My mother in law will be a judge tomorrow in the Taipei County junior high school Taiwanese play contest, so my wife and I went over to the site of the competition today to pick up some material for her that hadn’t arrived through the mail yet. The stage was occupied today by groups from the county’s elementary schools, so we stayed to watch some of the 10-minute skits. A few things stood out, beyond the usual charming amateurism of youngsters in school plays.
All of the skits featured adults as well as children — actual adults, not just kids playing a role. Perhaps this is a cultural difference, because I can’t imagine that grownups would be included in children’s plays in America.
All of the skits also featured rural themes and/or the elderly. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I would have been much happier to see some skits in Taiwanese about astronauts, CEOs, scientists, glamorous movie stars, or even rap music stars. If Taiwanese speakers see their language as just of the past, or just of the countryside, it’s going to die.
I had a look at the script for one of the plays. It was almost entirely in Chinese characters, with a few words written in romanization and a sprinkling of zhuyin fuhao. Most unfortunate.