The first installment of the International Theater Festival opens this week
with performances by Voix Polyphoniques from France and Birgitte Grimstad,
who will perform in a double bill with Taiwan's U Theater(憂劇團), a
veritable feast of non-mainstream theater. Voix Polyphoniques, which opens
the festival, uses a capella and ritual movements to create a kind of
vocalized tableau vivant that asks more questions than it answers. While its
physicality is subordinated to voice, making it stand out from the majority
of performances that make up the festival, its use of voice (as opposed to
speech) to tell a story is in line with the festival's move away from
conventional dialogue-oriented drama. The Empress?Roast and Nakasone both
deal with questions of food, passion and song. Voix draws on a rich
tradition of European folk with Gypsy, Jewish and Magyar roots to create a
rich tapestry of human life.
Birgitte Gramstad continues the musical motif with her Mass for the Mother.
An important folk artist working out of Norway, Grimstad began adding
costume and props to her musical performances and in 1991 started her
one-woman Little Windharp Theatre. The show she brings to Taipei explores
the roles that the mother has played in the mythology of many cultures using
voice, gesture and dance.
Gramstad will perform a double bill with Taiwan's outstanding U Theater, who
will perform Flower with Smile(捻花), which follows the same new-agey
themes, but in this case drawing on the rich tradition of Chinese tai chi
(太極) to create a world in which humans can put themselves in tune with the
Voix Polyphoniques will perform The Empress' Roast at 7:30pm today and
tomorrow and at 2:30pm tomorrow. Nakasone will be performed at 2:30pm and
7:30pm on Sunday. Birgitte Gramstad and U Theater will perform 7:30pm on
April 5 and 6. All performances are at the Experimental Theater.