Hakka opera troupe to bring real story to the stage

“Hunchback Man and Flower Girl,” a production adapted from a novel based on true stories, will be presented by Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe (
榮興客家採茶劇團) across Taiwan on July 14 through October 13.  

Taking adaptation from the novel of the same title by Professor Wang Chiung-ling (
王瓊玲) of the National Chung Cheng University, the story portrays lives of the “flower girl” and the “hunchback man” in Chiayi under the Japanese colonial rule. Experiencing turbulent times of war and hardship of life, the two characters, however, never gave up on hope, reflecting the Hakka’s indomitable spirit as well as the history from the Japanese colonial era to post-war Taiwan.

Produced by the award-winning Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe led by Cheng Rom-shing (
鄭榮興), the troupe incorporates a large amount of Hakka slangs and creates new tunes for the traditional “sleeve dance (甩水袖).” The production will be presented by performers of three generations to interpret Taiwanese and the Hakka’s unyielding spirit and faith.

Comprising members of four generations, Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe has cultivated young performers through its mentorship program. Since its establishment, it has been dedicated to promoting traditional performance arts, especially the Hakka tea-picking opera, to pass on traditional Hakka cultural heritage.

At the press conference held on June 27, Hakka Affairs Council Minister Lee Yung-de (李永得) encouraged the public to watch the show to gain insights into the Hakka’s lives in turbulent times.

A letter by the “flower girl,” who is already 98 today, was also read out loud by author Wang. The “flower girl” expressed her feelings of seeing her story being adapted to a Hakka theater production, and revealed that she had watched the production twice previously.

The Hakka Affair Council notes that traditional Hakka opera embodies lifestyle, values, language, and music of the Hakka. It is a valuable cultural asset and a form of performing art that is approachable by the audience.

“Hunchback Man and Flower Girl” is one of the representative works produced by the opera troupe. It had received positive feedback since its premiere. To promote Hakka culture, the Hakka Affairs Council organizes the tour this year to make it available for audience all over Taiwan.