Thursday, May 13, 2010

REVIEW: Lang Toi (My Village) – Dancing with Bamboos

It lulled me to sleep.

Lang Toi (My Village), was the name of the show I saw a few hours ago (12th of May) at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts Lyric Theatre. It was a show created by Nhat Ly, Lan Nguyen and Le Tuan Anh for the Quai Branly Museum in Paris in 2009; and presented as part of Le French May.

It was contemporary circus and this meant that there was no animal involved and traditional circus acts was combined with character-driven concept. Compared with the Ringling Brothers-type of circus, contemporary circus tends to put more emphasis on the overall impact of the concept and character development; and it uses lighting and costume designs to communicate a thematic or descriptive subject matter.

One of the more famous contemporary circuses is the Cirque du Soleil. Well, Lang Toi is not Cirque du Soleil. Think of it this way, if Cirque du Soleil is to big budget Hollywood film, Lang Toi is to not-so-big budget French cinema. This means, just like French cinema, it took its own time to develop the story and it defied conclusive endings.

The show was a series of circus acts (contortions, juggling, balancing, suspension and others) tied together with the use of bamboo as the common element. Bamboos were used as platforms, props and even musical instruments. While I personally find the move from one act to another a bit too slow, others may find it “atmospheric”. Moments like the men building large bamboo structures (later on became the “tightrope” act), while the women sat around singing was too long a rest time for me and I actually nodded off. Meanwhile, there was one act that I found quite interesting and that was the juggling and beating of the “wooden fish” (a type of percussion) at same time.

I do like French cinema when I am in the right mood. A few hours ago, I was in the mood for a good old Hollywood blockbuster.

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At May 13, 2010 at 12:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to disagree, some very talented performers and some clever tricks/stunts... but isolated moments don't make a whole show. The bamboo/village life core is an interesting concept and to use your analogy it would be interesting to see the Hollywood remake
The Lyric was also way too cold


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