Friday, August 13, 2010

Local theatrical productions at Taipei Arts Festival spiced with humor, romance, sadness

By Nancy T. Lu

Allow Taiwan’s very own performing talents to entertain you at the ongoing 2010 Taipei Arts Festival.

Roll in the aisle with laughter when the Four Chairs Theatre stages “Waiting for What!?” at the Nanhai Gallery in Taipei at 7:45 p.m. on August 12 to 15. Panda twosome Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan decide on a prison break while waiting for their favorite steamed dumplings at the zoo. The zookeeper is after all without weapon. The pandas seem to be bolder than humanity trapped at the workplace and in a stifling living environment. This outstanding program of the Taipei Fringe Festival 2009 deserves a look.

Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group has also been invited to bring back “Michael Jackson” at the Zhongshan Hall in Taipei on August 19 to 21. Performances start at 7:45 p.m. except for the matinee show on August 22. The late pop icon’s hit songs “Thriller,” “Bad” and “Dangerous” get a Taiwanese interpretation in this comeback production. Revisit the past and refresh your memories. Each scene’s link to Taiwan’s history is remarkable.

The Slow Island Theatre Group’s “Mint, Rosemary and the Flower With No Name” likewise drew special notice at the Taipei Fringe Festival. As a result, it has been picked for inclusion also in the ongoing Taipei Arts Festival. Love relationships in the story are not just between woman and man but also between woman and woman. The performances will take place at the Zongshan Hall in Taipei on August 27, 28 and 29.

"Timeless Love – Concert of Dichterliebe & Nanguan” on September 3, 4 and 5 at the Zhongshan Hall in Taipei will have conductor Chien Wen-pin playing the piano for a change and will have nanguan performing artist Wang Xin-Xin and tenor Tilman Lichdi blend music from East and West in an unprecedented experimental performance. Although this is the only concert program at this year’s Taipei Arts Festival, it gets a theatrical treatment, pointed out Victoria Wen-yi Wang, executive director of the Taipei Arts Festival.

“The Impossible Times – Taiwan Musical Trilogy” turns to an important page in history at 7:45 p.m. on September 10, 11 and 12 at the National Theater. There will be matinee performances at 2:45 p.m. on the second and the third day. Chiang Wei-shui’s heroic leadership in the colonial resistance movement in the history of Taiwan merits focus in an original production of the All Music Theatre Company with Mel Chung-heng Yang as artistic director. Yin Cheng-yang gets cast in the leading role in the tale about the life of Chiang.

Modern theater makes creative use of media as seen in The Puppet & Its Double Theater’s “The Cutter of Happiness” at 7:45 p.m. on September 9, 10 and 11 as well as at 2:45 p.m. on September 11 and 12 at the Experimental Theater of the National CKS Cultural Center in Taipei. Hence, actors and puppets come together to narrate the story of the paper-cutting grandma capable of scissoring tears and sadness and the little boy who does not heed his grandma’s urging to stay indoor when it rains.

The festival now on its 12th year will wind up on September 12. For tickets, go to or call tel. (02)3393-9888.