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National Taichung Theater rebrands spring season programs

2023-01-27
Focus Taiwan
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French actress Isabelle Huppert (sitting, right) in "La Cerisaie." Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage/Festival d'Avignon
French actress Isabelle Huppert (sitting, right) in "La Cerisaie." Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage/Festival d'Avignon

Taichung, Jan. 26 (CNA) National Taichung Theater (NTT), which opened in 2016, is repositioning itself by announcing a rebranding of its spring season in 2023, encouraging audiences to explore new and unknown territory in the performing arts, the venue in central Taiwan said.

The theater's spring series will be called "NTT Arts NOVA" and this year's theme is "Ask Now." It includes programs that will encourage audiences to "embrace" new things, NTT General and Artistic Director Joyce Chou (邱瑗) said in a statement late last year.

"Trends in this age have shifted in a new direction, and we cannot ignore that," she said in the statement.

Over the past six spring seasons from 2017 to 2022, the Taichung theater planned its programming as "NTT-TIFA (Taiwan International Festival of Arts)" and co-presented some of the productions with the National Theater and Concert Hall in Taipei, according to its statement. The annual festival was first launched in Taipei in 2009.

The Taichung theater will open its spring season with Portuguese director Tiago Rodrigues' 2021 production of Anton Tchekhov's "La Cerisaie" on March 10-12, headlined by French actress Isabelle Huppert, according to the statement.

In addition to "La Cerisaie," Rodrigues will stage his "Dans la mesure de l'impossible," a play based on the first-hand stories of humanitarian aid workers, at the National Theater in Taipei for TIFA, which previously planned to present two of his other works in 2021 but had to cancel them due to COVID-19.

The NTT's spring season will also see the return of director Robert Lepage and the creative team Ex Machina, with the staging of "Courville," a story set in the 1970's about a young man called Simon.

For this theater production, Lepage uses a Japanese ancestral puppetry technique called Bunraku, the theater said. Three performances of "Courville" will be staged from March 31-April 2.

After performing the first part of the musical trilogy "BOOM" at the Taichung theater in 2021, Rick Miller will bring his "BOOM X" and "BOOM YZ," solo shows that use songs as a vehicle to observe three generations over the past 50 years. Two performances of each show are scheduled on April 28-30.

Compagnie Louis Brouillard, which has staged its fairytale trilogy in Taiwan over the past few years, will give three performances of "Contes et légendes" on May 26-28, exploring young people's construction of identity in a future world where humans coexist with artificial life forms, according to the NTT.

Another program exploring the relationship between humans and machines is "Keep Breathing at Zero" by Hong Kong media artist GayBird (梁基爵), who turns the stage into "a big percussion instrument" with sound installations, robotic arms and moving images, the NTT said.

The 11 programs for the Taichung theater's spring season also cover several dance works, including Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's 50th anniversary production of the group's 1978 piece "Legacy" on May 5-7, and the premiere of choreographer Huang Yi's (黃翊) "Ink," which is based on works of modern calligrapher Tong Yang-tze (董陽孜), on June 2-4, it said.

The theater will present the Bulareyaung Dance Company's "tiaen tiamen Episode 1" by choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava on March 24-26. The title "tiaen tiamen" means "me and us" in the language of the Indigenous Paiwan tribe, and Bulareyaung is joined by singer-songwriter Aljenljeng tjaluvie (Abao) and visual artist Reretan pavavaljung for the new work.

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani from Sweden will make its debut in Taiwan on May 19-21 with two pieces -- "Skid" by Damien Jalet and "SAABA" by Sharon Eyal -- while Taiwan's Anarchy Dance Theatre will perform choreographer Hsieh Chieh-hua's (謝杰樺) new work CyborgEros" on April 22-23, the Taichung theater said.

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