Since 2018, the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) has held the PLAY ARTS Festival near the end of summer vacation with “games” and “gathering” as its core. The fourth edition of the PLAY ARTS Festival is delayed to December 11-12 due to the coronavirus outbreak, expecting to bring audiences joy in the wintertime.
As such, the theme of this year’s PLAY ARTS Festival is “The Alchemy of Joy.” With a focus on the performing arts, the festival features numerous light-hearted and interactive performances and creates a cheerful and amusing atmosphere. Joy is distilled through continuous experimentation based on the spirit of ancient alchemy, and a diversion from the pressures of the global pandemic is thus offered. During the festival, C-LAB park is transformed into a diverse arts venue for people of all ages. The curatorial team includes C-LAB’s PLAY ARTS production team, House Peace, which specializes in developing diverse performances, and WU Meng-Hsuan, who has a background of dance and art criticism. Together, they designed an outstanding arts event.
The series of programs curated by House Peace is based on the theme “Welcome to Funny Land.” On top of the four Manzai performances, which are sure to be accompanied by the sound of laughter, “Welcome to Funny Land” series also encompasses the role-playing and brainstorming games encouraging audience participation, as well as the solo performances by a magician and a drag queen with wonderful surprises. WU Meng-Hsuan has curated online family-oriented events and dance performances. The former involves interactive activities stimulating participants’ imagination and four family-friendly cinematic works, which invite audiences to pay attention to environment issues and the plights of the visually impaired and stateless children through stop motion animation, object theater, dance films, and clown performances. One of the latter dance works is presented via the Gather Town platform. The series also features the observations of dancers combining classical ballet, attempting to explore the everyday life and physical appearances online. The CLAB’s PLAY ARTS production team has also planned rich and lively programs including circus acts, which have been integrated with C-LAB’s outdoor spaces, a crazy auction, a slashie market for performing artists, and an arts-based wide game in which players experience a high degree of autonomy. The focus is on fun as audiences participate in these diverse activities.
Afternoon concerts on the lawn are important additions to this year’s PLAY ARTS Festival. HONG Pei-Yu, who has a background in the performing arts, Good Parents, and Khuann Jit Tsa Am lend their vocals, perfectly blending with surrounding performances. Moreover, C-LAB’s seasonal music event, Music Oasis, takes place during the PLAY ARTS Festival. Under the theme “Prozacing with Winter Kabedon,” the line-up consists of GoodBand, Shallow Levée, SoulFa, and Suí Suí. These live performances provide an escape from the boredom and anxiety brought about by the pandemic.
It is also worth noting that the performing arts workers who have developed alternative careers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been recruited for the SLASHIE Market to present their artistic talents and side jobs. Through the market, the public can see the daily lives of arts workers and the challenges they have experienced while reinventing themselves with a different perspective.
The walls that once enclosed C-LAB have been removed and its grounds have gradually become an open park. In this space and atmosphere, the PLAY ARTS Festival is entering its fourth year with accumulated energy from previous interactions and games. It is expected that during this festival the distance between art and life will be narrowed and a warm and joyful atmosphere will be created together with the public as this year ends. For more information about this festival and to view the performance schedule, please visit the PLAY ARTS Festival official Website or Facebook fan page.