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'This is not an Embassy' returns to Taiwan after European tour

04/10/2024 08:59 PM
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The three performers in "This is not an Embassy" perform a part of the play at the National Theater in Taipei Wednesday. Photo by Chang Chen-chou, courtesy of NTCH April 10, 2024
The three performers in "This is not an Embassy" perform a part of the play at the National Theater in Taipei Wednesday. Photo by Chang Chen-chou, courtesy of NTCH April 10, 2024

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) A fictional Republic of China (Taiwan) embassy that has been built in three European countries in a play about the diplomatic situation faced by the island returns to Taipei at the National Theater this weekend, organizers said Wednesday.

"This is not an Embassy" performed by three Taiwanese -- a retired diplomat, a jazz musician and the founder of a nongovernmental organization promoting exchanges between Taiwan and other countries -- will be staged from Friday to Sunday, according to the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH).

The play jointly-produced by the NTCH and the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne in Switzerland premiered in German capital Berlin in January and was then presented in the Austrian capital Vienna, as well as the Swiss cities of Basel and Lausanne, according to the arts center.

The three players on stage -- 72-year-old former Ambassador to Belize David Wu (吳建國), 32-year-old Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association founder Chiayo Kuo (郭家佑), and 28-year-old jazz musician Debby Wang (王思雅) -- shared their own stories and views on Taiwan as a country while establishing an embassy in the places where they performed.

Photo by Claudia Ndebele, courtesy of NTCH April 10, 2024
Photo by Claudia Ndebele, courtesy of NTCH April 10, 2024

During a news conference Wednesday, director Stefan Kaegi said he began "understanding how peculiar the international situation of Taiwan is," because of an invitation to give a lecture in Taipei from the Trade Office of Swiss Industries (in Taiwan) about two years ago.

"I wondered that I have nothing to do with trade or industries, so they answered me 'but actually we are a kind of the embassy,'" said Kaegi, a co-founder of the Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll theater group.

Kaegi then visited Taiwan's representative offices in Germany and France and became interested in "all the creative solutions you and your representatives and NGOs find to put Taiwan on the international map."

Director and documentary theater maker Stefan Kaegi explains the production during a news conference at the National Theater in Taipei Wednesday. Photo by Chang Chen-chou, courtesy of NTCH April 10, 2024
Director and documentary theater maker Stefan Kaegi explains the production during a news conference at the National Theater in Taipei Wednesday. Photo by Chang Chen-chou, courtesy of NTCH April 10, 2024

The three performers were invited to take part in the project after Kaegi interviewed more than 70 Taiwanese people ranging from artists and historians to journalists and diplomats in 2022, according to the NTCH.

The director and documentary theater maker was hosted by the NTCH as an artist-in-residence for six weeks at that time.

Meanwhile, Caroline Barneaud, director of artistic and international projects at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, told reporters that the shows in different countries have been adapted for local audiences to make connections between Taiwan and each country.

"People are really touched by all the stories" told by the three performers on stage, and the production "made a lot of connections on history, on the relationship to identity, nation and democracy," Barneaud said.

The play will be staged in other countries, including France, South Korea, and Australia, she added.

The NTCH said it released more tickets to the Opentix ticketing service from Monday after the three shows in Taipei sold out.

Originally performed in English, the three shows in Taipei will be performed in Chinese, with English subtitles available, according to the NTCH.

In addition, Rimini Protokoll co-founder Helgard Haug will present her "All right. Good night." at National Taichung Theater on May 24-26.

Haug's work "traces the disappearance, the search and the struggle with uncertainty - using the example of the missing airplane (Malaysian Airlines MH370) and the manifesting dementia of her own father" according to Rimini Protokoll's website.

(By Kay Liu)

Enditem/AW

Source: National Taichung Theater
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