Jump to the content zone at the center

Taipei Arts Festival presents “contemporary” Shakespeare

The forthcoming Taipei Arts Festival will engage and enchant the widest possible audience with Shakespeare's dramas in new, modern and original ways.

Works of the most famous English playwright such as “Macbeth,” “King Lear,” and “Hamlet” will get a modern makeover by artists and theatre troupes from abroad, who will remake the masterpieces and present three theatre works “Macbeth: Who Is That bloodied man?”(by Teatr Biuro Podrozy, Poland), “K. Lear” (by International Visual Theatre and La Compagnie des Transports Amoureux, France), and “European House” (by Teatre Lliure, Spain) that are set to overwhelm Taiwan audiences with never-seen-before dimensions.

"The three dramas are very bold and unique, and are recognized by international arts festivals,” Victoria Wang, executive director of the Taipei Arts Festival said in an interview. “They present the values of Shakespeare, but tell Shakespeare’s stories with contemporary perspectives.”

The Taipei Arts Festival, entering the 11th year, will begin on August 12 and end on September 6. Ticketing is available through http://www.artsticket.com.tw/CKSCC2005/EHome/EHome00/index.aspx

In “Macbeth: Who Is That bloodied man?” the audience will have to stand throughout the less than one hour program, but they are allowed to walk freely at the Beiping E. Road show venue , a formerly deserted bus parking lot, said Wang. “The audience will enjoy the performance from the closest distance and see actors, rushing out on motorbikes, some walking on stilts and brandishing fire torches.”

With “K. Lear,” director Marie Montegani does an adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy and presents it on stage in both sign language and spoken language. The use of a Chinese Dulcimer in the production adds a feeling of emptiness to the play.

The third international production, “European House,” according to Wang, is even bolder for there is barely any dialogue in the contemporary version of “Hamlet." "Actors and actresses have no words to express their inner struggle, not even the most famous line ‘to be or not to be’ will be heard on stage,” said Wang. The play is set with a cross-section of a three-story house owned by a well-to-do family; actors pee, bath, cry, and there are nudity scenes on stage.

Wang said the production needs to be appreciated with full attention, but that the play only tries to let audience find “who they really are.” Rock band Radiohead’s music creates a sorrowful yet youthful undertone for the drama, she added.

Apart from the three international productions, local talented musician Summer Lei and Chen Chien-chi will give two separate concerts that are tied with the theme of Shakespeare.

During the festival time, a total of 40 performances will be staged, and 45 free activities will be held. Local renowned performing groups including the Green Ray Theatre will present their latest creation.

Wang said the current economic downturn is wrenching lives out of shape for many of us, but we can always seek solace from artists, who give us energy through their artworks.