Taipei Confidential

Less and less of my daily affairs are suitable for discussion in an open forum.  Helping to organize a festival, direct a show, and plan for the future necessarily requires discretion to turn mountains into confidential little molehills.

From time to time I get a chance to see the city.  In the month since I arrived, I have taken one day off and gone out three times.  Yesterday, I went out to see U Theater’s production at the National Theater with the artistic director of our festival and director of our show.  We are using the U Theater’s rehearsal space do create our show, so it was valuable to see the sort of work that they create.

The overarching aesthetic was one of clear and clean simplicity enforced by an extraordinary synchronicity of movement.  The group is made up primarily of taiko drummers who foray into dance and theater.  Last nights production also employed a multi-generational troupe of 65 extras.

I can’t help it: I project every show I see in Taiwan onto the island’s cultural and political psyche as a sort of model of interpretation.  I live two streets down from one of the major sites of the 20-day 24-hour sit-in protests calling for the deposition of the Taiwanese president.  I fall asleep to their chanting.

Seeing the children and seniors performing the same simple choreographies with military precision was an echo of the realities just a few blocks away.

For two weeks in December I am to help direct an acrobatic performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Thailand.  Last week’s news of the military coup set me on edge and the international travel advisories for the region made me a little nervous – but then again how can I even consider backing down?  Being on the creation team for A Midsummer Night’s Dream under martial law in Asia is the sort of mix of art, politics, and internationalism that I have dreamt about for years.

Side note: I love Taiwanese ravergirl short-shorts.

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