Sunday, March 14, 2010

U Theatre of Taiwan : Sound of the Ocean

While the aftermath of crowds in Vancouver has slowly settled down, the Cultural Olympiad has still been running strong with a variety of amazing performances available in Vancouver. It was great to take a break from watching all the fantastic sports going on, but the able to take a breath in and enjoy the cultural aspects that the games bring to each hosting city. I was lucky enough to head out to downtown on Friday night and watch an incredible show called " U Theatre of Taiwan: Sound of the Ocean".

The show featured 15 drummers, both male drummers and female drummers. The show began dark, with the drummers slowly walking out on stage. It was quiet, peaceful and calming as they each individually sat down next the the drums. After all the drummers were on stage, with a swift movement of the lead drummer, the beats of the drum brought the theatre to life. You wouldn't believe the amount of power and passion they had. Each person played a part to the symphony of roaring sounds, like the waves of the ocean. No matter how large or small the drum was, every performer was in sync was each other, to the timing of when they raised their drumsticks to the air, to the unique jumps that they did. It definitely wowed the crowd and was a fantastic start to the show.

After the first set of drumming, the drummers then came out in simple white cloths and slowly sat down with a drum about the size of a watermelon. They were so quiet, so serene. The small "tap-tap-tap-tap" of the drums started and the lights turned blue. I had then realized that the drums were portraying the sound of rain. It started very light and then the beats got louder and faster, taking the audience into a storm and then back to the small pitter-patters of the light spring rain. I had actually closed my eyes during this set, which made it even more interesting because I actually thought it was raining :)

In the next set, large drums were brought out and the drummers were in maroon/beige cloths. This set was to show a rise of a day in the world of nature. There was a male singer who came out and had a beautiful voice. He could hold notes forever and I was just mesmerised by his singing. It was powerful, upbeat, but had a tune that you know was comforting. The drummers then sped up and also had featured several turns and jumps. What I loved about this show was that everything was in sync. From the fact of everyone was walking with the same feet, to the speed of how they drummed. Everything was in perfect unison.

The final set was amazing. The amount of power they had! As a dancer myself, I know how hard it is to perform under those hot stage lights. When the male drummers were performing, you could just see the streams of sweat on them. The female drummers were also sweating, and you could see the beads of sweat on all on their foreheads. The final set was a final celebration of nature. The show had simply amazed me. What made it so hard was that each set was about 20 minutes; meaning that the performers had to drum for 20 minutes, rapidly and passionately. After the final set, the crowd gave a standing ovation while clapping. The performers were so happy with us that they gave us another set (since it was like we were asking for an encore).

Shows like "U Theatre of Taiwan: Sound of the Ocean" are to never be missed. It is creative visionaries such as Liu Ruo-Yu (founder/artistic director) in collaberation with Huang-Chih-Chun (music director) that can create such a show that a pleasure to watch and hear.

-xoxo Lorie

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