Fri, Jul 03, 2009 - Page 15 News List

All Japan’s a stage

By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Tickets for the 2009 World View Series: Japan Only, which opens in October with Tadashi Suzuki’s Cyrano de Bergerac, went on sale Wednesday. The World View Series is an annual event sponsored by the National CKS Cultural Center featuring the performance art of a single country. It has proved enormously successful in bringing high-profile artists to Taiwan, while retaining a place for non-mainstream artists as well, giving Taiwan’s audiences a peak at the whole spectrum of foreign performance art.

The series opens with some heavy guns: Suzuki is one of the powerhouses of Japanese theater and the developer of the notoriously demanding Suzuki method of acting. Drawing on traditional Japanese Noh and Kabuki theater, he has sought to extend their influence into the 20th and 21st centuries. The level of recognition he has achieved for his integration of traditional and modern performance art is one that many Taiwanese artists aspire to.

In presenting his adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s classic, Cyrano de Bergerac, a piece that was immortalized in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed 1983 production starring Derek Jacobi in the title role, Suzuki offers further insight into the dangers (and pleasures) of mixing dramatic traditions. Cyrano de Bergerac will play at the National Theater from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11.

Another big name likely to attract sellout crowds is Ryoichi Kurokawa. For the World View Series, Kurokawa, one of the world’s foremost multimedia artists, will be collaborating with local composer Wang Sue-ya (王思雅) and percussionist and Ju Percussion Group (朱宗慶打擊樂團) director Wu Shih-san (吳思珊) to produce Celeritas (Oct. 22 to Oct. 25).

Those with an interest in contemporary dance may want to see Hiroaki Umeda. A rising star in the Japanese dance scene, Umeda will present his mix of choreography and multimedia effects titled While Going to a Condition and Accumulated Layout (Oct. 9 to Oct. 11), in which “the poetic body meets the technological stage.” Dance will also be showcased by Noism, a group of young dancers that are credited with pushing the remarkably flexible boundaries of modern dance (Oct. 16 to Oct. 18).

In music, the Yoshida Brothers will perform Tsugaru Shamisen, a production that integrates traditional shamisen music with rock ’n’ roll rhythms (Oct. 25).

For the more traditional-minded, there will be two concerts under the umbrella of Musical Journey of Japan: one spans the history of Japanese music from the Edo period to the recent past while the other takes a geographic theme, showcasing music from various regions. (Nov. 5 and Nov. 6).

A rare opportunity to see authentic Kabuki can be found in the Kabuki Lecture Demonstration (Oct. 10 and Oct. 11), in which short performances will be followed by explanations of the traditions and skills that these selections illustrate.

Details and ticketing information can be found at www.artsticket.com.tw.

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