Diary of the tiger-vanquishing hero—
Reflections on life without rhyme or reason
Panasonic Proudly Sponsors Diary of Song
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】In the classic novel The Water Margin there are 108 heroes, each faithful and just, robbing the rich to help the poor. Of the many valiant episodes therein, names as Wu Song, Song Jiang, Lin Chong and Li Kui are widely known. Wizard playwright Paul Poon, after the sold-out run of Hu Xueyan, My Dear, singles out Wu Song, using a comic approach to construct the character anew. In this play, despite his well-known feat of vanquishing the tiger, Wu Song also keeps a diary contemplating the challenges of his own life! Directed by the playwright, who serves as Acting Dean of the School of Drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, The Diary of Song features guest artist Lee Chun Chow in the title role with HKRep company members Man Sui Hing, Wang Wei, Yau Ting Fai, Ng Ka Leung, Siuling Ling, Chan Kiu, ManMan Kwok, Kiki Cheung, Lau Shau Ching and Eddy Au Yeung. The production runs from October 21st to November 5th at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are available now from URBTIX outlets.
The Diary of Song begins with Wu Song fighting a tiger in Jingyang Pass, tracing his steps as he arrives at Liang Mountain. There he meets other heroes, all living in despair in the wild, while their leader Song Jiang (played by Lau Shau Ching) wishes for the Emperor to call for his army to save the court. The group’s only exception is Li Kui (played by Chan Kiu), who can’t stand his listless existence and rushes to the capital, vowing to assassinate the Emperor. Wu Song is ordered to lead his fellow heroes Lin Chong (played by Wang Wei), Lu Zhishen (played by Yau Ting Fai), Yan Qing (played by Siuling Ling) to stop Li from this misdeed. Finally, they find Li and brings him back to the fold…
All of the characters in The Diary of Song stem from the classic novel The Water Margin, but they are recast in a modern and comic approach, in which their difficulties and anxieties relate directly with our modern lives. Playwright and director Paul Poon selects Wu Song as his protagonist because he finds him special: “Wu Song is rare among the heroes in The Water Margin. Eventually he becomes a monk and dies at peace. I’ve always been curious how his life can end like this. There must be something different in him than others. Since The Water Margin does not contain any clues for me, I decided to write The Diary of Song to deconstruct some unknown facets of his character.”
Normally people identify Wu Song as an “uncultured brute,” but Paul Poon gives his character the extraordinary habit of “keeping a diary,” remoulding his image afresh. The play unfolds in many scenes with a large number of characters. Even the spirits of tigers, cats or toads are personified. Matched with a minimalist set and flexible staging, this production is distinguished by its stylised presentation.
Playwright / Director Paul Poon
Hong Kong citizen who teaches; he is also an amateur playwright.
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