Entertainment Hive 2017

OzAsia director Joseph Mitchell showcases new wave of

performances

OzAsia director Joseph Mitchell is on the cusp of seeing his first OzAsia Festival launch on September 24. The young and talented Australian director has certainly put his own  unique stamp on the festival as he looks at the evolution of the event and what will drive contemporary performances forward in the future. Here Mitchell talks about what drew him to three pivotal OzAsia Festival pieces - Play (2-3 Oct), Amber (1-2 Oct) and Cry Jailolo (24-26 Sep). Play "Pina Bauch invited Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shanatala Shivalingappa to work together in 2008 and to present their collaboration at her own festival which she directed,'' Mitchell says. "Following her passing, they have continued to develop and refine their collaboration and Play is subsequently dedicated to Pina. "In this work, the artists have taken the time to learn about each other and develop trust and respect, but have not felt the need to tighten the work to the point that it is fixed.   There is room for play and you can see these two highly gifted dancers thrive in this context, with the audience being let in on the playful nature of the work. "Often the fourth wall is broken and the two dancers know they are performing for each other as much as they are for the audience - ultimately everyone is in it together. "This is a beautiful work and a great opportunity to see internationally renowned choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui performing on stage. "I first saw Play in Paris about two years ago in a 2000 seat concert hall.   The work was beautiful but at the same time, I felt it was an intimate piece that would benefit from being performed in a smaller venue. "I then saw Play again in a 1200 seat theatre in Malaysia, and was more connected to the dancers. "So, for OzAsia Festival, we have decided that even though these two dancers grace many of the biggest stages around the world, it will be a treat for audiences here in Adelaide to see two of the world’s leading dancers performing on the more intimate Dunstan Playhouse stage, so get in quick before it sells out.'' Amber "Meng Jinghui is China’s leading contemporary theatre director. I’ve seen several works by Meng JInghui in China now, and the theatres are always full of young people – you will be lucky to spot someone above 40 years of age,'' Mitchell says. "Meng is making exciting new theatre for young audiences. It’s great to see contemporary theatre doing so well in China and that the works are actually about contemporary Chinese culture. "His earlier work Rhinoceros in Love premiered in Australia in 2011 and Amber is a companion piece of sorts, as it forms the second piece in his pessimism trilogy. "A huge hit in China, it’s a great follow up for anyone who enjoyed Rhinoceros in Love – catch this work in Adelaide before it moves on to Italy later in the year.'' Cry Jailolo ''It’s not often that Festival Directors from around the world unanimously agree on artistic programming,'' Mitchell enthuses. "However, the premiere of Eko Supriyanto’s Cry Jailolo at the Indonesian Dance Festival in November 2014 was met with truly universal acclaim from my global counterparts. "This outstanding dance work heralds an exciting new voice in the world of contemporary dance. "The choreographer, Eko Supriyanto spent months in Jailolo Bay, North Maluku to work with young men to develop a dance performance as part of the local arts festival. "The seven young men, all non-professional dancers in a western sense, come from small villages. Eko spent time living with the young men… every day they would go diving and fishing – the two main activities in the region. "Eko became embedded in the community, learning about the infamous village conflicts not more than 10 years ago as well as the hopes and dreams of the young men he was working with. "He also discovered their concerns for the sustainability of the natural beauty and marine life in Jailolo Bay due to accumulating pollution and rubbish. Eko created Cry Jailolo with these young men, combining aspects of their traditional dance from the region with his own choreographic approach. "After seeing the work in Jakarta, I later went to Jailolo Bay to see Eko give back his respect to the community, where he worked with 200 young people to teach them all the choreography of Cry Jailolo. "At a special event, 200 children all performed Cry Jailolo together on a giant outdoor stage overlooking the pristine bay for an audience of thousands. "This giant community staging of Cry Jailolo was Eko’s sign of respect to the village people of Jailolo as the original seven dancers now prepare to leave their homes and embark on a major international tour to more than 10 countries over the next two years to present Cry Jailolo at leading arts festivals and dance houses around the world.''   These three unique works are OzAsia director Joseph Mitchell's top must-see festival works. 2015 OzAsia Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre, September 24 to October 4. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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