Now entering its sixth year, at the core of the PLAY ARTS Festival are “games” and “gathering.” This year’s curatorial axis was derived from phenomena observed by curator LAN Pei-Chih while living in southern Taiwan over the past decade. The focus is on keywords and terms, such as land, slow living, and futurity, in an attempt to create encounters in downtown Taipei based on the bonds between people and land and “Taiwaneseness.” Topics include folk festivals, environmental awareness, laborers, and self-actualization. Amid the transformation of contemporary performing arts groups, this festival is a good starting point for accessing their performances.
Under the influence of globalization, qualitative changes taking place on the land and among people have become irreversible trends. It is hoped that ethnic, class, gender, and age diversities can be presented through the gathering of artists working with different styles. Non-mainstream cultural artistic practices and communities allow us to see an alternative futurity and to redefine “locality.” The 2023 PLAY ARTS Festival – SHOW ME A PLATE! collects the vigor and energy of the land in cultural landscapes, with diverse and alternative futuristic artistic practices the components and games, dance, theater, circus, music, images, and markets the cooking methods. While looking back on the year, enjoy this vast and wonderful performing arts buffet.
This year, Southerners Come to Play, a blockbuster outdoor concert, takes place on the lawn. Independent punk rock and reggae bands made up of members from Southeast Asia have been invited to perform, in addition to a dance troupe that specializes in blending the traditional and the modern. The three independent bands and one dance troupe in this line-up are all comprised of migrant workers. Together, they present lively and fun music and dance performances.
Tsí-á-tshiū thuân-suat, by Chiayi-based Our Theatre, combines local elements with the beautiful lilting tones of the Taiwanese (Hokkien) dialect. This production depicts the heartwarming story of a lifelong friendship between a girl and a tree and is suited to the whole family. The dance performance line-up also includes Ku & Dancers X Bagmaster International Co., Ltd., bringing environment- and space-inspired improvisations to heat-up the winter weekend. Led by HUANG Huai-Te, Dashing Theater’s interactive performance is both energetic and enthusiastic, helping audience members to rid themselves of the year’s accumulated heaviness.
Day and Night Co-Performances make up this year’s special project and include collaborations by Hoochuu Breakfast and circus and acrobatic group HoooH, as well as by Beer to Go and playwright Uray CHEN. They explore daily life, which is filled with joy, anger, love, and hate, through two important modern-day routines, eating breakfast and drinking.
There are also many highlights among the indoor performances. For example, Midnight Sound Maker has designed an electronic music party space for children aged 12 and under, based on the theme of plant conservation. L'Enfant S. Physical Theatre’s Oui Chef Oui is a mime performance that also serves up delicious cuisine, moving between fiction and reality in the presentation of a middle-aged actor’s state of mind. Uncertain Studio has created an accessible board game and an exhibition based on issues related to environmental protection and petrochemicals, in which players immerse themselves in various roles and situations. In cooperation with the Women Make Waves Taiwan International Film Festival, Going, Going to the Movies includes screenings of specially selected films, based on themes of family, gender, nature, and life, which offer diverse perspectives and audience encounters.
This festival takes place at the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB), within a park that housed the former Air Force Command Headquarters. Over the years, it has included a diversity of exhibitions and performances in a variety of spaces. Following the 2023 Creative Expo Taiwan, held in September, the PLAY ARTS Festival provides the public with abundant and colorful artistic settings, in a curatorial style that encourages interactivity and the playing of games, as well as accessible performing arts works that respond to the contemporary social atmosphere. People of all ages are invited to participate in this year-end banquet! For more information and performance schedule, please visit the official website (https://playarts.clab.org.tw/ ) or the Play Arts Facebook page.