1433—The Grand Voyage


Script by Ruo-Yu Liu, Music by Ornette Coleman, Dickie Landry, Chih-Chun Huang

Premiered on February 20, 2010 at the Taiwan International Festival, Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan

Between 1405 and 1433, the Ming dynasty government sponsored a series of seven long-distance naval expeditions of exploration and discovery, with Admiral Zheng He, a high-ranking court eunuch, leading a fleet of several hundred gigantic treasure ships. 1433—The Grand Voyage was a parable based on Zheng He's seventh and final voyage, a poetic vision about a man who, due to his emasculation and position at Court, finds himself alone.

Loosely based on extant historical texts, 1433—The Grand Voyage counterpointed highly structured drumming and strong physical performance of the Taiwan U-Theater with the free jazz music of American luminaries Ornette Coleman and Dickie Landry. Rather than attempting to reiterate history, 1433 was Robert Wilson's poetic vision of one man's lonely search for peace and reconciliation.