A posthumous Cantonese opera script extends the bonds of lives past
New production of Footprints in the Snow
launches the HKREP 2016-17 season
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】Remnants of a transient life are hidden in the depths of the hearts of those who remain. A dedicated Cantonese playwright’s posthumous script triggers a battle that uncovers a passionate entanglement while extending amorous connections that transcend life and death. The HKRep’s 2016-17 season launches with Footprints in the Snow, a play written by HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan. While its world premiere productioninaugurated the Ko Shan Theatre’s New Wing in 2014; this current production of Footprints in the Snow will be directed by Anthony Chan. Melding spoken drama and Cantonese opera on stage, this dramatic work raises questions surrounding heritage and innovation of the traditional genre today. Song dynasty poet Su Shi aptly epitomized the essence of the story in the following lines: “Life takes us to all kinds of places, like a giant goose that leaves its footprints in the snow; though they are left by chance, when the goose flies away, it does not matter where they are any longer.” Footprints in the Snow is also the opening production of the 10thChinese Drama Festival. Written and directed by HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan, it features Cantonese opera music by Tsang Kin Man. The brand new cast for Footprints in the Snow include Ko Hon Man, Sun Wai Keung, Au Yeung Chun, Cheung Ngar Lai, Chan Kiu, Pichead Amornsomboon, Roy Cheng and Frances Wong. The production runs from 2nd to 13th April at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are currently on sale at URBTIX.
Footprints in the Snow centres on the legendary Cantonese opera playwright Yip Fei Hung (played by Ko Hon Man). In his last letter to his son Eric (played by Au Yeung Chun) who moved to America for decades, father confided in son that an unproduced script is under lock and key in a “Ying Seung” (“congealed box”). Arriving in Hong Kong to attend his father’s funeral, Eric hears that a new Cantonese opera troupe plans to present a lavish staging of his work. While searching for the script, Eric discovers more about his father’s life and love, including an unusual relationship with a retired actor who specialized in cross-dressing roles. A posthumous script reveals sensibilities hidden sensibilities for a lifetime, leading to a struggle between two generations in their zeal to protect the legacy of Cantonese Opera.
Playwright and director Anthony Chan is a devotee of the traditional operatic arts. His portrayal of the devotion and dedication of the Cantonese opera playwright to his art is in turn an examination of his persistent artistic pursuit. As Chan says, “Newly created works rarely finds an appreciative audience. Sometimes when a work finds an audience, it might already be too late—the creator might already be dead, although his artistic intentions remain. When a work is appreciated, it’s as if the creator has been resurrected and emotional bonds are established anew across time and space! This is the impetus for my creating Footprints in the Snow. The character of Yip Fei Hung and people around him are fictional, but the sentiments and thoughts contained in the play are distilled from people I know.”
Footprints in the Snow combines spoken drama and the art of Cantonese opera. The play also contains a newly composed Cantonese opera excerpt, offering the audience two performance art genres within one show.
The HKREP will host its 2016-17 season announcement on February 29th at 3pm at the Hong Kong City Hall Lobby. A full lineup of the upcoming season will be announced then.
About playwright and director Anthony Chan
About Footprints in the Snow
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