Voicing Pride and Futurity in the Age of A.I.

An Interview with Playwright Pao-Chang Tsai on Solo Date

in Screen Bodies
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  • 1 Dept. of Literature, University of California, San Diego, USA jic381@ucsd.edu
  • 2 Dept. of Drama and Theater, National Taiwan University, and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, UK
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Abstract

This interview deals with the question of queer Sinofuturisms through the works of Pao-Chang Tsai, a Taiwanese performer, playwright, and director who became renowned for exploring the Taiwanese theaterscape with new media and novel performative techniques. With a special focus on his acclaimed theatrical production Solo Date (2016), the conversation inquires into themes of artificial intelligence, queer futurity, and transcultural performance featured in this one-man show. Linking the representation of A.I. interface as queer body with the demand for LGBT rights in Sinophone contexts, Tsai's innovative solo performance has examined changing discourses toward queerness and futurism in the age of advanced artificial intelligence. The touching story of how a gay man struggled to process his grief after losing the love of his life further raises critical ethical questions, since the protagonist's true identity is an A.I. robot.

Contributor Notes

Jing Chen is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Chinese literature, minority discourse studies, postcolonial theory, and global Chinese diaspora with a particular focus on Sinophone cultural encounters. Chen took her BA in Chinese languages and literature from Xiamen University, where she then engaged in the interdisciplinary study of China, and received her M.A. (2015) in East Asian Studies from Duke University. Her current research explores cultural representations of ghostly subjects as local and regional agencies, and is focused on transcultural encounters and conflicts in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Email: jic381@ucsd.edu

Pao-Chang Tsai graduated from the Department of Drama and Theater, National Taiwan University, and has a Master's degree in musical theater from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. Between 2009 and 2018, he served as the co-artistic director at the Tainaner Ensemble. Tsai is frequently seen as a creator equipped with three talents—playwrighting, directing, and acting. The list of productions he has been involved in has won him great recognition. CommonWealth Magazine has selected Tsai as a Future Young Leader in performing arts. He also went to the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University for further study in voice and speech on a grant from the Asian Cultural Council and visited the Moscow Art Theater for three months.

Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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