Translated as “beating drums in a peaceful state of one’s own,” U-Theatre was founded in 1988 by Liu Ruo-Yu, who introduced novel facets of drumming, meditation, and martial arts to create a series of original works integrated with a wide range of elements drawn from music, literature, drama, dance and ritual. The program “Sword of Wisdom” conveys the power of solidity and tranquility and is a collection of selected chapters of their international touring repertoire, telling the tale the Brave One must take in his practice of moral teachings. He faces the unknowns of life, which result in fear, and this leads him to begin the search for wisdom. By holding on to the sword, the Brave One sees his own weakness, yet by holding on to the sword, he also finds the courage needed to confront life.
A leading theatrical performer in the early 1980s and a native of Taiwan, Ms. Liu earned her MA in Theatre Arts from New York University, and was selected for a year-long master class under Polish director Jerzy Grotowski, and in 2008 was awarded the 12th Annual Taiwan National Award for Arts: Best Art Performer. Music director Huang Chih-Chun, a drumming and martial arts practitioner for over 30 years, joined U-Theatre in 1993 as Drumming Master. Born in Malaysia, Mr. Huang is known for his mastery in synthesizing the two disciplines into a new form of performing arts. His unconventional training regime of “meditation before drumming” has both elevated the disposition of the troupe and laid down a solid foundation for a contemporary artistic expression uniquely characteristic of U-Theatre.
The most prominent feature of “Sword of Wisdom” is the sounds of wooden and metal percussion that are added to the sound of drumming. Together with Gurdjieff Movements (the sacred dance), famous for its precision in movement, U-Theatre presents a higher level of drumming as an art—“a synthesis of theatre, percussion, martial arts and meditation” (The Times, London).
$69–$53; CMA members $62–$48
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