After a sold-out premiere run, Golden Horse “Best Supporting Actor” Ben Yuen
returns with the original cast in this revival
An Unjust Good Fellow
A battle between legal reasoning and human bonds, pondering such definitions as justice and mercy
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】A pastor is involved in an apparent assault. He deeply believes in “justice and mercy,” but during the process he realises these two cannot coexist. Caught in a bind between the legal process and human compassion, can he hold fast to his own faith? In this familiar yet estranged city, a tragic story is revealed as the court case unfolds, highlighting the deficiency and pathos of urban survival. An Unjust Good Fellow is written by Callas Cheang and directed by Octavian Chan. At its 2017 premiere, the play received tremendous acclaim during its sold-out run. Actor Ng Ka Leung’s portrayal of an Alzheimer’s patient earned him a nomination as Outstanding Actor at the 9th Hong Kong Theatre Libre. The original cast returns for this revival, including newly crowned Golden Horse “Best Supporting Actor” Ben Yuen, Sung Boon Ho, Man Sui Hing and Ng Ka Leung. An Unjust Good Fellow will appear at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre from December 21st to 30th 2018. Tickets are now available for sale in URBTIX outlets.
An Unjust Good is about Pastor Cheung Yu (played by Ben Yuen) returns to his hometown, a metropolis where he reunites with his childhood friend Ho Cheong (played by Sung Boon Ho). Hunchback granny Chan Hei (played by Man Sui Hing) ekes out a living by scavenging while taking care of her bedridden husband Tsui Fuk (played by Ng Ka Leung). An apparent assault connects these four people. Can our society, which emphasizes justice and honesty, also embrace mercy and forgiveness? A once-glittering city has lost its lustre. The cruel reality buries a kind-hearted human being. The law maintains stability in society, but who protects people’s souls?
Playwright Callas Cheang describes the impetus for this play: “An Unjust Good Fellow was an assignment for my MFA in Drama course. My professor, Paul Poon, provided us with a newspaper clipping, asking us to let our minds roam free. That was a report about a traffic accident where both sides were insistent they were telling the truth. In the end, the ‘victim’ won, partly because we’d presumed the ‘victim’ was indeed ‘victimized.’ I couldn’t figure out whether it was how the story was reported, or if there was already inherent prejudice, but I found myself inadvertently standing on the side of the accused: that the ‘victim’ was the one trying to deceive the jury. What prompts an ‘aggressor’ to take the role of ‘victim’? Was it greed? Only greed? Perhaps because I’d chosen to take the role of the judge. Were there things I didn’t see, or perhaps was reluctant to see? As I untangled these questions, An Unjust Good Fellow slowly took shape.”
Director Octavian Chan adds, “When I first read the script, I thought I was reading a debate on compassion and reason. As a director, if I choose to stand on either side, I’ll be biased … Looking back at the character of Cheung Yu in the play, he epitomizes a man adrift to me. One can say An Unjust Good Fellow concerns how a man can search for and hold fast to his faith and original intentions. With changes in environment, experience and age, people enter into different phases in their lives. During the process, some people would lose their way, trapped between the cracks. Transformations in our own city also condition us, making us feel angry, powerless or desperate.”
Critical acclaim of the premiere run:
“It is a blessing to see the recent Hong Kong Repertory Theatre production of Callas Cheang’s new play, An Unjust Good Fellow, because it is one of those rare experiences of a local Hong Kong production in recent years when I finally have a cathartic moment, and a long, heavy one.” – Clement Lee, The Typewriter
“Bringing to the audience tightly-packed shock waves that combine the visual and the verbal.” – Ho Chun Fai, Ta Kung Pao
Playwright Callas Cheang
A member of the medical profession, Callas Cheang spent her spare time in creative writing and landed in the world of theatre. Along the way, she enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts in Drama programme, majoring in Playwriting, at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Her works include An Unjust Good Fellow, Angel’s Gift, The Story of Leaping Fish, Sweet Mandarin and Fantasia on Fathers and Sons.
Director Octavian Chan
Having finished his university education in Physics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Octavian Chan then graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts’ School of Drama, specializing in Directing (First Class Honours). In 2009, he received the Young Artist Award (Drama) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Three Men and a Lady, in which he was a collaborator, was nominated for the 3rd Hong Kong Theatre Libre for Best Script. Chan also received two nominations at the 5th Hong Kong Theatre Libre including Best Director and Best Stage Effects.
Among his productions as director: Hong Kong Repertory Theatre’s Three Impaired Monkeys, An Unjust Good Fellow, The Professor (premiere and re-run), Desert the Dangling Cat and Cao Yu’s Last Soliloquy (Macau and Hong Kong); K.O. The Box’s Killing Time; Windmill Grass Theatre’s Boy Gets Girl, Almost, Maine and Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune; Chuang Dian Theatre’s Caesar; Metro-HoliK Studio’s Pillow Talk, A Glimpse of Heaven, Suddenly Single, At Last, We Met, So Long, Farewell! HK and Lady Samantha; Chivalry Creative Theatre’s I Love Football, The Edo Legendaries and Knock Her Down (premiere and re-run); Three Men and a Lady; Joyce a cappella group’s Joyous Moment Concert; and Do You Sing? Dare to Sing! presented by the International Arts Carnival.
Among his productions as lighting designer: Chan Suk Yee x Philippe Gaulier x Jim Chim’s Don Quixote; Radix Troupe’s Radix Series · Dissmilation – Ageless, The Isle and An Accidental Rainbow; 2018 Hong Kong Arts Festival’s The Great Learning and Doctrine of Happiness; Macau Experimental Theatre’s Am Schwarzen See (Macau); 2016 Hong Kong Arts Festival’s Chinese Lesson; Dance On Series’ Puzzle; Whole Theatre Limited’s Gap Life (premiere and re-run); Hong Kong Repertory Theatre’s Beyond the Corner (The Open Platform), Monsters, Tang Sai Cheong (since 1894), The Last Supper and Papa, Mama, Thou Wind Blows Ever; RTHK Radio 2’s Music Lover Tenth Anniversary Show; Take It Easy Theatre’s Dry MeChat (re-run); K.O. The Box’s The Shape of Things and Gu Cheng and the Hallow Land; 2014 New Vision Arts Festival’s She Who Encountered Kafka X The New Rendezvous with Nalan (Alice Theatre Laboratory); Alice Theatre Laboratory’s Ten Utterances from Dreams and The Poem of Taboos; Black Bird Theatre’s Freedom of Expression and No One Party; Take It Easy Theatre’s The Legend of Hua Tuo; Amity Drama Club’s A 7-D Multi-piece Performance; Kwok Chui Yi ｘBenny Leung’s Here We Go and Macau Arts Festival/Theatre Farm’s God of Carnage and Flowers for Algernon. Chan also created lighting and video design for a wide range of concerts.
Chan is also engaged in theatre education. He had served on the faculty of the following institutions and courses: HKRep Affiliated Drama School’s Advanced Certificate in Directing (2013-2016); The Open University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education/Hong Kong Repertory Theatre “Stage Performance Professional Certificate (Directing)” Course (9th and 10th sessions); Windmill Grass Theatre’s Outreach Workshops (Lighting Design) (2012-2014) and W Theatre TIE (Lighting Design) (2013-2017).
Chan is a founding member of the MetroHoliK Studio. He is a freelance director and lighting designer.
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