Stomp (破銅爛鐵), winner of New York’s Obie Award and London’s Olivier Award for Best Choreography, is returning to Taiwan for eight shows starting next Tuesday.
“We brought in the show two years ago and people weren’t sure what it was … but audiences loved it,” said Yu Ting-fu (余亭甫) of Kuang Hong Arts Management (寬宏演藝).
“It’s clever percussive music, plus contemporary dance and comedy,” Yu added.
Stomp centers on an eight-member cast that makes music using everyday objects: tapping on loose garbage, sweeping vigorously, blowing air into bottles and pounding on kitchen sinks, bongo-style.
In one dimly lit scene, the cast stands in a row holding Zippo cigarette lighters, flicking on the flame and snapping the cap in precisely timed orchestration.
There is no traditional narrative, but the comedy zips along in a series of non-verbal skits.
Instead of speaking, eight characters — distinct personalities such as the streetwise Bin Bitch and the wild and unpredictable Doctor Who — interact with one another through drum and acrobatic dance. They interact with audience members, too, through call and response and occasionally by borrowing an unlikely new instrument.
“The special thing about this production is that no two shows are the same,” Yu said.
Each performance is framed by the same numbers, but actors can improvise and add content regularly.
“Last time, at the end of each show, the cast talked about how to change up the sounds and choreography and to create little surprises for the next performance,” he said.
Stomp was created in 1991 in Brighton, UK by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, street performers who wanted to present percussion shows without hauling around a drum kit.
When: From Tuesday to Aug. 24 at 7:30pm and Aug. 23 and Aug. 24 at 2:30pm
Where: National Theater (兩廳院國家戲劇院)
Admission: From NT$800 to NT$4,200, available at www.kham.com.tw
In 1994, it premiered at New York’s Orpheum Theater, where it received the Obie and Drama Desk Award for Most Unique Theater Experience later that year.
Now marking its 20th anniversary, it has become Orpheum Theater’s longest-running production. Stomp is also performed worldwide, by up to four other companies at a time based in North America and Europe.
The London touring company of Stomp will be at the National Theater (國家戲劇院) for eight shows from Tuesday to Aug. 24. Performances are 100 minutes long with no intermission. For more information, visit www.stomplondon.com.