Entertainment Hive 2017

Wang Chong shakes up the theatre scene

By Honey B

Ibsen In One Take is a new theatrical beast from ambitious director Wang Chong and Norwegian playwright Oda Fiskum. The bold new work, which will make its Australian premiere at the OzAsia Festival on September 16 and 17, is just one example of Chong's experimental approach to theatre - it's a boundary-pushing approach he has been pushing for years. "We are eager to re-fresh the theatre scene in China,'' Chong says. "Chinese theatre arts are not very sophisticated and theatre in China is still conservative.'' Conservative is not a word that would describe Chong, who with the Theatre Du Reve Experimental, is leading the way in the use of multi-media on-stage and the interaction this medium has with the actors and the audience. "Our lives are full of media interactions and it colours the way we look at the world with all of our different media devices. "It is true that I read that young people in China spend an average of eight hours a day on the computer and only 20 minutes reading a book or newspaper. "Everything is digital and I like experimenting with the way people watch a play - and it is a way to bring in younger audiences. "The story is still told by actors on a stage but everything is filmed and people can watch either the stage or the screen, it doesn't matter which one. Some people find themselves watching the screen more. "Others are interested in watching how the cameras and the lights work - we reveal the filmmaking process on-stage. It is like making a movie or it is a stage movie.'' Ibsen In One Take isn't a "best-of'' Henrik Ibsen's plays and it's also not an original piece inspired by the famous Norwegian playwright. The story follows the last days of an old man in hospital as he looks back over his childhood and youth as well as his romances and his marriage and the mistakes or shortcomings in his life. He is haunted by his regrets and he has been rejected by his family. "Ibsen is one of the world's greatest playwrights and he is renowned in China. "Even if audiences have not read or seen an Ibsen work they will understand this play which is the essence of all of Ibsen's plays. "It is about relationships and moral dilemmas and it is told in a modern way - we look personally at the characters. This man has been abandoned by his family and that's not something that happens in China. "People in all societies face being isolated from family and we should explore this.'' One thing is for sure, and that is that Wang Chong has found his own theatrical language and it is a new dialect not to be missed. Ibsen In One Take comes to the OzAsia Festival direct from the national theatre in Oslo as part of the bi-annual Ibsen Festival. Ibsen In One Take, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre, Space Theatre, September 16-17. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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