Director Ong Keng Sen (ACC 1993/ 1994/ 2014) visited ACC Taiwan office during his first production in Taiwan, featuring Maestro WEI Hai-Min, the iconic Taiwanese Peking opera diva
The world premiere of "A Thousand Stages, Yet I Have Never Quite Lived", written and directed by the critically acclaimed ACC grantee Ong Keng Sen (b. 1963), debuted in Taiwan in early April. Director Ong visited ACC Taipei Office on 4/14 to share about this hotly debated production and the Curators Academy that he founded in Singapore (2018) and Berlin (2019), along with his prudent insight on ACC's mission:
"A few seeds will grow into a few trees, and will develop into an ecosystem, so ACC's mission is to support the right artists (seeds)." -- Ong Keng Sen
"A Thousand Stages, Yet I Have Never Quite Lived" is a one-woman show featuring the Taiwanese Peking Opera Master WEI, Hai-Min. She revives 6 iconic roles that have marked her storied career, plus a 7th role, herself.
Based upon Maestro WEI's legendary narrative and Director Ong's understanding of Taiwanese history of the past 6 decades, Director Ong implemented documentary theater approach and recruited pioneering Taiwanese artist CHEN Chieh-Jen and photographer CHANG Chao-tang, bringing the best contemporary masters in Taiwan together in one performance, giving peking opera performance a brand new experimental take, which received mixed reviews and sparked conversation in the field of performing arts.
Director Ong and Maestro Wei at the press conference of "A Thousand Stages"
Director Ong has returned as the Artistic Director of TheatreWork, now known as T:>Works - read as TWorks- in 2020. Ong's next mission is to steer T:>Works to focus on thought leadership in the arts, especially in trans-disciplinary, trans-cultural, and inclusive processes.
Known for his sensitivity towards weaving traditional Asian arts into contemporary creation since 1997, Director Ong noticed the "little reflection space [in today's theatre] to evaluate what curating is, how to curate, and for whom they should be curating." Therefore, he founded the Curators Academy first in Singapore (2018) and Berlin (2019), aiming to form an intersectional narrative of sharing processes among pioneering artists, program producers, and thinkers.
A time-traveling actor, SHENG Chien (ACC 2006), a promising star in Peking opera, film and theater
"Throughout my career, I was very fortunate to play different roles in many major films and theatre, but Peking opera has always been a part of my identity, my lifelong partner." — SHENG Chien
Started out as an Peking opera actor, SHENG Chien (盛鑑) (b. 1973) has always been a charismatic and promising star who plays leading Sheng (main male role) roles in multiple production by Contemporary Legend Theatre and GuoGuang Opera Company.
Since 2003, SHENG's career has spanned across different fields, from traditional Peking opera, to film/ television, and to theater. He was known for his roles in many major movies by leading Chinese director TSUI Hark, and gave critically acclaimed performances in Director Edward Lam's groundbreaking theater production.
SHENG has officially returned to GuoGuang Opera Company as a full-time actor in 2020, and starred in a sold-out performances "Fox Tale 2021" (see above) last month 4/23-25 at the National Theater & Concert Hall.
SHENG starred in a Taiwanese movie "Gatao - The Last Stray" (Gatao meaning gangster in Taiwanese) which premiered in February, 2021.
SHENG played the role of an emperor in “Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings” (2018), along with top actress Carina Lau (left). The film was directed by the leading Chinese director Tsui Hark. This was the third time SHENG plays in Tsui Hark's film.
Despite SHENG's success in movie and theatre, SHENG's calling as a Sheng actor (main male role in Peking opera) never left him. To him, his experiences in other genres of performing art serve as a great pool of resources that he could always pull from in his Peking opera performances. Furthermore, SHENG is grateful that ACC approved his request to study with Peking opera Master PEI Yanling for 3 months in China back in 2005 before the start of intra-Asia grant. The daily one-on-one apprenticeship allowed him to see every detail in the expression and gesture that he could never have captured through watching a video recording of her performance.
As the leading Sheng actor of his generation, SHENG is fully prepared to take on new peking opera adaptations or replay his role in the classic productions.
SHENG's role in Contemporary Legend Theatre "Waiting For Godot" (2018)
"What is Sex" (gender in this case), directed by Edward Lam, is a theatrical production based up one of the Chinese four great classical novels, "Dream of the Red Chamber". SHENG is the frontmost gentleman on the left.
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