A Taste of OzAsia
ADELAIDE: OzAsia 2013 turns to Malaysia for its special theme, but there’s much more from across our region besides. Peter Burdon looks at the program.
Now firmly established as a major Australian arts festival, OzAsia 2013 really looks the part, with a brace of world and Australian premieres and exclusive shows galore. The wonderful design of the 2013 festival, with its flowery tiger, is a tribute to Malaysia, with its long historical association with Australia, and what riches there are.
A collaboration extending halfway across the world is SuperEverything*, where UK AV artists The Light Surgeons have created a cinema experience to end them all, with multiple projections, live music, motion graphics and more, drawing inspiration from Malaysian culture and ritual. Get on to www.lightsurgeons.com and take a look at what they’re promising. This isn’t one to miss.
The Instant Cafe Theatre Company brings Parah, a provocative play about what it means to be outcast, drawing inspiration from the racial gap in modern Malaysian society, but with a much wider importance. Indie pop, Malaysian style, with popular folk singer songwriter Guba, and the distinctive sound of Yuna, Malaysian-born and now tearing up the charts in the USA, MTV nominations and all.
From elsewhere in our region, the amazing Yegam Theatre Company from Korea, who wowed the locals in 2010, are back by popular demand with Jump in an Australian exclusive performance. Yegam is really one of the cleverest shows you’re likely to see, as we follow a family who appear to be aged from about eight to eighty in a madcap misadventure with moves to blow you away. No-one who saw them in 2010 will want to miss it, your writer included, so do yourself a favour and get along.
Another Australian exclusive is U-Theatre from Taiwan presents Meeting with Bodhisattva, a spectacular show that combines drumming and martial arts with chant and dance in a mesmerizing spectacle. We’ve already looked at Leigh Warren and Dancers Not According To Plan, which has brought Leigh together again after nearly twenty years with Xiao Xiong Zhang, one of his greatest dancers in his years at Australian Dance Theatre, and now a legend in the Asian region. Also in the strong dance program, Adelaide-based dancer/choreographer Ade Suharto debuted her first full length work in OzAsia 2011, and now collaborates with singer Peni Candra Rini in Ontosoroh, a contemporary reimagining of an ancient Indonesian epic story of the strength and rebellion of a brave woman.
Fight the Landlord from the Pan Pan Theatre and Beijing Square Moon Culture Ltd is another of the multi-influence pieces in the festival, combining physical theatre and drama in a look at the triumph of the little person in a funny, physical romp. And for lovers of fine music, be sure not to miss the Singapore-based T'ang Quartet whose amazing repertoire extends from the classics to extraordinary fusion projects and a huge amount of music from contemporary Asian composers (and including, in their OzAsia program, Australia’s Elena Katz-Chernin).
One of the great events in each year’s festival is the Moon Lantern Festival, when hundreds of beautifully decorated lanterns are set into the Torrens Lake.
There’s film at the Mercury Cinema, lectures on current issues, discussions of contemporary literature, and exhibitions galore, both at the Festival Centre and elsewhere in town. There’s food in abundance on the program, especially at the Mapo Restaurant in Gouger Street, and at the Migration Museum where the gorgeous Poh Ling Yeow will be featuring in Three Weddings and a Cook, which will cover the ceremonies, food and customs of Malay, Chinese and Indian Weddings! And to keep you full between shows, the Curry Hut in the Playhouse is sure to be a hit, but wait for September 28 when for one night, the Terrace outside the Festival Theatre will be transformed into Pasar Malam, a Penang Night Market, with hawkers galore along with live music and something for every age.
OzAsia 2013 runs from September 13-29. Ticketed events, book at Bass.