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2023 Taiwan international arts festival to feature more foreign productions

2022-12-03
Focus Taiwan
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Photo courtesy of NTCH
Photo courtesy of NTCH

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) The 2023 edition of the Taiwan International Festival of Arts (TIFA) will kick off in Taipei next February, featuring more international productions than in the previous two years following the reopening of Taiwan's border, according to the event's organizer, National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH).

Nine out of 19 shows at next year's TIFA, which opens on Feb. 18, will be put on by artists from France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the United States, South Korea, and Australia, among others, the NTCH said at a press conference on Tuesday.

These include a two-hour version of "A 24-Decade History of Popular Music" by renowned American theater artist Taylor Mac that presents a subjective history of the U.S. through pop songs that were prominent in American society.

The show, which features exaggerated costumes and dazzling visuals, had originally been selected for the 2022 TIFA but was eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions in place in Taiwan earlier this year.

Looking at social issues through a different perspective, "The Hamartia Trilogy" begins with South Korean artist Jaha Koo's personal experience before setting out to explore cultural clashes in South Korea and reflect upon the issue of globalization.

Koo last visited Taiwan in 2018 to present "Cuckoo," the second part of the trilogy that also includes "Lolling and Rolling" and "The History of Korean Western Theatre," NTCH said.

In 2022 and 2021, only one foreign group came to Taiwan for each year's TIFA.

NTCH General and Artistic Director Liu Yi-ruu (劉怡汝) said at the press conference that issues such as the spread of fake news, rising gender awareness, and conflicts had become the main focus of the artists whose works had been selected for next year's TIFA.

These artists, rather than using an implicit way to carefully weave these issues into their works, have chosen a more "straightforward" and even "daring" approach to discuss what has happened in the world, Liu said.

Such a change is "collective" and it can be seen with artists at home and abroad over the past three years, Liu said.

"At the NTCH, we of course felt obliged to respond to this change," Liu, adding that the theater should pay attention to what is happening in the world.

In the meantime, Liu went on, the TIFA is an arts festival dedicated to bringing inspirational works to people of all ages and from all walks of life.

That is why the NTCH will collaborate with Taiwan-based Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and its retired founder and choreographer Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) to put on "Legacy" at the 2023 TIFA, said Liu.

"Legacy," which premiered in 1978, shows viewers how people in Taiwan have overcome various predicaments throughout history and tried to move toward a better future, Liu said.

This collaboration will not only be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, but also provide an opportunity for a young audience to see the show for the first time, Liu added.

A total of 129 performances will be shown at the 2023 TIFA, which runs from Feb. 18-May 14. Tickets for those performances went on sale from Thursday exclusively for NTCH members, and will go on sale from Dec. 8 for the general public, according to NTCH.

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