Benzi: Chaplin

14 minutes

  • 8 percussionists and video playback

Commissioned and given its premiere by the Ju Percussion Group.

During the first three decades of the 1900s, when a silent film was shown in Taiwan it was accompanied by a narrator. These narrators were called benzi masters. They were quite famous; more famous than the actors for whom they gave voices. For the benzi, the film was a vehicle for improvisation. A plot might insight social commentary, a comedy might become tragedy, a beautiful setting might inspire poetry.