"The Isle" - Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum’s classic work, jointly directed by the HKRep’s three Assistant Artistic Directors
With Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum at the helm,
Assistant Artistic Directors Fong Chun Kit, Lau Shau Ching
and Yau Ting Fai jointly direct four performing versions
【HKRep】After they meet on an island, love lingers on as a man and a woman savour the meaning of their emotional lives. The inaugural production of the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre’s 2023–24 season offers a revised version of Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum’s classic work The Isle, jointly directed by the HKRep’s three Assistant Artistic Directors Fung Chun Kit, Lau Shau Ching and Yau Ting Fai. Many theatre companies have produced The Isle since the 1990s, and the play has graced the stages in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Canada, its rich imagery and poetic dialogue engendering a wide range of readings. For this presentation, the HKRep produces four different versions featuring three pairs of company members: Eva Mak and Eddy Au Yeung (Cast ※), Kiki Cheung and Angus Chan (Cast ○) and Wong Hiu Yee and Trickle Choi (Cast ◇), as well as a “sextet” version in which all six share the stage. This production runs from 13th to 28th May at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are now available at URBTIX outlets.
The Isle is about 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?
Playwright Poon Wai Sum states, “It has been thirty years since I first created this script. In the interim, different theatre companies have produced The Isle. During my tenure at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in the past decade, students would choose to study or perform this play almost every semester. Through them, I uncovered something vital. People are still interested in The Isle and find resonance in the story. Hence I decided to revise it for three directors—Fong Chun Kit, Yau Ting Fai, Lau Shau Ching—to collaborate in the same production. Their distinctive ideas will be realised by three duos respectively, generating a total of four performing versions. I believe this special production will bring something new and fresh to our audience.”
Directors Fong Chun Kit, Lau Shau Ching and Yau Ting Fai all agree that this is an actors’ play testing the prowess of the two-person cast. Yau Ting Fai states that “having different actors perform the same work accentuates the special characteristics associated with each couple, thus unveiling different facets of the script.” Lau Shau Ching remarks that “the sextet version further distills each actor’s distinguishing characteristics as they reappear on stage; cast members with different experience will bring forth different interpretations.”
The Isle has long been a popular work because its many interpretations encompass a broad range of emotions. The audience can always find something uniquely personal with every production, creating unique “isles” to each his own. Fong Chun Kit explains, “As the years pass, this play reflects much of its time. On the surface it chronicles a relationship in the guise of a love story, but it’s not just about love, but details different personal values. Based on their own life experience, audience members find themselves following different directions the story takes. This time, with three directors and three teams of actors, the four versions will certainly ignite many sparks.”
About Playwright Poon Wai Sum
About Director Fong Chun Kit
About Director Lau Shau Ching
About Director Yau Ting Fai