A Contemporary German Comedy
Die Firma dankt
An Office Undergoes Transformations to Keep up with the Time
The Young New CEO Clashes with the Veteran Senior Staff
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】As a new economic era arrives, traditional corporations go through drastic transformations to reinvent themselves. Do those who have been with the company for a long time stand firm to defend the old existing system, or do they accept the new changes? Exploring the subject of office politics, particularly the ideological clash between the new and old generations within companies, Die Firma dankt is written by German playwright Lutz Hübner together with Sarah Nemitz. This satirical work is filled with brilliantly dark humour, and it has garnered enthusiastic acclaims when performed in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan. The current version is translated by Tang Wei, with Cantonese adaption by Weigo Lee who also directs this production. The main cast includes Chris Sun, Wang Wei, Karrie Tan, Lo Ka Nang and Fanny Shum, and the performances will be staged at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre from 6 to 22 July. Tickets are now available at URBTIX.
As with the reality of mergers and acquisitions, a company undergoes personnel changes with the arrival of a new director. Watching this unfold is a long-time manager, witnessing the dismissal of colleagues and wondering about his own future. When the young CEO takes charge, he challenges conventional wisdom, throwing down the gauntlet and adapting an entirely new management style negating years of experience and previous achievement to the point of ridding the company of its reason for being. In the face of new employees and ways of handling business, what should the veteran do? Will the company show an appreciation?
“Die Firma dankt is a contemporary German play with a modern approach to its style of expression. I will also adopt a newer style when approaching this piece. It explores the conflicts between the new economy and the old values on economy. Such conflicts are also extrapolated to the larger ideological changes – how does the old generation handle the conflict brought by the new system, under the next generation’s ideology? This is actually a subject closely relevant to ourselves,” Director Weigo Lee.
Playwright Lutz Hübner received the German Youth Theatre Prize (Deutscher Jugendtheaterpreis) in 1998 and has been invited to take part in the Mülheimer Theatertage multiple times. His work Die Firma dankt was widely acclaimed in Germany and has been performed many times in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan, including the 2015 HKRep Reader’s Theatre, 2016 Taipei Arts Festival as well as performances in Beijing.
“Playwright Lutz Hübner infuses absurdity into dramatic conflicts in this work, making the insanity in reality easily visible. The most outstanding aspect is how he fuses Shakespeare and Geothe into a larger character, whom he displays on stage,” Frankfurter Rundschau
“A Black comedy based on the subject of economics with a shocking end to the story. From this piece, one can see that playwright Lutz Hübner is a pioneering representative figure combining new age and comical theatre,” Muelheim Theatre Review
“This is an extremely appealing drama based on contemporary reality. The Trial by Kafka comes to mind, while the playwright’s writing style is very close to that of Orwell,” Dresden Express Times
Cantonese adaption and Director Weigo Lee
Weigo Lee graduated from Drama School of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (Directing). At the Hong Kong Drama Awards, his works have won the Best Director five times (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2012), namely Cricket in My Life, Spider in Meditation, The Massage King, Art, and Death and The Maiden.
From 1994 to 2006, Lee has served as the Resident Director at the Prospects Theatre and he has conducted most of the company’s productions. Whilst at the position, he has won the Best Overall Performance and seven Top Ten Most Popular Productions awards at the Hong Kong Drama Awards.
In addition, he has directed over 80 productions for other theatre companies. Recent works have included: Art, Death and The Maiden and Circle Mirror Transformation for the HKRep; Art and I Ought to Be In Pictures by the Emperor Entertainment Group; The Real Thing by Dayo Wong; Tuesdays with Morrie (TorCanAA) in Toronto, Six Characters in Search of an Author and La Dispute for HKAPA, The Ugly One and The Phenomenon of Man by On & On Theatre Workshop; Proof for the Windmill Grass Theatre; Confessions, Men and Dogs, Waiting for the Match by iStage; as well as God of Carnage, Proof and Collected Stories for the Guangzhou Drama Art Center. His works have been performed around the world, including Canada, Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, and Macao. He directed the HKRep production of The Gin Game, which was performed at the World Drama Festival in Nanjing in 2008, winning an Outstanding Theatre Award; The production went on to tour around different cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Shantou between 2009 and 2011 to critical acclaims. It was selected by a Mainland Chinese website as one of the three best Beijing productions of the year. In 2012, Lee directed Wu Song Fight Mosquitoes for the Macao Youth Repertory Theatre, and the production was taken to the Guangdong Province Arts Festival representing Macao. It was performed in Guangzhou and Dongguan.
In addition to his work as a director, Lee has also translated many plays including: The Gin Game, Art, Trumpets and Raspberries, I Ought to Be In Pictures, Death and The Maiden, The Real Thing, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, RED, Three Tall Women, Circle Mirror Transformation, Proof, Collected Stories and Rabbit Hole.
Currently a freelance theatre practitioner, Lee is a committee member of the Theatre Panel of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Expert Advisor to the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme launched by the Home Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR, an artistic advisor of the Macao Arts Festival, an examiner for the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Honorary Adviser of the Emperor Entertainment Academy for the Performing Arts.
In 2018, Weigo Lee established the Theatre Styles company in Macao and he is currently the artistic director.
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