Third installment in the “Family in crisis” series
following The Last Supper and The Sin Family
Auspicious Day unveils a shocking secret the night before a wedding
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】 What is the purpose of marriage? Staying with one’s beloved for years to come? Or begetting children, planning for the future? Matthew Cheng creates yet another contemporary family drama combining realism with absurdist characteristics, using his unique perspective to magnify familial issues that are often overlooked. This new play follows the critically-acclaimed The Last Supper, which has received more than 100 performances, reuniting director Fong Chun Kit with this latest installment of the “Family in crisis” series. Auspicious Day is written by Hong Kong Drama Awards’ Best Playwright Matthew Cheng, directed by Best Director Fong Chun Kit, featuring HKREP company members ManMan Kwok, Mercy Wong, Man Sui Hing and Yau Ting Fai. It runs from 10th to 25th March at the Hong Kong Arts Centre Shouson Theatre. Tickets are now available at URBTIX outlets.
Auspicious Day starts the evening before the wedding of a younger sister (played by ManMan Kwok), as she spends an intimate evening sharing her heartfelt thoughts with her elder sister (played by Mercy Wong) and mother (played by Man Sui Hing). Everything is ready to greet the auspicious day. Yet on this night, a shocking secret comes to light. When an auspicious day is upon us, does it always mean a new life will begin?
Starting with The Last Supper, continuing with The Sin Family and now with Auspicious Day, playwright Matthew Cheng has focussed on the subject of family. “Family is always the basic unit for humankind. Everyone comes from different family backgrounds. A real family isn’t as peaceful as those depicted in saccharine television dramas. It is my goal to depict a family that is ‘close to the ground,’ of real people who happen to be close to you and me and to real life,” says Cheng. As a man, Cheng faces the challenge of depicting three women in this new work. He explains, “What I’m writing isn’t the difference between the sexes, but rather how humans, in light of certain conditions, make decisions. The three women in the drama are in difference phases of their lives—the mother having settled in a long-term marriage, an elder sister starting her own family, a younger sister about to get married—but they are all running away from similar family problems, each having her own attitude towards them.”
Director Fong Chun Kit considers the connections of the three plays in the “Family in crisis” series that manage to generate completely different viewpoints. “By inserting different problems into three families, different sets of results come about,” he says. “While The Last Supper deals with the survival of a family belonging to the bottom of the social strata, The Sin Family highlights how the rich people live, and Auspicious Day shines a light on the middle-class. No matter where our audience comes from, they’ll find empathy with this trilogy.” Fong emphasizes the contemporaneity of Auspicious Day: “Modern folks have gradually lost their ability to live with others and to handle problems. Family interactions have since fallen short, alienating people as conflicts arise. Auspicious Day chronicles how three women of their time come face to face with adversity and how they survive.”
About Matthew Cheng
A graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with an MFA degree in Playwriting, Matthew Cheng won an Outstanding Script Award while at the Academy. In 2002, Cheng received the Best Script Award at the HKREP “Here and Now” competition for local plays, for his work The Bloody Hell that also won him the Outstanding Young Playwright award at the 12th Hong Kong Drama Awards. Two years later, his performance in Take This Waltz won him the Best Supporting Actor at the Hong Kong Drama Awards. His February 14 was nominated for Best Script at the 15th Hong Kong Drama Awards. In 2007, Cheng received the Young Artist Award (Drama) at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards. He was named “Best Playwright” for The Last Supper at the 21st Hong Kong Drama Awards. The Last Supper also won “Best Script” at the 4th Hong Kong Theatre Libre Awards, with Cheng receiving the Award of Excellence at the 9th Chinese Drama Festival in 2014. It was lauded by Time Out (Beijing) and The Beijing News among 2013’s “Best Ten” and “Best Six Productions” respectively, having also toured Taiwan, Singapore and more than ten cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin. A French translation of The Last Supper will soon premiere in Paris. To date, The Last Supper has received more than 100 performances. Cheng’s The Sin Family has also toured Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou.
Cheng’s output includes The Last Supper, The Sin Family and February 14 for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, DanzUp for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, The Bloody Hell and The Lily of the Valley for Actors’ Family, 5 is such a Lonely Number for Loft Stage, Best Summer and One of the Rainy Days for Petrel Theatre.
Cheng has also written extensively for television, including such dramas for RTHK as The Moment 2, Medical Drama, Women with Dreams and the IPCC Files Series. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Alliance of Theatre Professionals of Hong Kong and teaches playwriting at the Extension and Continuing Education for Life (EXCEL) at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Macao Conservatory’s School of Theatre.
About Fong Chun Kit
Fong Chun Kit graduated from the Drama School of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Degree, majoring in Directing. During his studies, he was awarded the HKSAR Government Scholarship (2009–2010) as well as a Ben and Benson Company Limited Scholarship (2008). In 2008 and 2009, he was awarded HSBC’s HKSAR/Mainland Exchange Scholarship to visit Shanghai and Beijing. Fong’s graduate piece Taming of the Shrew won him the HKAPA’s “Outstanding Director 2009/2010” award. His other work, Three Men and a Lady, which he wrote, directed and performed, was nominated for Best Script at the 3rd Hong Kong Theatre Libre Awards in 2011. In 2016, Fong was nominated in the Best Director (Tragedy/Drama) category at the 25th Hong Kong Drama Awards for his work in The Marriage. Last year, at the Hong Kong Drama Awards, Fong won Best Director (Comedy/Satire) for The Truth from Liar.
Fong’s directorial output includes Hong Kong Trilogy for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, The Marriage, The Last Supper (premiere and three revivals, plus touring to such cities as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hanzhou, Guangzhou, Kaohsiung and Singapore) and Secrets of the 81/2 Floor for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Le dieu du carnage (premiere and revival, plus Singapore tour) for Dionysus Contemporary Theatre, Red Sky for Chung Ying Theatre, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love and Avenue Q for Windmill Grass Theatre, The Truth from Liar, Sins, Forget Me Not, Monsters and Monsters (re-run) for the Artocrite Theater; The Goat for We Draman (also as translator), Three Men and a Lady for Three Men Play (also as playwright and actor), With Love, William Shakespeare for Theatre Noir (also as playwright, touring Hong Kong, China and Taiwan with more than 100 performances), Lysistrata and Taming of the Shrew for the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Twelfth Night for tobe THEATRE (premiere and revival).
Currently a freelance theatre artist, Fong is a co-founder of tobe THEATRE.
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