Fri, Feb 13, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Visions of the future

Productions by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson are among the highlights of the 2009 Taiwan International Festival

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER


Digital technology has become as much a part of the world of visual art as traditional tools such as paint and canvas. It isn’t surprising, then, that performance art professionals would call on digital artists to supplement their work on the stage. The 2009 Taiwan International Festival conceived of this year’s event to celebrate the collaboration between the older mediums with new media.

The festival begins Friday next week in the plaza between Taipei City’s National Theater and National Concert Hall with a series of performances timed to celebrate the completion of renovations on the two iconic buildings. It runs until April.

The theme for this year is Vision of the Future, and the 16 Taiwanese and international performances of dance, theater and music were chosen because they fuse traditional stage elements with the latest in media technology.

Canadian theater company lemieux.pilon 4d art uses virtual technology in Norman, a work that examines the life of animator Norman McLaren. Led by multidisciplinary artists Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, it combines film, music and animation in a production that sees a single actor interacting with projected images.

Multimedia artist Klaus Obermaier applies similar visual elements in Le Sacre du Printemps, a co-production with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). In front of the orchestra, a small stage serves as a platform on which a dancer performs while cameras and electronic devices project the figure’s virtual image on to large screens.

Italian theater company Compagnia T.P.O. combines dance, visual art, mechanical installation and stunning lighting effects in The Japanese Garden, an interactive children’s performance


WHAT: 2009 Taiwan International Festival

TICKETS: NT$500 to NT$8,000, available through NTCH ticketing outlets or online at



►National Concert Hall, Taipei City

World to Come, Feb. 28 at 7:30pm

Book of Longing, March 7 and March 8 at 7:30pm

Le Sacre du Printemps, March 28 and March 29 at 7:30pm

On the Highway 66, April 3 at 7:30pm

►National Theater, Taipei City

Orlando, Feb. 21 and Feb. 24 to Feb. 28 at 7:30pm and Feb. 22 and March 1 at 2:30pm

Alas (Wings), March 6 and March 7 at 7:30pm and March 8 at 2:30pm

Norman, March 12 to March 14 at 7:30pm and March 15 at 2:30pm

The Mountain Dawn, March 20 and March 21 at 7:30pm and March 21 and March 22 at 2:30pm

Sleeping Beauty, March 27 and March 28 at 7:30pm and March 29 at 2:30pm

Swan Lake, March 30 to April 1 at 7:30pm

►National Experimental Theater, Taipei City

The Japanese Garden, March 12 to March 14 at 7:30pm, March 13 at 5:30pm and March 14 and March 15 at 10am and 2:30pm

The Mice War, March 20 and March 21 at 7:30pm and March 21 and March 22 at 2:30pm

Tian-Bo Hall (天波樓), March 26 at 7:30pm

Meeting at Old Town (古城訓弟), March 27 at 7:30pm

Jhou-Chu Drives Away Three Monsters (周處除三害), March 28 at 2:30pm

Defeat the Flag Array (大破銅旗陣), March 28 at 7:30pm

that will randomly select audience members to participate in a work that transforms their dance steps into poetic audio-visual language.

Another family-oriented performance is the The Mice War. NSO resident composer David Chesky

uses Latin, jazz, hip-hop, funk and

classical music to meditate on the absurdity of war in a collaboration with Shiny Shoes Children’s Theater (鞋子兒童實驗劇團).

Festival organizers also invited some of the most innovative directors and composers working in theater today. Experimental theater director and designer Robert Wilson applies his minimalist aesthetic to Virginia Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness novel Orlando, which sees its much-anticipated Taiwan premiere next Saturday (see review in next Friday’s Taipei Times). Beijing opera diva Wei Hai-ming (魏海敏) interprets both male and female roles in the solo performance.

Academy Award-winning composer Philip Glass adapts the poems and paintings of Leonard Cohen into music in Book of Longing (to be reviewed in the March 6 edition of the Taipei Times), an artistic feast that features four singers and a live band mingling among projected images of Cohen’s illustrations.


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