Thu, Apr 12, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Taipei stages become battlefronts

From a marathon French production of Shakespeare’s “Richard III” to a Jewish girl’s harrowing tale of hiding from the Nazis and a Taiwanese take on a Spanish absurdist’s anti-war classic as well as a look at the toll cyberbullying and trolling is having on society, there is a lot to digest at the city’s theaters this weekend

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Given the often appalling ignorance in Taiwan of the horrors of the Holocaust and the Nazi’s Third Reich, as demonstrated in recent years by use of Nazi-themed costumes for a high-school cosplay event, the use of a cartoon figure of Adolf Hitler to sell German-made space heaters, or the overreliance on Hitler by politicians seeking to slur their opponents or rival parties, repeat performances of The Diary of Anne Frank are badly needed.

With the support once again of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office Taipei and help from the Ben Feng Cultural Foundation, The Diary of Anne Frank will be performed three times this weekend at the Umay Theater and then move to Tainan for three shows, starting on May 19, at the Tainan E-Warehouse.

Kesselmen’s 1997 adaptation of Frank’s story about the life of her family and four other Jews hiding in a secret annex above her father’s offices in Nazi-occupied Netherlands includes information that was not available when Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett originally adapted Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl for the stage in 1955.

The multinational cast from the December production will reprise their roles, led by Taipei American School middle-school student Camryn Rowe as Anne, and Butterfly Effect stalwarts D.C. Rapier and Sarah Brooks as her parents.

The show will be performed in English, with Chinese surtitles.

While Hall has put on plays before at other Huashan sites, the Anne Frank tale offers his company a chance to demonstrate that it can handle an expanded run in a bigger venue, as well as a chance to move beyond its Taipei-base.

‘THE UNNAMED’

Last, but not least, is a play about a new battleground in modern-day life, cyberbullying, and cultural dangers of the ever-growing addiction to social media, with an expanded run of its own.

M.O.V.E. Theatre (動見体劇團) tonight launches its two-weekend run of The Unnamed (病號) at the Wellspring Theater in the Gongguan District (公館).

Director Fu Hong-zheng (符宏征) often explores contemporary history, cultural and social issues in the 12-year-old company’s works, so the problems of trolling, abuse and Internet addiction and their impact on mental health are a natural progression of its earlier works.

The Unnamed, which began as a university drama class activity, asks who should bear responsibility for the harm, mental, physical or financial caused by statements or campaigns over the Internet and via cellphone apps.

Much of the play was inspired by research into a number of suicides in Taiwan and other nations in recent years that have been linked to cyberbullying.

The play, written by actor/playwright Daniel Wang (王靖惇), features nine characters, none of whom is given a name, and it begins with a suicide.

Other core M.O.V.E. members, including choreographer/movement director Tung I-fen (董怡芬) and stage designer Darren Liu (劉達倫), worked on the show.

The Unnamed, like Picnic on the Battlefield, will be performed in Mandarin.

Performance Notes

WHAT: Richard III

WHEN: Tomorrow at 7pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm

WHERE: National Theater (國家戲劇院), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)

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