Director hopes to inspire European audiences with new play

Focus Taiwan
2014/04/22

Director Tsai Ming-liang (left)

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Director Tsai Ming-liang’s new stage play, about a Buddhist monk from China, is to be performed in Europe, with the aim of inspiring audiences to “rethink life.”

“The Monk from the Tang Dynasty” features actor Lee Kang-sheng, Tsai’s long-term collaborator, as the renowned Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who traveled from China to India in the 7th century.

In the play, Lee either lies down or walks at an extremely slow pace on a large white paper on the stage, while painter Kao Jun-honn produces charcoal drawings on the paper.

With no dialogue or storyline, the production is Tsai’s attempt to capture the spirit of Xuanzang, who embarked on his ambitious pilgrimage to India, crossing the Gobi Desert on his way, to bring Buddhist teachings back to China.

The “slowness” of Xuanzang is what is lacking in today’s world, the Taiwan-based Malaysian film director said Tuesday.

He said he hopes the performances in Belgium and Austria next month will inspire audiences to slow down their lives and rethink the meaning of life.

“I think Xuanzang is a rebel,” Tsai said, urging people to “use ‘slowness’ to rebel against the fast-paced world.”

“The Monk from the Tang Dynasty” will be staged at the Kunsten Festival des Arts in Brussels, Belgium, May 3, 4, 6 and 7, and at the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival) in Vienna, Austria, from May 16-19.

The two festivals will also screen Tsai’s past films, including “Stray Dogs,” and show his short-film series “Walker” as a video installation.

The series of performances and exhibitions will then make a stop in Taipei in August and in South Korea next year, said Tsai, who won the Venice Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and his second Golden Horse Best Director award last year with “Stray Dogs.”

(By Christie Chen)

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