Thousands of years ago, the Chinese Zen Masters had said, “A true artist must combine ‘Tao – training of one’s own life’ with ‘Art – practice of aesthetics of life’ together as one. ”The philosophy of “Tao and Art as One” is U-Theatre’s goal of creation and life.
The “U” of U-Theatre is a phonetic transcript of a Chinese character meaning “excellence”. In ancient China, this word also referred to “professional performers”.
Founded in 1988 with a focus on Zen in the art of drumming, U-Theatre and its practice may be best described as attaining the state of total calmness while in motion. For this troupe, a performance is not an end in itself, but rather an approach to a holistic way of life oriented in the Tao.
In its works, the relationship of the individual to the whole community – and by extension, of the group to its audiences worldwide – is portrayed without explicit narrative or the creation of imagined characters. The result is a fascinating and unique mode of contemporary theatre that is process based, finely tuned, and performer dependent. It is grounded in a collective experience predicated on each member’s personal search for enlightenment and inner balance.
U-Theatre’s rigorous aesthetic depends on disciplined training in various forms – meditation, drumming, martial arts, Tai Chi, dance, and acting – drawn from both the East and the West, ancient and modern cultures. “Like monks preparing themselves for a grand ceremony… their virtuosity is spectacular…” remarked Le Figaro of U-Theatre’s awe-inspiring performance in France at theFestival d’Avignon 1998.