DISCOVERING THEATRE: A JOYFUL JOURNEY
The recent slump in the social climate has aggravated many in Hong Kong, and the sudden onslaught of the global pandemic has thrown everything off course. Although difficulties still lie ahead, we must find space for a respite of our souls. As a drama practitioner, I’m deeply convinced that the theatre is the ideal space to generate positive energy. The theme of our new season is “Discovering Theatre: A Joyful Journey” — we’ve included quite a few comedies, hoping that audiences can garner wisdom and insight through laughter and scorn as they start their lives anew in search of opportunities.
Our Main Stage offers fine dramas from different countries and regions for this joyful journey. Local productions include a new work, The Finale of Mr. AD (penned and directed by yours truly), which uses satire along with suspense and humour to examine the contradictory relationship between art and commerce. Following previews during our 2019–20 season, the brand-new production of The Great Pretender — co-produced by the West Kowloon Cultural District and HKRep — will shine a light on the wonderful world of the Cantonese musical when it launches its official premiere this season. In addition, Invisible Men and Principle return to our stage. Both local plays are well on their way to becoming HKRep classics.
We also present an Israeli drama for the first time on our Main Stage. A Winter Funeral is a madcap yet relatable family comedy by Hanoch Levin, a grandmaster of theatre in the Middle East. A second re-run of the splendid French family drama Le Père graces our stage this season, attesting to our belief that fine dramas are worth revisiting countless times.
Our Black Box Theatre also features fine works from different countries and regions. The Open Platform series instituted to support Hong Kong’s new generation of creative talents presents a stage production of Cyrus Lam’s Ashes. Beijing playwright Gu Lei’s farce Evolution brings a breath of fresh air to the theatre, and Norwegian master playwright Jon Fosse’s Winter is also highly anticipated.
The pandemic has forced us to change our programme lineup time and again; some original plans have also been cancelled. But our company will endeavour to deliver fine dramas through different media, including video streams of some of our classic productions. We are also soliciting short plays to connect with our audience as we fight COVID-19 together. Unfortunately, in light of severe restrictions on global travel, we have reluctantly cancelled this year’s installment of the Hong Kong International Black Box Festival. Be rest assured this project will return, bringing excellent theatre arts from around the world to our local audience.
Last but not least, I sincerely wish the pandemic will pass and peace will be restored to our lives. I also hope our 2020–21 season will showcase fulfilling and fun journeys to the theatre. As we embark on this new path, perhaps we’ll discover a more scenic vista along the way.