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In Transit Blog: Fables and Fantasy Infuse 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival

“TeZukA,’’ a multimedia show by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.Hugo Glendinning“TeZukA,’’ a multimedia show by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

Globespotters

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Fables, fantasy and spirituality inspire many of the performances in the 40th annual Hong Kong Arts Festival, which runs through March 8. This year’s festival features over 160 productions, staged at 17 venues.

For  “Of Mountains and Seas,” a play by the Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian that draws heavily on ancient myths in a Chinese classical text, the Chinese director Lin Zhaohua infuses elements of Nuo opera, which is rooted in primitive religion. Mythology also takes center stage in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo performing the fairy tale comedy.

Another show involves the work of Osamu Tezuka, often called “the god of manga,” who composed fantastical tales in comic form. His stories come to life in “TeZukA,’’ a multimedia show by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a Belgian choreographer. “TeZukA’’ uses dancers’ movements as one would use a calligraphy brush in this video homage to the pioneering Japanese artist.

“Faith Healer,” by the Irish playwright Brian Friel, takes a deeper look at the nature of art and belief through the monologues of a traveling faith healer, Francis Hardy; his wife, Grace, and his manager, Teddy. Mr. Friel has described the play as “a metaphor for art, the craft of writing, and the great confusion we all have about it, those of us who are involved in it.”

The austere spirituality of the desert infuses the music of Tinariwen, whose members are Tuareg nomads from the Sahara. Tinariwen mixes African, Arabic and Western styles to produce haunting, rhythmic music whose lyrics recall the hardships of life in the desert and of political struggles.

And fantasy and fashion come together in “The World of WearableArt,” a New Zealand production that is making its international debut in Hong Kong. Each year, “The World of WearableArt” showcases more than 150 costumes by New Zealand designers in a two-hour theatrical extravaganza. The 70-minute event at the Hong Kong festival displays the best creations from past shows.

For information on buying tickets, go the festival’s Web site.

 


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