Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Finding tranquilitydespite loud drums

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Meeting with Vajrasattva features spiritual dances and drums.

PHOTO COURTESY OF U THEATRE

U Theatre's (優人神鼓) Meeting with Vajrasattva (金剛心), a revamped version of its 2002 work, is coming to Taipei.

The four shows at the National Theater, from July 22 to July 25, mark the 15th anniversary of the reclusive troupe, which is known for its spiritual drumming sessions.

Meeting with Vajrasattva took the top prize in last year's Tai-hsin Arts Award (台新藝術獎), in the performance arts category.

The show features precise rhythms and complex dances, Buddhist chants and martial arts, with a story that features a warrior seeking self-fulfillment.

There are six scenes in the performance. "Pushing aside the brushwood and finding the snake" is the segment with the most dramatic tension, in which two performers, one holding a long drumstick and the other empty-handed, begin to battle each other.

According to Liu Ruo-yu (劉若瑀), formerly known as Liu Ching-ming), artistic director of U Theatre, the two warriors on stage represent persistence and irony within one's heart.

"When one pushes aside the grass and finds the snake in one's mind, the good and the evil within oneself begins to converse," Liu said. Accompanying the battle there are Buddhist chants and Beiguan performances.

In the last segment, "The heart owning the sword," there is a grand scene of five warriors drumming -- while at the same time performing martial arts movements -- which represents finding tranquility amid chaos.

"Despite the loudness and conflict on stage, the core of the performance is about looking at oneself with poise," Liu said.

Tickets for the show are available at CKS ticketing outlets, www.artsticket.com.tw, Or go to www.utheatre.org.tw.

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