HKRep announces its 2023-24 season
Hong Kong Repertory Theatre 2023-24 Season
New Season presents Life’s Creases and Folds
First phase of Early Bird Booking from 30 March with up to 30% Discount
[Hong Kong Repertory Theatre] On 27 March, the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre announced its 2023–24 season under the leadership of new Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum with the motto “Life’s creases and folds”, unveiling ten Mainstage and Black Box productions and the promotion of Resident Director Fong Chun Kit and two HKRep directors/actors Lau Shau Ching and Yau Ting Fai as Assistant Artistic Directors. The new season includes three works by Poon: an updated version of The Isle and two new works, Liu Rushi, my Dear and Moscow Express. The HKRep Mainstage also presents Scapin in Jiānghú, Chap. 2023 adapted from Molière’s classic comedy, the return of the acclaimed original Cantonese musical The Impossible Trial and the breakthrough British contemporary play The Doctor. Black Box offerings include Landing to Blossom and the French drama Sœurs, as well as The Spoon and The Bucket that came into being thanks to the HKRep’s Open Platform programme.
Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum explains, “The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre just celebrated its 45th anniversary. For our 2023-24 season, we use the motto ‘Life’s creases and folds’ in guiding our productions, opening new chapters, forging a new path. When the earth’s surface shifts, subterranean strata belonging to different tectonic plates crease and fold, thus forming mountains and valleys. Life is comparable in that human beings are constantly in motion. Caught between a single moment and eternity, our emotional palettes collide as we experience life’s ups and downs. With sincere hearts, we delve into a fine selection of stage works examining life’s creases and folds, sharing with the audience visceral experiences ranging from emotional outbursts to the calm of placid waters.”
Main Stage Productions
The Isle – An encounter on an island where fragrant love lingers on
A man and a woman meet on an island. To him, the place is only transitory, but she considers it a permanent home. He wants to forget time, but she wants to safeguard memories. He wants to leave, but she wants to stay. Their casual dialogue searches for confluence amidst life’s insignificant matters. Two strangers develop a friendship, but later become estranged. Is it love, or is it tenacity? Many theatre companies have produced The Isle since the 1990s, its rich imagery and poetic dialogue engendering a wide range of interpretations. The HKRep produces four different interpretations of newly appointed Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum’s revised script, jointly directed by HKRep’s three new Assistant Artistic Directors Fong Chun Kit, Lau Shau Ching and Yau Ting Fai. The Isle unveils the new season, capturing wonderful echoes of love on an island as the audience savours the meaning of life. (13th to 28th May 2023 at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre)
Scapin in Jiānghú, Chap. 2023– Reshaping a Molière classic, adding martial arts ingredients to a romantic farce
Scapin in Jiānghú, Chap. 2023 is a “fusion” injecting new energy into French comic master Molière’s Les Fourberies de Scapin. Two young leaders of a martial arts clan commit to marry their true loves. But because the ladies do not come from the right stock, the elders forbid both unions. These men may be equipped with the best fighting skills, but they are powerless under the circumstances. So they ask for help from their house servant Scapin—a man with no physical training whatsoever, yet wily in his ways. Will Scapin succeed with his countless ploys, or will the schemes backfire? Assistant Artistic Director Fong Chun Kit “transplants” the background, characters and dialogue from Louis XIV’s France to the world of martial arts. The cast rises to the challenge, adding comic improvisations to brand a unique “Hong Kong imprint” on Molière! (8th to 23rd July 2023 at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre)
Liu Rushi, my Dear – As we take leave, the night grows longer, but we find solace in the bright moon
History freezes in time, positing the perennial question of “to-be-or-not-to-be”
Following the success of Hu Xueyan, my Dear, HKRep Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum creates another work based on a historical figure, Liu Rushi, a beautiful and talented courtesan from the late Ming and early Qing dynasties widely praised as the top among “Eight Beauties of Qinhuai River”. A patriot who lives with honour, Liu befriends famous scholars in the Jiangnan region, having tumultuous romances with two of the “Three Scholars of Yunjian”, Song Zhengyu and Chen Zilong. Eventually, she marries the sage Qian Qianyi, many decades her senior, which causes quite a stir. When the Qing army overruns the Ming court, Qian’s fate suffers a downturn, but their love for each other remains strong. Poon Wai Sum uses his unique perspective and finely etched writing, connecting with the core of Chinese cultural sentiment while employing Western theatrical aesthetics. Liu Rushi, my Dear provides an enticingly contemporary portrait of an ancient female figure. (10th to 24th September 2023 at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre)
Moscow Express – Stand on the shoulders of Chekhov peering at human foibles through sliding doors
A volume of Chekhov short stories magically puts tour guide Ma Tai Sing and actress Chan Siu Yin en route to Moscow on a through train. In an instant, they travel from Admiralty to Russia at the end of the 19th century! As they frantically try to make their way back, Russian characters enter the compartment at every stop…and absurd scenes surround them…Can our two 21st-century voyagers return home? Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum employs his ingeniously humorous touch to shine a light on Chekhov’s depictions of human aspiration. Texts traversing geographical and temporal boundaries are presented side-by-side on stage, transforming and resounding in that space between high and low art. Moscow Express is directed by Lee Chun Chow, a five-time Best Director at the Hong Kong Drama Awards. In this production, Lee wields sorcery on stage, taking theatregoers on a journey into old Russian towns, a surreal experience to top all surreal experiences! (5th to 19th November 2023 at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre)
Moscow Express is sponsored by Chow Sang Sang Holdings International Ltd.
The Impossible Trial – a musical – In a world of injustice, wrong is right and right is wrong
Fong Tong Geng, Guangdong’s most prominent advocate, is known for his greed and malice. But at the height of his career heaven deals him a blow and his reputation and wealth are lost overnight. Haunted by the bitter ghost of a childhood friend, Fong fights his way back to the magistrate to right his wrongs and redeem himself as the champion of the common man. Commissioned by WestK, and co-presented and co-produced by WestK and HKRep, the original Hong Kong production The Impossible Trial – a musical returns for a highly anticipated rerun in 2023. Conceived, created and staged by an all–star local team, the riveting tale features music by Leon Ko, lyrics by Chris Shum, script by Cheung Fei Fan, direction by Fong Chun Kit, and stunning performances by a multi-talented cast. With a unique set that blends traditional and contemporary aesthetics and highlights the skills of staging director Ivanhoe Lam and scenographer Wong Yat Kwan, The Impossible Trial – a musical is a Hong Kong production not to be missed. (1st to 17th December 2023 at Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District)
The Impossible Trial – a musical is proudly sponsored by Shun Hing Group.
The Doctor – Dawn of the “Post-Truth” era: In a tussle between medical ethics and religious faith, amidst a storm of public opinion, what is the value of “truth”?
A teenager is at death’s door after her botched abortion, and a priest hopes to perform the last rites. Yet Ruth, the doctor in charge, refuses this request out of medical concerns. The incident goes viral and becomes a hot topic on social media, with many clamouring for the hospital to make an official response. Shouldering the weight of her own career as well as the future of the hospital, Ruth is under attack. At the same time, she faces tremendous pressure that is in her private life… The Doctor is a breakthrough contemporary drama that Robert Icke adapted from Viennese playwright Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi of 1912. The Doctor was nominated as Best New Play at the Olivier Awards in 2020. Playing Ruth the doctor is former Assistant Artistic Director Fung Wai Hang, whom also joined by co-director Octavian Chan, and the outstanding HKRep company members as they delve into the “post-truth” era. (16th March to 1st April 2024 at Hong Kong Arts Centre Shouson Theatre)
Black Box Productions
Landing to Blossom
When Ping married Wah, she was still a teenager and he already advanced in age. Ping was a new immigrant, coming to Hong Kong as his bride; together they have two sons, Kwai and Wing. For decades, Kwai wishes the family unit to remain intact, but Ping wants to break it apart. One day, the 90-year-old Wah, suffering from dementia, goes missing. By then, Ping is already in her 50s, and Wing plans to emigrate to Singapore… In this debate about staying or leaving, should a family uproot itself or land to blossom? Landing to Blossom is written by Kwok Wing Hong and directed by Yu Hon Ting. (16th to 28th May 2023 at HKRep Black Box)
When two sisters reunite from afar after their mother’s death, painful memories resurface from their childhood: incidents that scarred them, and their competitiveness while growing up. Deep in the cracks is still the desire for love, no matter how hopeless. However, the crevice between the two grows even wider in this long overdue encounter. Their reunion turns into a tumultuous, vicious, head-on confrontation from which the two cannot escape, no matter how hard they try. Sœurs, penned by renowned theatre and film director, dramatist and choreographer Pascal Rambert, has appeared in French and Spanish versions directed by the playwright himself. The 2022 Hong Kong premiere of the Cantonese version at the Black Box enjoyed sold out houses and audience acclaim. This time, Rambert arrives in person to work with company members Karrie Tan and Mercy Wong, challenging the two in turning up the heat no matter in language, rhythm or the use of space, presenting an excellent international stage work to our audience. (29th June to 15th July 2023 at HKRep Black Box)
The Spoon (The Open Platform)
A graphic designer burdened with debt switches professions and becomes a hitman. His clients are so demanding that he resorts to all sorts of creative solutions: he even grabs a spoon in search of his university classmate, collaborating in a finely crafted “art work”! Alfie Leung bases his script from personal observations, adding absurd plot twists and creating an elegy of an average working man's struggle to survive. Assistant Artistic Director Yau Ting Fai guides the characters through the nifty plot as it progresses, faking a perfect death! (2nd to 17th September 2023 at HKRep Black Box)
The Bucket (The Open Platform)
During a “fake” renaissance era, four relatively accomplished “Westerners” befriend each other finding camaraderie. Though lost in their ways, they drift through life with a smattering of art. They then decide to emulate the ancients in swearing a blood oath: “We ask not the same year, month and day of birth; but wish to die on the same year, month and day”. Unfortunately, one of them dies on the spot, so their oath is now a curse... The Bucket is written by Hui Chun Pong and directed by Kingston Lo. (9th to 24th March 2024 at HKRep Black Box)
2023-24 Season offering up to 30% discount for Early Bird Booking
Ticket sales for the HKRep 2023-24 season are scheduled in phases, offering up to 30% discount for Early Bird Booking. The first phase of Early Bird Booking for The Isle, Scapin in Jiānghú, Chap. 2023, Landing to Blossom and Sœurs will be available on 30th March to 11th April 2023 at POPTICKET.HK. Ticketing arrangement for other programmes to be announced. Please refer to www.hkrep.com/2324 for details.
The new season brochure is available on www.hkrep.com/2324. Subscription programme enquiry: 3103 5900