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Programme Details

Key Words

Abjection, Absence-Presence, Absent Mother, Adaptation, Ajaeng, Ambivalence, Anamorphosis, Appropriating Shakespeare, Asian Shakespeare, Asian Theatre, Collaboration, Contemporary Art, Contemporary Asia, Contemporary Dance, Contemporary Japanese Theatre, Contemporary Music, Contemporary Theatre, Contextualization, Counter-Appropriation, Critical Reflexivity, Decolonisation, Deconstruction, Detranslation, Differences, Digitalization, East Asia, Encounter, Eugenio Barba's Decided Body, Folk Music, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fusion Of Pop And Traditional Music, Gender, Gender Fluidity, Healing, Histories, Humans Representing Puppets, Hybridity, India, Individual, Indonesia, Installation Art, Internal Alterity, International Summer Festival Hamburg, Intersectionality, Interweaving, Japan, Juxtaposition, Kampnagel, Kathakali, Korea, Korea-Japan Histories, Korean Percussion, Kudiyattam, Live Art, Margi, Marginalized, Marstall Munich, Methodology Of Drafting And Redrafting Performance Texts, Mondialization, Multilingual Theatre, Multiple Actors Playing One Character, Multiple Realities, Multiplicities, Munich Dance Festival, Music Theatre, Myanmar, Myanmar Marionette Dance, Myanmar String Puppets, Negative Space, Negotiation, New Asia, New Millennium, Non-Monolithic, Open, Optima Playhouse, Othello, Parallel Performance Texts, Patriarchy, Play, Politics of Transcultural Performance, Porous, Post-Human, Postcolonialism, Puri Percussion Ensemble, Queer, Race Studies, Racism, Reconstruction, Reinvention As A Political Action, Reinvention Of Tradition, Representation Of Asia, Ritual Theatre, Samul Nori, Sanskrit Theatre, Shadows, Shaman, Singapore, Singapore Arts Festival, Stereotype, Sustainability, Symbolist Theatre, Technology, Telstra Adelaide Festival, The Flying Circus Project, Touring Production, Traces, Traditional And Contemporary Continuum, Traditional Performing Arts, Transcultural Process, Transdisciplinary Performance, Transgender, Transgression, Translation, Video Art, Walter Benjamin's The Task of the Translator, Wayang Wong, Women Playing Men, Younger Generation Artists Trained In Traditional Arts,


Desdemona is a dreamscape of discovering the She within the He, of discovering the other within the self, of discovering another culture within one’s culture.

The performance text of Desdemona can be said to be conceptually a shamanic journey intersected with contemporary visual art and the transcultural process. Through rethinking questions, Desdemona turns its inspiration, Shakespeare’s “Othello”, completely on its head.

Desdemona is a multiplicity of aesthetics: Myanmar puppets weave into a kathakali actress performing as Othello. In fact, there are two Othellos, the other being a performer from the 1,500 year-old Sanskrit theatre form, kudiyattum. All the time the characters are interfaced with video images engineered by two visual/installation artists from Singapore and Korea. Providing a soundscape are two musicians from Korea: a percussionist, and a highly skilled ajaeng (a zither played with a bow) player from a fusion traditional/pop group. Combining a youthful zest with the traditional folk music of Korea, the music can be said to be a symbol of the entire production.

This is a new wave Asian production featuring many younger generation artists trained in traditional arts. A unique factor in this production is the global experience of some of these artists. The artists of Desdemona have been exposed to their very local contexts in dynamic cities such as Seoul, or to highly traditional contexts such as the kratons of Jogjakarata or the temples in Kerala.

The different performers in Desdemona perform in their own languages and cultural styles. Yet they engage in a dialogue with each other, intersecting into a complex theatrical language.

Presented as part of the Telstra Adelaide Festival 2000.


Optima Playhouse, Adelaide, Australia

16 – 18 March 2000

Concept & Director: Collaborators & Performers: Writer: Visual Artists: Composer & Music Director: Set Design: Light Design: Costume Design: Producer:
Tay Tong.
Technical Director:
Kenny Wong.
Production Stage Manager: Associate Stage Manager:
Valerie Oliveiro.
Technical Management:
Lennie Lee.
Production Management:
Audrey Hoo.
Stage Team:
Andy Lim, Joyce Yao.
Costume Construction: Publicity:
Traslin Ong.
Rehearsal Translators:
Ma Chaw Su, Ma Khine Sabai Khin, Ma Mya San Aye, Oh Hae Jin, Pyo Su Kyoung, Tony Park, Vanessa Tay Lee Kiang.
Script Translators:
Bakdi Soemanto, E N Narayanan, Kwon Hyun Ah, Michiyo Sumida.

Produced or Managed By:>

Printed Matter

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Genre:> Adaptation
Asian Shakespeare
Asian Theatre
Contemporary Art
Contemporary Dance
Contemporary Music
Contemporary Performance
Contemporary Theatre
Hybrid Live And Digitalized Performance
Intersectional Art
Live Art
Multilingual Theatre
Music Theatre
Post-Human Performance
Queer Performance
Shamanic Performance
Symbolist Theatre
Traditional Performing Arts
Transcultural Performance
Transdisciplinary Performance
Video Art

Year:> 2020

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