Preview: Macao Arts Festival 2018
In April and May this year, the Macao Arts Festival returns for an entire month to bring together the region and the world’s best arts.
Now in its 29th edition, this year’s festival is themed ‘origin’, focusing on the spring of life, with plenty of programmes and performances aimed at broadening visitors’ views on life. A total of 26 programmes split across seven categories will be presented this year.
In the first category, in line with its theme of Origin, audiences can experience huge, sprawling theatrical events, with some of Asia’s most revered and fast rising stars taking to the stage. Under this category, expect adaptations of famous text and literary works such as opening show Das Kapital by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and the Suzuki Company of Japan’s Trojan Women, while dancers will also be highlighted, with Taiwan’s Cloud Gate 2 closing the entire festival with 13 Tongues, taking inspiration from a legendary street artist of the 60s known for his mastery over embodying multiple roles, regardless of age or gender.
In the second category, titled Groundbreakers: Connection, Singaporeans might spot a familiar face, as local theatre company Nine Years Company heads to Macao to premiere their newest show Pissed Julie, inspired by August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, in a co-production between Macao and Singapore. Experimental works here are abound, with Macao based Dream Theater Association presenting a show about the shipbuilding industry, and Macau Experimental Theatre’s Migration, about two generations of Indonesian migrant workers.
In Cross-disciplinary Creations: Theatre, two Belgium theatre companies will be present to present works. The first, a co-production between Ersatz (Belgium), Hong Kong artists Tracy Wong and Mao Wei, and visual artists from France, is titled Les Curious Fringes – Blast of the Cave, and melds movement and visual art to tell a story that will have audiences questioning the ideas of identity and selfhood. Meanwhile, Belgium’s Peeping Tom will present 32 rue Vandenbraden, inspired by Shohei Imamura’s 1983 film The Ballad of Narayama, where a son brings his mother atop a mountain to die. In this performance, they are replaced by six inhabitants of an isolated mountain-top community, as they struggle to survive with a warped reality and crushing loneliness.
Not all the works are mindbending or necessarily difficult to understand though, and the festival promises accessible family friendly works that will still wow audiences with their artistry. Soak up some top class mask action with Germany-based Familie Flöz’s Infinita, a family comedy that will take audiences on a journey through the miracle of life and the end of it, with death, while UK’s Turned On Its Head offers an immersive experience for young ones with their highly interactive family dance show Sponge.
Lastly, the Macao Arts Festival will also be presenting traditional arts forms, with Dóci Papiaçám di Macau Drama Group staging their annual masterpiece, as a group of local Macanese actors take to the stage and point out the social ills via sarcasm and condemnation in a humorous, fiercely local piece. Meanwhile, the Macao Kaifong Cantonese Opera Juvenile’s Troupe will also be given a chance to present a traditional piece of Cantonese Opera, with the classic Hanjiang Gate.
Beyond stage performances, music and exhibitions will also be available to attend at the festival. Experience both international and Macanese art at their finest, with the 29th edition of the Macao Arts Festival, pushing the limits of art and widening your perspectives beyond imagination.
The 29th Macao Arts Festival runs from 27th April – 31st May 2018 across various venues, For full schedule and tickets, visit their website here