘來的舊照。從你的髮型看來,那大概是《In Brasil》的時候罷?你和公主不約而同梳了個鬈曲的「飛碟頭」,我都很喜歡。老實說,我還是喜歡你們長頭髮的模樣,總覺得多了幾分溫柔嫵媚,也較適合你們的臉型。不知你現在是長頭髮還是短頭髮呢?

好了,等年底咱們再聚吧。再次祝你生日快樂!

Truly yours,
Cecile

Sunday, 9 October 2011

On the Centenary of Chinese Revolution 1911

Tomorrow marks the centenary of the Chinese Revolution in 1911.

One hundred years have passed since the curtains of imperial China were drawn. Despite all the hardships and grievances brought by warfare and social upheavals that ensued, thousands if millions were looking forward to a free, prosperous and dignified China that enjoys the respect of the rest of the world - more specifically, the imperial powers of the West and Japan.

Is this noble mission achieved? How far have we succeeded? To what extent have we failed? Why did we fail and is there any remedy? If yes, what can we do and how? Are we on the right track? Or have we already steered away from the original course and change to something else that is even more cost-effective and worthwhile?

To answer these questions is by no means easy. Even more difficult would it be to come up with a consensus that most historians, politicians and other members of the community find acceptable, let alone agreeable. The current political landscape in China - most notably the antagonistic regimes on the mainland and Taiwan - just makes this important soul-searching process far more complicated and exhausting than what we are ready to comprehend. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the commemorations and celebrations have, regrettably, degraded into yet another array of political propaganda and whitewashing - although they are embarrassingly limited in scale and scope.

As in the worst times of hostility and confrontation across the Taiwan Straits, Hong Kong is still in the best position to have a more balanced and impartial review of the Chinese Revolution - although its edge may be eroding due to a number of reasons. In any event, we are in a better position than any other Chinese communities to do so partly because we have always been relatively free from political and ideological intervention in the discourse of Chinese history. We remain so 14 years after the sovereignty was transferred to communist China. Yet so many people here don't seem to care any longer. They find it more relevant and interesting to bet on who is going to run in the next chief executive elections, or to mourn the death of Steve Jobs or to lash out on Apple's disappointing release of iPhone 4S instead of iPhone 5, and its unforgivable contempt of Hong Kong by excluding it from the sales of the newly launched gadget.

Among the few local historians researching on the Chinese Revolution, even fewer are providing a fresh perspective of understanding the historical significance and implications of the incident. More are, not surprisingly, focusing on digging for new information about the leading figures like Dr Sun Yat-sen or unsung heroes such as Tse Tsan-tai, a Chinese Australian best known as the founder of the South China Morning Post. While I am confident that these research projects will add to our knowledge of those who had contributed to the success of the Chinese Revolution, whether they can offer alternative views on this ground-breaking development of Chinese history remains to be seen.

Discovering and evaluating the life and accomplishment of individuals has been a very common and traditional way of historical studies. But in my opinion, this may not be the best - though arguably easier - way to study an extraordinary event like the Chinese Revolution. In history textbooks we have already seen too much moral judgment of historical figures without actually understanding what they had done to deserve a good or bad name. Our knowledge of history is too often highly selected if distorted to comply with the established perceptions and stereotypes. And I reckon this obsession of moral judgment has deep roots in our culture that goes beyond the remote past. The same happens in drama and opera appreciation. Too often our first question about the characters is who the good and bad guys are. For those who are a bit more serious about history, however, this is a preconception that we should be acutely aware of and make every effort to overcome.

For this reason, I am so fed up with all the clichés that how great the Chinese Revolution was and how heroic the revolutionaries were. These excessively simplified rhetoric can only serve political purposes but do little to help us better understand history, only if we care. Just read the interview with Dr Joseph Ting, former chief curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History, an extraordinary civil servant and a passionate local historian whom I respect very much and was privileged to be able to sit in his class last term, published in Ming Pao Daily today. The more the journalist emphasised how "special" and "different" Dr Ting is, the more I feel, for some reason, that the journalist was actually teasing him and repeating the common rhetoric that "it is useless to study history" rather than showing appreciation.

In Western civilisation, history is one of the essential subjects of liberal arts education and thus indispensable in grooming cultured souls with a critical, independent mind but also a humble heart. Chinese historian Qian Mu also said that only those who respect and understand their national history could be regarded as "nationals". Among other things, therefore, I think the centenary of the Chinese Revolution should be leveraged to promote the value and significance of history and its proper learning. Only until then could we embark on the daunting task of providing a more balanced, impartial, honest and upright account of the Chinese Revolution. This is a mega undertaking that we still owe ourselves and our children. But a hundred years on, we are still not ready, but only if we still care.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

造袍記

星期一晚下班後,以九秒九的速度趕車到中環去訂造畢業禮袍。

一小時後,來到中環士丹利街。經過陸羽茶室,在一排舊房子中間找到一幢又長又窄的商業大廈,終於找到了學校指定的裁縫店。

店裡燈火通明,米黃色的牆壁反照之下,更是明亮如白晝,跟小時候看到一盞孤燈、幾輛衣車、環境昏暗的裁縫店很不一樣。唯一能喚起兒時記憶的,就是滿地碎布、布疋、半製成品和成衣樣版,一座座土墩兒似的擱在地上,雖然凌亂,卻散發一種樸實、安分、世俗的厚重質感。

敲門進去,只有老師傅一人忙著。他個子不高,好像比我還要矮半個頭,花白的頭髮稀疏得緊,有點像老夫子那樣。臉上戴著老花眼鏡,脖子上掛著一把軟尺,穿的是尋常不過的襯衫和西褲,一身打扮和小時候看到的裁縫沒兩樣。只是如今我已經不是小孩子,靠一門手藝養妻活兒的師傅也逐漸老去了。

道明來意,說了學校和學位的名稱,老師傅一言不發,拿起桌上的軟尺就給我度身。肩寬、上圍、腰圍、袖長、袍長、頭圍,軟尺輕描淡寫地依次繞一圈就完成,不鬆不緊,連衣裳裡的肌膚也碰不到,當然更不會勒痛了人。每量完一個尺寸,就用指甲捏著刻度細看,大概是心中默默記誦罷?然後再量另一個尺寸。瞧著老師傅熟練如流的動作,可能閉上眼睛也能收放自如,不知怎地,竟站直了身子連大氣也不敢透一口,彷彿看見東邪黃藥師的絕學蘭花拂穴手翻飛上下,儘往自己身上招呼。若不是他老人家手下留情,可能我已經死了一百次……

不用五分鐘,老師傅就量完尺寸,在靠近門口的長櫃子上拿過一本兩三呎長的簿冊,提起筆來,終於開口問道:「你貴姓?」寫上了我的姓氏,然後用以前市場菜攤、果檔經常看見的舊式中文數字記下尺寸。遠遠望去,幾組數字從上而下垂直寫來,剛勁流麗,氣勢不凡,儼然一幅行草。

寫完了尺寸,老師傅對著登記簿微一沉吟,頭也不抬,說道:「二十三號就有了,到時來取袍吧。」語氣中沒來由一股威嚴,令人無法吭聲,只有乖乖受教的份兒。我愣了一愣,心想這就行了嗎?回過神來,問道:「要付訂金嗎?」老師傅脫下老花眼鏡,拿在手裡搖了兩搖,聲如洪鐘斬釘截鐵的道:「不用。」我又是一怔,心想:「連訂金也不用付,你不怕我白撞的嗎?」臨行前又問:「請問有名片嗎?」老師傅看了我一眼,一邊說道:「你是想先打個電話來吧?」一邊走到長櫃上拿起名片盒,抽了一張遞給我,然後頭也不回地走到桌子旁繼續忙活去。我道了謝,暗忖:「怎麼你連我的電話號碼也不問?難道真的不怕我來瞎攪和?」於是開口問道:「袍子是七百五十元一套,對嗎?」老師傅抬頭瞧了我一眼,說道:「是中大MA對吧?沒錯,是七百五十元。」不知老師傅會不會嫌我嘮嘮叨叨沒完沒了?只見他又繼續低頭工作,毫不在意,也就轉身走了。

開門迎客做生意,貨真價實、童叟無欺固然重要,但自己的基本權益也不能不維護。古語有云:「小心駛得萬年船」。戲文也說:「人情薄、世情險」。這些都是行走江湖的至理名言。沒想到如今仍有像老師傅那樣完全信任顧客的店家,彷彿上得門來就是講個「信」字,不必多費唇舌,更不用錙銖必較,頗有「出門贈百萬,上馬不通名」的慷慨豪邁,真令人受寵若驚。轉念又想,數十年的老江湖,又怎會是省油的燈?即使我真箇白撞,老師傅自然會把多餘的禮袍拿去給其他畢業生租用,蝕本門早就封得滴水不漏,哪怕我怎的?即使如此,老師傅待人以誠,氣定神閒,令人心折,不禁又想起《笑傲江湖》裡身懷絕技而甘於淡泊、賣餛飩為生的何三七。所謂隱世高手,原來並不遙遠,真的梗有一個在左近。

Monday, 3 October 2011

《白蛇傳說》

雖然沒有甚麼期望,但是看過《白蛇傳說》,仍是覺得非常失望。

失望,不是因為李連杰老了。時至今日,「自古美人如名將,不許人間見白頭」這句老話,用在男演員身上可能已不合時宜。君不見多少年登花甲--甚至古稀--的男演員,仍然魅力四射,氣度不凡;舉手投足之間,把多少不男不女陰聲細氣弱不禁風的奶油蛋糕比了下去。所以不要老是嗔怪自己生不逢時,當務之急是先拿鏡子照照,看看自己還像個頂天立地的人兒不像。

失望,不是因為電腦特技比不上外國。這從來不是咱們所長,比不上是天經地義,即使比得上了,也不見得有多稀罕。俗語說得好:風水輪流轉,山水有相逢。時至今日,不見得誰要被誰牽著鼻子走。即便是自以為不可一世做慣老大的,也有巧婦難為無米炊的時候。為甚麼外國人做的事情,咱們非要依樣畫葫蘆不可?咱們真的明白人家是怎樣成功的嗎?能學得來嗎?以己之短,攻敵之長,從來都是兵家下下之策,為何屢敗屢試,樂此不疲?須知道,能夠平心靜氣審視自己到底是怎麼一個人、怎樣揚長補短,那才叫卓然成家、獨步武林。邯鄲學步,學得再像也是智在人後而已。

失望,是因為《白蛇傳》這麼一個千錘百鍊的民間傳說,來到二十一世紀的今天,不肖子孫竟然把最感人、最精粹的部分棄如弊屣,卻去追求那些曇花一現、讓人目盲發狂的聲色之娛。不是說電腦特技不能用、或者不應該用,關鍵在於先把主客分辨清楚。妖精鬥法、水漫金山,全是天馬行空的想像,若不用特技視覺效果來表達,更待何時?可是,這些只是末節。《白蛇傳》能夠穩踞中國四大民間傳奇之一,難道憑藉的就是這些虛無縹緲的想像?

無論四大民間傳奇有多少個版本,只有《白蛇傳》和《梁祝》穩如泰山,從來不會跌出名單以外。所以說中國人骨子裡比法國人更浪漫,因為我們傳誦千古的民間傳奇,全是驚天地泣鬼神的愛情故事。上窮碧落下黃泉有之、仙凡錯戀有之、人妖纏綿有之,總之萬物有情,連非我族類的花鳥蟲魚、妖怪仙娥,只要動了真情,就是性情中人,值得紀念和歌頌。

可惜,《白蛇傳說》完全掌握不到《白蛇傳》的精粹。片中描寫白素貞與許仙的愛情,平淡單薄如白開水,無色無味,即使有那麼幾句令人頭皮發麻汗毛直豎的對白,說到底只是青春偶像劇為賦新詞強說愁的級數,距離打動人心實在太遠。白蛇與青蛇數百年的情誼,也是很多改編本著力描摹的素材,要不與白蛇、許仙的愛情作比較或對照,要不就是給故事背景作鋪墊。然而《白蛇傳說》一樣沒有寫好白蛇和青蛇之間的感情,就連閨中密友姊妹淘也不如,最多只是同行同食幾百年、再熟悉不過又無可奈何別無選擇走在一起的同伴而已。反而法海與能忍、能忍與青蛇之間的關係,雖云輕描淡寫,居然較為生動別致,頗堪玩味。

從小很喜歡《白蛇傳》的故事,喜歡到情意糾結、難解難分,所以不管甚麼形式的改編本,總是要先睹而後快;即使劇本再爛、演員再討厭,也願意耐著性子看完,免得錯過了又要捶胸頓足長嗟短嘆。我只是不明白,《白蛇傳》真的那麼難懂嗎?即使珠玉在前,要另闢蹊徑並不容易,但一切也得還原基本步,從揣摩箇中人物的心態開始。探索人心、表達感情,原是戲劇的本質,也是終極的追求,為甚麼科技愈進步,人心、才智反而愈往後退?難道我們連會流淚的白蛇也比不上嗎?