Saturday, 24 January 2015

心裡有個林黛玉--看罷《金玉緣》(下)

相較寶釵的內斂、成熟和世故,黛玉的率性、細膩與敏感,未必更討人歡喜,但相信不少人會心生嚮往──哪個不想愛哭就哭、想笑就笑,受了委屈,還有個體己知心侍候身旁,出盡水磨功夫哄自己開懷?

所以,少年時初讀《紅樓夢》,已覺得黛玉不吃人間煙火,形象朦朧縹緲,不太真實。就像一座遙不可及的海市蜃樓,儘管美麗絕倫,卻教人難以捉摸。

不過,正如周星馳在《少林足球》大聲疾呼:「如果人生沒夢想,跟一條鹹魚有甚麼分別?」且不論一個人的夢想可以多麼離經叛道(殺人放火、姦淫擄掠等危害他人的罪行自然不算),對於那個人來說,有夢想的人生總比沒夢想來得充實。因為,至少人生有了生存的希望、奮鬥的目標,就像隨身帶著地圖或指南針,在紛擾迷茫的紅塵中,不容易迷失方向。

然而,夢想和現實從來難以兼得,就是因為兩者所指引的方向,往往南轅北轍。雖說地球是圓的,理論上一個往東、一個向西,總有一天殊途同歸。可惜人生苦短,不是每個人都那麼幸運,有能力、有時間圍繞地球走一遭。我們經常看到或經歷的,就是兩邊腦袋打架。為免把自己撕成兩半,或者弄得精神分裂,最後不得不忍痛二選其一。

雖說讀了《紅樓夢》這許多年,我至今不太清楚黛玉的夢想是甚麼;但看罷《金玉緣》,卻肯定寶玉的夢想就是黛玉。從〈探傷證情〉一場所見,黛玉象徵了寶玉追求性靈自由、擺脫禮教枷鎖的夢想,寶釵則代表著門第、功名、財富等現實的束縛與價值觀。倘若說寶玉深愛黛玉是因為兩人性情契合,世上只有黛玉明白他的心情、認同他的想法,毋寧說寶玉最終拋家棄玉,其實是選擇了夢想,全盤放棄了現實。換言之,黛玉和寶釵,就是寶玉心中夢想與現實的投射。

我不是信口胡謅的。在〈探傷證情〉一折,黛玉和寶釵先後到怡紅院探望寶玉,在背景音樂襯托下表演多種身段,一左一右把病塌上的寶玉夾在中間。不過射燈並沒有落在兩人身上,而是直射寶玉,看上去就像兩個迷離婉約的女子在寶玉夢中起舞一般。看到這裡,腦袋「嗡」的一響,倏地記起「紅學」有所謂「釵黛合一」之說。「釵黛合一」源自《紅樓夢》第四十二回脂硯齋【註】的批語:「釵、玉名雖二個,人卻一身,此幻筆也。今書至是回時已過三分之一有餘,故寫是回,使二人合而為一。請看黛玉逝後寶釵之文字,便知余言不謬矣。」批語寫得清楚明白,寶釵與黛玉的形象,其實源於同一個人。曹公親筆「黛玉逝後寶釵之文字」早已散佚,無從稽考,也不須深究那「人卻一身」到底是誰,至少我們知道,釵、黛是某個人兩種面貌投射出來的形象。循著這個方向細想,若把她們理解為寶玉心裡兩種思想的象徵,有何不可?這項假設同樣符合「釵黛合一」的主張,不過把某個未知是否存在的神秘女子,換成寶玉的腦袋和心靈罷了。

倘若上述推論成立,《金玉緣》劇名的反諷意味也就呼之欲出了。俗語常說「金玉良緣」,但以黃金、美玉衡量的婚姻,就一定是「良緣」了嗎?以寶玉和寶釵的「金玉緣」為名目,其實卻是敷演這段為俗世認可的姻緣失敗之始末。若是兩情不能相悅,即使身外之物多麼匹配,到頭來也不過是一場幻夢。看到〈哭靈夢醒〉,寶釵在黛玉的靈牌前,拾起寶玉拋下的通靈之寶哭得肝腸寸斷,可謂我見猶憐。物在情亡、人面全非,又是一番甚麼滋味?

編劇最後安排寶玉與黛玉重續木石前盟,希望「為人心帶來安慰,讓美好的憧憬永存世間」。於我看來,更似是鼓勵觀眾人人心裡有個林黛玉,只要夢想不滅,終有一天如願以償。

按:上引《金玉緣》劇照直接引用「天馬菁莪粵劇團」Facebook專頁的《金玉緣》照片簿連結,謹此說明。


【註】「脂硯齋」是《紅樓夢》批語的作者自稱,真實身分至今成謎。其批語對書中情節、人物、隱語等多有提示或說明,所以紅學家認為他應與曹雪芹關係十分密切,並對《紅樓夢》寫作過程相當熟悉,但其身分一直無法考定。

Friday, 23 January 2015

遲來的公道--看罷《金玉緣》(上)

貪新厭舊,原是人情之常。聲色之娛,尤重新奇,以廣招徠。故而李漁《閒情偶寄》開卷有云:「古人呼劇本為『傳奇』者,因其事甚奇特,未經人見而傳之,是以得名,可見非奇不傳。『新』即『奇』之別名也。若此等情節業已見之戲場,則千人共見,萬人共見,絕無奇矣,焉用傳之?是以填詞之家,務解『傳奇』二字。」

不過,編劇推陳出新的手法甚多,也不一定像李漁提出「但有耳所未聞之姓名,從無目不經見之事實」那麼苛刻。有時候珠玉在前,或者徇眾要求,想另闢蹊徑也未必容易。若能在固有的窠臼中翻出一點新意,或為觀眾帶來嶄新的體會,已經相當難得了。

就是因為深知徐進編劇、徐玉蘭與王文娟主演的越劇版《紅樓夢》魅力非凡,享譽數十年不衰,各地多個戲曲劇種的改編本--包括膾炙人口的香港粵劇本--也難以擺脫其剪裁情節的定例,所以對早前首演的新編粵劇《金玉緣》不抱太大期望。沒料到初次觀看,心頭竟別有一番前所未嚐的滋味,頗感驚喜。

歷來《紅樓夢》的戲文多刻劃賈寶玉與林黛玉「木石前盟終成幻」的悲劇,卻一直冷待──甚至忽略──與林黛玉並列「金陵十二釵」之首的薛寶釵。她若不是芳蹤杳然,就是淪為可有可無、面目模糊的配角。《金玉緣》最難得,也最教我輩《紅樓夢》忠實擁躉額手稱慶的新構思,就是塑造了薛寶釵賢慧端方的形象,提升了她的地位,再還她一個遲來的公道。

編劇文華首先安排薛寶釵在榮國府花團錦簇的亮相,更化用她才壓群芳的「詠絮詞」作出場曲。接著寶玉因與戲子來往而被父親笞打後,寶釵和黛玉分別前往探問,從她倆與寶玉的對答中,刻劃兩人個性上的差異。多年後,寶釵已遷出大觀園,某天回來探望黛玉,以姐姐的身分慰解她,相當感人。這段戲文應是出自原著第四十二回而略有改動,除強調兩人性情南轅北轍外,亦確立了薛寶釵雍容大方、賢慧穩重的形象。然後筆鋒一轉,移花接木的秘密被揭穿,這邊廂黛玉晴天霹靂,含恨而終;那邊廂寶釵不忍橫刀奪愛,卻也無力反抗,只好萬般委屈的蓋上紅頭巾,做其調包新娘。最後寶玉哭靈時,寶釵也在場,既貫徹了她與黛玉真摯的情誼,也讓她盡情控訴命運的無情播弄。

平心而論,寶釵戲份的篇幅仍不及黛玉,但物以罕為貴,震撼力則不遑多讓。教我印象最深刻的是結局〈哭靈夢醒〉前半部。只見寶釵一身素服,跟隨寶玉趕往哭祭黛玉,然後拿著寶玉拋下的通靈之寶呼天搶地,最後在黯淡的燈光裡冉冉消失,心裡的震撼著實不小;比諸少年時初看樂蒂扮演的祝英臺從花轎裡鑽出來,脫去吉服,露出一身縞素,跪在梁山伯墳前聲淚俱下,可謂有過之而無不及。

看罷戲文,仔細想來,深深感受到寶釵的悲劇,不只在於無辜被寶玉拋棄──這只是人所共見的最表層──也不在於她被榮國府擺布,成為調包新娘;或者神女有心、襄王無夢,而是教養她、塑造她、使她自幼心悅誠服的俗世規範,最後竟然出賣了她。

寶釵並非沒有寶玉和黛玉那份純真與率性,而是她深知做人處世,總得顧慮周全,不能過分特立獨行。經過多年教化,她甘心接受俗世的約束,壓抑了自己的真性情(如戒掉了小時候愛看的詞曲、小說等雜書),做個循規蹈矩、符合眾人期望的大家閨秀。說穿了,不為別的,可能只是希望日子過得輕鬆一點,少惹麻煩──因為她同胞哥哥薛蟠接二連三惹下的禍事,已經夠讓人頭疼的了。然而她的順從、溫婉,甚至無從選擇的家世,結果卻害苦了她。

也許有人會認為,既然寶釵選擇順從,沒有反抗,受罪了也是活該。恕我不敢苟同。俗語說:「看人挑擔不吃力,自己挑擔挑斷脊」,塘邊鶴口沫橫飛自然不用負責,但做人總得公道一點。要是設身處地從寶釵的立場想想看,這幾句話就未必如此輕描淡寫。薛氏雖是《紅樓夢》四大家族之一,號稱「珍珠如土金如鐵」,以財力雄厚、富可敵國而聞名,但寶釵自幼喪父,兄長又個不務正業、貪淫逞威的紈褲子弟;母親雖是四大家族之一王氏的閨女,但生性懦弱,也沒甚麼主見。可想而知,持家的重擔就落在寶釵身上。這跟粵語長片裡那些為了造就弟妹成才、自小輟學養家的大姐姐有甚麼分別?既然有負累,就難以輕言瀟灑,這是無可奈何的事。有時候也不是你放下放不下的問題,而是現實迫人,容不得你放下。

更何況,如果說寶釵溫馴聽話而遭人遺棄是自作自受,那黛玉孤標傲世,同樣含恨而終,又算甚麼?

所以說,《金玉緣》能還原寶釵惹人同情的鮮明形象,為她說幾句公道話,儘管姍姍來遲,仍是教人欣慰的。

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Limits of Freedom?

Two weeks have passed since the New Year, which has yet to bring new hopes for a better turn of events. Among others, the deadly attack at the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7 January, and several other shootings that followed, killed 20 people and seriously injured several others.

Horrified by the breaking news, tens of thousands in France, Britain, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Australia, the United States and some other parts of the world showed their solidarity against terrorism. Thanks to the viral social media, "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie" in French) soon became the common slogan of anti-terrorism protesters worldwide. On 11 January, French president Francois Hollande and more than 40 government leaders around the world led more than two million people in a unity rally in Paris. Nationwide, it was reported that more than three million had marched on the streets, making the largest public rally in France since the Second World War.

At the same time, there are people supporting the gunshot at Charlie Hebdo, accusing the weekly magazine of causing disrespect, embarrassment and humiliation to Islam. It is important to note that those people are not all Muslims, nor are they all merciless religious zealots. In fact, more than 50 people in France were reportedly arrested for "apology of terrorism", because they had publicly supported the shootings. A dozen of them were sentenced to jail. Some others also claimed that the bitter and harsh satire of Charlie Hebdo has gone too far, way beyond what freedom of expression possibly allows. Just as an Islamic preacher was quoted as saying, "If you want to enjoy freedom of speech with no limits, expect others to exercise freedom of action." Extreme response now seems unavoidable, and somewhat expectable, to anyone who dares to speak his or her mind, no matter how stupid or insightful it might be.

In any event, I believe killing people for what they say is utterly unacceptable, no matter how stupid or hard to swallow such remarks may be. Not only does it deny the natural human right of existence and freedom of expression, it also assumes a greatly questionable contempt of the others. If most of us champion the notion that men and women are born equal, regardless of their age, race, gender, culture, religion, social status and other attributes, how can we deny someone else's basic right to live? Who on earth are we to take away someone else's life rightfully and legitimately, when ending the life of a malformed foetus or an incurably ill old man remains disturbingly controversial?

Although violence is more a problem than solution, there is still some truth in the words of the Islamic preacher quoted above. Is freedom limitless? If no, how far should the line be drawn? By whom? If yes, how do we ensure respect is maintained and dignity upheld? Are we ready and willing to tolerate the harsh criticisms and bitter mockeries in a calm and peaceful, if receptive, manner, as we expect others to do?

These questions are by no means easy to answer, but they have become more relevant than ever to the human race. Interactions of people from diverse backgrounds around the globe have boomed to new breadth and depth never seen in human history before, and they are still growing at unheeded speed. How to get along on good terms with people who don't share our beliefs, perspectives and values has become a pressing problem we can't afford to ignore.

Suffice it to say that respect is essential to ensure friendly and egalitarian exchanges, but how respect should be defined and expressed is easier said than done. As many of us may have experienced in person, there are plenty occasions on which misunderstanding, discrimination and hostilities are bred from cultural differences. Apparently humility and an open mind to learn and understand what other people believe and why they do so is only most effective way of bridging the gap. Sadly, the information boom brought by technological advancements has yet to realise the dream of facilitating better understanding among cultures and civilisations. More often the "echo chamber effect" sets in, which means competing and conflicting views are censored or disallowed. What many of us have witnessed on Facebook during the Occupy Central movement was a perfect example of the "echo chamber effect" -- only views and comments with whom one agrees were allowed. Any dissent would be muted by deleting the messages, blocking access to one's wall, and unfriending the individual who disagrees with oneself.

If we truly believe in equality and freedom for all, why would so many of us allow the "echo chamber effect" to happen on Facebook? Why would we confine ourselves to comments that are agreeable and compatible with our own? How different are we from those authoritarian regimes that censor the press, fabricate stories and only listen to what is pleasing to their ears? More importantly, are we exercising our freedom at the expense of someone else's? Are we applying double standards arbitrarily? Are we being too harsh with those who think and behave differently and too lenient with ourselves?

Perhaps I have raised too many questions that can't be possibly answered. Yet I believe these questions are much more important than proclaiming "I am Charlie" or "I am not Charlie", if we do care about our world, our home. Making a position statement is little more than a gesture, which doesn't really help much in facilitating a meaningful diagnosis. Only when the real problems are identified and discerned from the symptoms can we come up with an effective prescription. These questions, I believe, are the first steps that would help re-orientate ourselves in the labyrinth of conflicts, hostilities and misunderstanding.