COMPASS MAGAZINE, September 2003.














International music, theater and fireworks at the 2003 Sun Moon Lake Festival

By Lishea Cheng
Translated by Yvonne Chen

       Been to Sun Moon Lake yet this summer? The Lakeside Music and Dance Festival kicks off on the night of July 12 with a brass quintet performance and the six-month-long lakeside moonlight performances will rotate throughout the docks, with the last performance on New Year's Eve from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Shang-shan Park.

       The climax of the Festival begins on September 5 and continues until September 28 with daily street performances from 10 a.m., stage shows in the afternoons, and evening water dance shows, laser light shows and fireworks until 9 p.m. And, on the morning of September 7, 10,000 swimmers will gather for an annual swim across the lake.

       For a global feel, this year's Festival is filled with electrifying Western and Chinese performances, taking place at Shuei-she Dock. In 1987, the locally-based Tung-yen Theater Group began playing in small theaters in central Taiwan and has expanded in recent years. Leader Chang Li-ming's group, WAC, also works and experiments with performing artists from other countries. Also part of the team, Wang Ren-chien has been performing outdoors since 1986; a fascination with street pantomiming has led him to experience life's unlimited potential as he puts his heart into every performance.

       The Little Frog Theater uses puppets to generate amusement imaginary spaces. Foreign musical group ATASH, from Texas, is free and mysterious with back-to-nature music that adds to the picturesque Sun Moon Lake. Another band, Minimum Wage, brings instant joy with Broadway musical and blues performances. The group E' tosto + Salom uses alternative means of communication to intensify the sense of space and the interaction with audience; group members are dancers and visual artists. The three-year-old A Standard Theatre Group transcends country borders with a rich cultural mix that allow art to shine in the performances.

       Besides the stage performances, there are also the beautiful fireworks shows at night. Although nightly shows are scheduled, six of these will be world-class caliber shows. Those who love fireworks shouldn't miss the grand opening fireworks show on September 7 from 8:30 to 9 p.m., set up by an Australian team skilled in accenting the geographical features of the location. Grand fireworks shows are also scheduled for the Moon Festival nights of September 11 to 13. On the 11th, an English team will celebrate Moon Festival with European-style fireworks that focus on ground groupings of pyrotechnics with distinctively high blasts. On Friday the 12th, the local Chu-Show Company has designed a show to represent Taiwan. A mainland Chinese team, with 30 years of experience, will light up the sky on the 13th with a extensive, colorful show. The award-winning American team will bring a brand-new show to Sun Moon Lake on September 2 and the French team will bring it to a romantic close on September 28 with a surprise performance. These grand fireworks shows by world-renowned teams are sure to be breath-taking events and can be enjoyed from the Chao-wu Dock, as well as other lakeside areas. The Festival will also feature locally-auditioned street performances with novel stage shows.

       Aside from the lively Festival, Sun Moon Lake is known for its beautiful scenery. There are eight nature trails with a full view of the lake. For more information, visit the website, www.sunmoonlake.gov.tw, or contact management at (049) 285-5668, or call toll-free 0800-855-595 for miscellaneous travel information.