Fri, May 02, 2003 - Page 19 News List

No U-turn for the burning lady


`The Lady's Not for Burning' is a play with a message.


The cast and crew of Kaohsiung's Mindful Phoenix Arts are at it again, staging their third full-length play this weekend and next.

The foreigner-founded theatrical company's first two productions, Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire and a tri-lingual staging of Romeo and Juliet were both enthusiastically received and the group is hoping to repeat that success.

Their third full-length production, Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning will be staged entirely in English, though the producers will be providing a detailed Mandarin-language plot outline in an attempt to keep local audiences from shying away from the play, whose dialogue is notoriously difficult to follow.

"The physicalization and wit of the play are all right there in front of you," said Jenny Bennet, who is serving double duty both directing and acting in the production. She is also, along with fellow expatriate Sebastian Thomas, one of Mindful Phoenix's founding members.

"Everything I do is about language. If people are committed to communicating, that's the prize," she said, adding that the program contains a glossary of some of the script's more difficult words.

The play revolves around a young woman who is condemned for witchcraft in a medieval village and an angry young man who claims to be the devil and wants to be hanged, a punishment that the authorities deny him. Over the course of a day and night, matters are resolved concerning each of them as well as various members of the mayor's household.

While that's the basis of the plot, Fry's real concern when he wrote the play in 1948 was writing a light drama without shirking the horrors of recent war. Sounds timely? The folks at Mindful Phoenix thought so too.

Performances are tomorrow and Sunday and next Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11. The show starts at 7:30pm at the Nan Fong Art Theater. There are also 3pm matinees both Sundays, May 4 and 11, with half-price admission. For tickets and information about The Lady's Not for Burning, call (0922) 179 016 for English service or (07) 813 0074 for information in Chinese. The Nan Fong Art Theater is located at B1, 5, Lane 56, Jungjeng Second Road in Kaohsiung, close to the Kaohsiung Cultural Center behind the new President's Department Store.

The house will open 30 minutes before curtain-up.

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