Thu, Jun 01, 2017 - Page 14 News List

An urban-focused, theater-packed festival for Taipei

‘City, and Its Future’ is the theme of the 19th Taipei Arts Festival, which aims to use the performing arts to explore history, philosophy and ethnicity

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Contemporary Legendary Theater has teamed up with Germany’s Christoph Lepschy for its newest production, Faust, which will be performed at Zhongshan Hall in September as part of the Taipei Arts Festival.

Photo Courtesy of Kuo Cheng-chang

The folks behind the annual Taipei Arts Festival have been thinking a lot about cities — past, present and future — and they want Taipei residents and others to do the same.

Inspired by the Italian author Italo Calvino and his book Invisible Cities, the 19th edition of the festival is offering a wide array of avant-garde theater, music and dance performances, workshops and forums with the theme “City, and Its Future” that will seek to explore history, philosophy and ethnicity and inspire audience members to imagine Taipei’s future and spirit.

“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours,” Calvino wrote, a quote highlighted by the festival.

The programmers have drawn a wide array of artists, Taiwanese and foreign, including Contemporary Legend Theater (當代傳奇劇場), Tainaner Ensemble (台南人劇團), Yi Shin Taiwanese Opera Troupe (一心戲劇團), Deutsches Theater Berlin, Theatre de la Ville, and The Wooster Group, including several cross-cultural collaborations.

The shows will take place at the Metropolitan Hall, Wellspring Theater, Zhongshan Hall, the amphitheater in Da-an Park and other venues, with admission running the gamut from free to NT$3,000 tickets.

Two programs have already sold out: Remote Taipei (遙感城市), an interactive treasure hunt/exploration of Taipei’s alleys and byways, and Taipei Notes (台北筆記), Taipei-based Voleur du Feu Theatre’s adaptation of Oriza Hirata’s Tokyo Notes, which was inspired by Yasujiro Ozu’s film Tokyo Story.

There will be four world premieres in the line-up, including Contemporary Legendary Theater production of Faust at Zhongshan Hall in September. The Taipei-based Chinese opera troupe has gained international renown for its reworkings of William Shakespeare’s plays. To tackle Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, it teamed up with German dramaturge Christoph Lepschy.

The New York City-based experimental theater troupe The Wooster Group will premiere of THE B-SIDE: “Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation, which is a performance based on an album was recorded in1964 by folklorist Bruce Jackson.

The Tainaner Ensemble is being directed by Pascal Rambert in Ghosts (一家之魂), while the Yi Shin Taiwanese Opera Troupe worked with a foreign director, Lukas Hemleb, for the first time for Hazardous Games around Hearts and Arrows (啾咪!愛咋)

Other productions to look for include Deutsches Theater Berlin’s performances of Warten auf Godot, its version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

The festival has a great Web site ( in Chinese (traditional and simplified) and English with information about all the programs and forums as well as special ticket offers.

Early bird discounts of 25 percent off the regular ticket prices are available until June 20. In addition, there are two special offers: “Traveler” for purchases of tickets to five or more programs at one time, and the “Mover and Shaker” for a purchase of eight or more tickets at the same time.

Tickets are being sold online via the Web site or at National Theater Concert Hall box offices. However, you need to look for the “Special 2017臺北藝術節” category on Web site instead of looking under theater or dance (

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