Taiwan Season: Ever Never

Poignant and humorous, this is a semi-autobiographical piece of writing which roots itself in Co-coism director Hung Chien-Han’s upbringing. Ever Never is made up of mutually exclusive scenes which look at the idea of an airplane cabin as a timeless space which invokes past events and memories. Though this idea is conceptually sound, it is not very well executed, and this collective failed to reach their full potential.

Ever Never, though clever, funny and moving at points, was unsuccessful in achieving what it set out to do.

The performers in this play work extremely well together. Putting their set together in front of the audience quickly but efficiently, they create the cabin and change it around to become a plethora of different places as new memories surface; an area in the aftermath of an earthquake, a bedroom and a womb being the most notable. It is, at times, difficult until the very end of a scene to tell where the players are and what they are doing. Their location and actions should be immediately recognisable, preventing confusion and helping each scene to run into the next.

There is great range and diversity in these scenes, yet they fail to form a cohesive whole. Though great emotional pathos can be achieved in the juxtaposition of happy and sad moments, this show fails to bridge the gap between the these contrasting sentiments, leaving the audience uncaring as the story unfolds. The happier moments shatter tension unpleasantly, undermining the emotional effect of the more moving parts. `

As part of the Taiwan season, this show highlights the importance of language in the understanding and merging of diverse cultures. Though some lines are spoken in English, most of them are in Taiwanese with English subtitles. This means that the actors are able to speak in their mother tongue while also making jokes to which English speaking people can relate. Unfortunately, the subtitles were somewhat flawed with structural and grammatical errors, and at times seemed to not convey what was happening onstage effectively.

Co-coism, as a collective, intelligently pieced together this story about loss, love and family. Though it is a great idea conceptually to create a timeless space in which to convey memories, in practice this is confusing for an audience. Ever Never, though clever, funny and moving at points, was unsuccessful in achieving what it set out to do.

Reviews by Angela O'Callaghan

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The Blurb

Deeply affected by her father’s death, on her travels she found the aircraft cabin a mysterious space where the past could be intercepted and where fragments of forgotten memories were rekindled and brought to life. Following Co-coism’s guiding principle of cooperatively-devised theatre, Ever Never draws on the experiences of playwright Feng Chi-Chun and the rest of the creative team. An airport and airplane become vehicles where past and present collide; places of real and remembered, love and regrets, happiness and sadness, and loved ones and themselves.