Do you remember Pippi Longstocking, the beloved Swedish books (and movies) from your youth? Well, apparently Pippi has gone from the “south seas” all the way to Taipei, and our friend Bryan told us about a wonderful Swedish director’s version at a Taipei theater on Guling Street.
So we trooped down, for a live show in Chinese with Pippi, wiping the floors with towels strapped to her feet, dancing and singing with her friends, the white horse and the monkey Mr. Nilsson…. as well as a few human children too.
And it was surprisingly good! Great, even. For me, ironically, the best part was not the surreal escapades down memory lane or the goofball slapstick comedy, but the fact that I could understand just about all of it. I apparently speak 6-year-old Pippi Longstocking Chinese, but it was thrilling to be able to sit, listen, and follow the dialogue, no matter how fast. I did have to turn around and ask my more advanced Chinese-speaking friends for some vocab help (“drown,” “naughty,” “shipwreck”), but then I also helped translate sentences or scenes for less experienced friends (not at all qualified for this, obviously, but still quite a heady feeling).
Check out tickets and so forth HERE, since it is playing for one more weekend in Taipei.
And here are some more pics of the cast, below, with two other friends’ impressions. Long live the inner child in each of us!
“The monkey is the best thing I have ever seen in my life. When I grow up, I hope I can dance like the horse. I was scared when it went dark and the baby cried. I cried, too, because Pippi is all alone and her friend says that her dad is probably dead. Pippi’s mum is definitely dead, and so this would mean Pippi is an orphan. But also I mainly laughed, because it’s really funny, it’s the funniest play I have ever seen in Taipei. I wish I had a gold sequin tailcoat like that. I feel inspired to paint my house yellow. Maybe I will dye my hair. This review is not necessarily in order. Pippi is the best.”
— one satisfied customer, a Chinese-English translator and dramatic connisseur
“What for small children is a hearty serving of hijinks, for adults is nothing less than whimsical trip down surreal lane, with racial role-switching and plenty of monkey business. A veritable smörgåsbord of laughs.”
— another satisfied customer, and Swedophile