1433 – The Grand Voyage

Directed by Robert Wilson with U Theatre
Costume Design by Tim Yip
Script by Ruo-Yu Liu
Music by Ornette Coleman,
Dickie Landry, Chih Chun Huang

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.