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U-Theatre's performance at Saudi festival a rare treat: organizers

2012/07/09 13:36:35

Dammam, Saudi Arabia, July 9 (CNA) Taiwan's U-Theatre's concerts in Saudi Arabia were a rare opportunity for some people there to see an artistic performance, the organizers of the Saudi Cultural Programme said Sunday.

The troupe's presentation at the cultural summer festival in Dammam put more Saudi people in touch with the performing arts and was one of the most highly praised performances at the event, the organizers said

U-Theatre, known for its unique combination of drumming, Zen meditation and martial arts, performed an adapted version of its highly acclaimed piece "Sound of the Ocean" at the festival.

Described by the New York Times as "mesmerizing, "Sound of the Ocean" traces the cyclic journey of water from a drop to a stream and from a river to the ocean.

The piece was debuted in 1998 to wide acclaim and has been performed in the U.S., France, and the U.K.

Members of the group said they were gratified by the enthusiasm of the Saudi audiences, who waved their hands energetically to the rhythm of the music.

Some people rushed to the stage to take photos with the group after the performances, which took place over a five-day period from July 4-8.

However, due to time constraints and cultural customs, the 85-minute production was shortened to less than 50 minutes and all the parts were performed by men for the first time in the troupe's history.

In addition, the cast wore wear long-sleeved tops and pants instead of the usual traditional costumes, and the sound level was lowered at local authorities' request.

U-Theatre drumming director Huang Chih-chun told CNA he hopes the troupe could perform the full version of "Sound of the Ocean" in the Middle Eastern country one day.

Among the five foreign groups that took part in the festival, U-Theatre was the only professional Asian troupe. It was also the first professional Taiwanese art group to perform in Saudi Arabia.

Huang said he hopes U-Theatre could return to Saudi Arabia in 2014 to perform at the opening of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture.

U-Theatre's performances in Saudi Arabia have attracted an audienceof some 3,000 people.

(By James Lee and Christie Chen)
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