With the idea that art and daily life should come together, Prototype Paradise presents a performance event titled ‘Night Market Theatre’ in the east-coast city of Hualien, Taiwan from the 11th to 15th of November. Together with British artist Joshua Sofaer and eight diversely talented Taiwanese performers, we want you to savour your life with art.
Night Market Theatre is a cross-culture and cross-disciplinary art event that takes as its starting point Taiwan’s night market culture. Offering something different from performances usually seen on the street, or TV cooking shows, the artists will collectively create a menu selling ‘bite-sized’ performances in one of the booths in Zhiqiang Night Market, surrounded by delicious food.
Joshua Sofaer writes, ‘When I came to Taiwan for the first time in the autumn of 2012 I was very much struck by the Night Market culture and the delicious foods that could be found there. Travelling across the island I visited Night Markets in Taipei, Tainan and Hualien. When Prototype Paradise asked me to think of a project that I might want to work on in Taiwan, I really wanted to find a way of working alongside the stallholders and with the citizens who come to socialise and fill their bellies.
There is something very seductive about strolling through the market looking at the different foods and thinking about what one wants to taste next. The traditional mobile stalls that specialise in just one type of food particularly struck me. Each of these stalls is like a miniature mobile theatre. Behind the façade, the stallholders create their own kind of dramatic experience as you watch their finely honed techniques before they present you with their particular dish.
For Night Market Theatre, we will create our own stall from behind which a group of performers, at different stages in their performance careers, will offer a menu of ‘bite sized’ performance to visitors. While eating your ‘rice bun hotdog’ or ‘fried squid’ you will also be able to order a personal story, a quirky song, or a magic trick with a difference. Night Market Theatre capitalises on the traditional social activity of strolling through the alleys of food stalls and offers people entertainment for their soul alongside the food for their stomach.
Contemporary performance practice has been marked by a desire to leave the confines of a dedicated theatre and to make the work directly with the people as part of their daily lives. Of course there is also a strong tradition of street theatre, especially across Asia, that takes performance directly to the people. In Night Market Theatre we want to combine tradition and innovation by bringing something unexpected to the visitors of Zhiqiang Night Market.
I very much look forward to coming back to Taiwan, a country that I fell in love with on my first visit, and to working together with local performers in Hualien. I expect I will try all the food on offer during my time there, as well as all the performances.’