Running from 21 September – 8 October, Australia’s leading international arts festival engaging with Asia has announced its program, bringing together over 300 professional artists from across Asia and Australia alongside more than 400 local community artists for the 2017 OzAsia Festival.
“The 2017 OzAsia Festival program is our largest and most expansive program to date,” says OzAsia Festival Artistic Director, Joseph Mitchell. “As we turn 11 and enter our second decade, the festival program looks towards the future with a selection of works that embrace the bold vision of contemporary Asia in the 21st century.”
Comprising a mix of theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and literature from all across Asia, this year’s program features the best contemporary artists from Japan, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Korea, The Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Highlights of the 2017 OzAsia Festival include headline performance, Hotel by W!ld Rice Theatre, where 100 years of Singaporean history unfolds in one luxurious hotel. With a consistently full occupancy courtesy of Japanese soldiers, Cantonese nannies and a multicultural mix of film stars, Bridezillas and street workers, witness the country shifting from British colony to Malaysian state to sovereign nation.
Coming full circle from performing in Peter Brook’s iconic staging of The Mahabharata, when he was a child, celebrated choreographer Akram Khan brings his brand-new award-winning work Until the Lions to Australia for the first time – drawing together a Pan-Asian cast from Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines as well as four live musicians.
Imagine an opera with nobody on stage, and no orchestra… that’s the reality when Japanese cultural phenomenon Hatsune Miku, a vocaloid singer, hits the stage to perform Australia’s first virtual pop opera, The End. With a voice powered by a singing voice synthesizer, and over 100,000 songs to her name, she can literally sing anything that her fans suggest and compose.
However for The End, the music is by acclaimed Japanese composer Keiichiro Shibuya, as Miku contemplates her fears about living forever as a perpetual 16-year-old, in that she will never grow older or experience death. With her long, fetching turquoise locks and sassy style further enhanced by costumes by Louis Vuitton, come and experience a true 21st century opera.
Continuing with the theme of questioning life’s meaning, and the gnawing sense that this world and its realities are not enough, in a major coup for the festival, Singapore Art Museum has selected key items from its extensive collections of contemporary Southeast Asian art (one of the world’s largest), to present After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art.
Curated by Tan Siuli and Louis Ho and presented in partnership with Samstag Museum of Art at the University of South Australia, and featuring moving image, installation, painting and sculpture from Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India and China, After Utopia explores the way that our ideals mirror our innermost yearnings.
For theatre lovers and fans of Japanese culture, a secluded bath house in the mountains of northwest Japan sets the scene for The Dark Inn, written by internationally renowned Japanese playwright Kuro Tanino and winner of the prestigious Kishida Prize for Drama. Spoken in Japanese with English surtitles and with a multi-level revolving set that boasts impeccable detail, The Dark Inn invites you to peek through the windows and doors of some fascinating characters and by doing so, exposes some deeper fundamental truths.
Hip hop and urgent social politics collide on the Space Theatre stage when 2017 Helpmann Award winners (Best Cabaret), the Hot Brown Honey crew struts in, where MC Busty Beatz and her sassy crew explore various sexual, political and racial stereotypes over the years, before firmly stomping on top of them through dance, poetry, comedy, circus, song and possibly some striptease to have audiences buzzing long afterwards.
Whilst In Between Two takes a male perspective of courtship, long distance love and cultural barriers. Written and performed by Chinese-Australian rapper/writer/spoken word artist Joelistics (Joel Ma) and Filipino-Australian songwriter/musician/producer James Mangohig, whose parents were pen pals – between Adelaide and the Philippines – and were married in Adelaide. They both bring their families’ stories to life via use of humour, photos and live music.
50 years on from the ground-breaking release of classic album The Velvet Underground & Nico, Aussie rock favourites Regurgitator together with China’s Mindy Meng Wang and German-Australian musician Seja deliver the ultimate multicultural post-pop sound, and a big nod to both Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, in collaboration to re-interpret the songs.
Iconic Japanese all-female pop-punk group Shonen Knife joins forces with Adelaide band Satan’s Cheerleaders for one night of musical mayhem, and take the ultimate trip back in time to 70s and 80s Bollywood when Melbourne’s beloved Bombay Royale share the stage with Adelaide’s Shaolin Afronauts.
Gender stereotypes in Filipino nightclubs are flipped in Macho Dancer, as dancer Eisa Jocson performs a typically male-dominated ‘’macho dance’’ (usually performed by young men for male and female clients) appropriated for a female, to an electrifying soundtrack.
The 2017 OzAsia Festival runs 21 September – 8 October. For more information, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.
Image: W!ld Rice Theatre presents Hotel (supplied)