Fri, Jun 25, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Banging the drum for the cause of Tibetan spirituality

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

U Theatre will take to the stage of Taichung's Chungshan Hall tomorrow evening, when it performs a revamped version of its heavily spiritual 2001 hit, Meeting with Vajrasattva.

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Taiwan's reclusive performance troupe, U Theatre (優劇場) descends from its Laochuan Mountain (老泉山) retreat this weekend, when it travels to Taichung on the second leg of its current three-city tour to perform a revamped version of its 2001 work, Meeting with Vajrasattva (金剛心).

Founded by Liu Ching-ming (劉靜敏) in 1988, the group's performances combine elements of Beiguan opera, traditional religious drumming, ceremonial striding, stilt walking, martial arts and the unique "sacred drumming" (神鼓).

First performed four years ago, but rewritten by Liu and the group's drum master, Huang Chih-wen (黃志文) earlier this year, the reworked Meeting with Vajrasattva sees the U Theatre combining elements of traditional Chinese operatic dance, tai-chi, Buddhist chanting and, of course, plenty of sacred drumming.

Based on a story of a travelers' chance meeting with the Tibetan Buddhist god of wisdom, Vajrasattva, the heavily spiritual show explores the premise that man should have the courage to remove irritations when investigating wisdom and to challenge himself when seeking knowledge.

While the show includes some minor-theatrical and dramatic elements, the meaning and vague story line of Meeting with Vajrasattva is, like all U Theatre performances, projected by the troupe's actions and movements as well as the beat and potency of the unique "sacred drumming."

Performance notes:

What: U Theatre: Meeting with Vajrasattva (優劇場 - 金剛心) Where: Chungshan Hall (中山堂), Taichung. 98 Hsuehshi Rd, (台中市學士路98號).

When: Saturday, June 26 at 7:30pm.

Tickets: Tickets cost from NT$300 to NT$1,200 and are available from all major ticketing outlets, or at the venue.

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