Eight-hour Dream headlines Huayi festival

Eight-hour Dream headlines Huayi festival

Expect the bending and breaking of genres at next year's Huayi, Esplanade's annual Chinese festival of the arts.

From an eight-hour immersive theatre production, A Dream Like A Dream, to a Yue opera adaptation of German playwright Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person Of Szechwan, this upcoming edition aims to offer new arts experiences to audiences here.

The festival will run from Feb 6 to 16 next year. Tickets went on sale Wednesday.

The headlining act is Taiwanese group Performance Workshop's durational play (with a dinner break in-between), written and directed by the iconic theatre practitioner Stan Lai.

The meditative A Dream Like A Dream (2000) opens the festival and will feature a seating space called the Lotus Pond, which places about 240 audience members right in the centre of the action, in the middle of a two-storey-high stage.

A young doctor is deeply shaken when most of her patients die on her first day at work. This is the catalyst for a tale that spans many lives and many lifetimes, traversing Taipei, Shanghai and Paris, as she struggles to confront the idea of mortality. A cast of 29 performers from China and Taiwan will take on more than 100 characters.

The rest of the festival line-up will also challenge audience members to examine the boundaries between genres and art forms, as well as their own expectations of performance.

Esplanade senior producer Mimi Yee, who heads the Huayi programming team, says: "It is important for the festival to continually excite and engage audiences at deeper levels and to provide opportunities for art to be experienced in new and different ways.

"Through the programmes in Huayi 2014, we want our audiences to be able to challenge their own artistic appetites and to make new discoveries."

Home-grown dance troupe T.H.E Dance Company, for instance, will be collaborating with Taiwanese choreographer Wu Yi-San and local crosstalk pioneer Han Lao Da to create a work inspired by the traditional Chinese comedic art of crosstalk - a rapid and witty dialogue between two performers - titled The Ordinary Man.

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