He wants to leave this place to which he has become accustomed
To go somewhere faraway, so far that is out of his reach
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】To drift is to float on top of a liquid, appearing still or moving in the direction of the liquid or wind. The term “Gang Piao” literally means drifting back and forth in Hong Kong, yet its exact definition is not certain – are “Gang Piao” professionals who came to work in Hong Kong from the Mainland? Or are they students from the Mainland? Or tourists who came to Hong Kong to shop? Pride depicts protagonist Jason’s struggles to find a place where he can settled down, despite having good academic qualifications, a job and a marriage in Hong Kong since moving from the Mainland many years ago. He continues to drift directionlessly from one place to another. What has Hong Kong actually given him? What can he establish for himself? Pride is another limit-testing work that challenges the bottom line by emerging playwright Wang Haoran, following his controversial Blast and Red Chamber in the Concrete Forest. The current production is directed by HKRep’s Assistant Artistic Director Fung Wai Hang, starring a cast including Wang Wei, Lai Yuk Ching, Lau Shau Ching, Kong Ho Yin and Chan Kiu, running 16-31 March at the Hong Kong Arts Centre Shouson Theatre. Tickets are now available at URBTIX.
In this story, Jason (played by Wang Wei) came from Mainland China. He works at a simultaneous translator and lives with his good friend Ryan (played by Lau Shau Ching). Although they are close friends, their views on life are drastically different. In Hong Kong, where money and profit are valued above all else, Ryan enjoys a successful career after studying overseas. He earns a good salary and owns a property. Jason believes he is capable and considers himself superior to others, yet his career is drifting and directionless. Ryan’s girlfriend Cindy (played by Kong Ho Yin) and Tanya (played by Lai Yuk Ching) live together. Cindy also came from the Mainland, but she has grown accustomed to life in Hong Kong. Jason and Tanya are set up by Ryan and Cindy to meet and get to know each other. They could be closer, yet they somehow feel compelled to run away the more they are attracted to each other. What is driving them away? Is it Jason’s past that makes him reluctant to devote himself in love again? What does Tanya fear?
Set in Hong Kong, Pride is a story that simultaneously connects people from Hong Kong and the Mainland. Through the characters of Jason and Cindy, the story explores different issues surrounding the identity of those who “drift” in Hong Kong, i.e. “Gang Piao”. Through the life values of Ryan and Jason, the audience is invited to consider the values held by Hong Kong society and the way people’s worth is measured. At the same time, the relationship between Jason and Tanya examines the influence of loneliness and emotions on love. The four people’s relationships may appear to be simple, yet a lot of delicate emotions are hidden within, and a multitude of value systems co-exist in the relationships.
“I believe most audience members are only concerned about whether a play is good or bad, just like how most people care more about the enjoyment of food than who the chefs are and how the food was cooked. It has been three years since I completed the first draft of Pride, and I am a forgetful person. Even if there are some bits and pieces of memories remaining, I would doubt whether they come from my dream or imagination. If I really must say something, then I can only say that it is a sense of losing balance, because it is still the case now. As for why the balance was lost, that is really hard to say, perhaps it is because I know qing gong!” said playwright Wang Haoran. (qing gong is a cultivated ability to fly in Chinese martial arts fiction.)
“In this story, we can think about what loneliness is, and whether this feeling is a disease,” said director Fung Wai Hang.
About Playwright Wang Haoran
A playwright and a director among other ventures, Wang Haoran’s Blast (Top 10 Most Popular Productions, 2013 Hong Kong Drama Awards) and Red Chamber in the Concrete Forest (2014) were performed at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. His work Strangers (2016) was premiered by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, followed by a re-run of 40 performances to great acclaims. Works that he has directed include: To Kill or to be Killed (2014)(Shanghai International Arts Festival) and Cocoon (《繭》)(2018 Shenzhen Nanshan Theatre Festival), a unique work created through a group improvisation process. Wang is also engaged in game and audio-visual creativity, such as his full-time role as an audio-visual game planner at Tencent. His animated film Tofu was shown across the country in 2017, whilst he will release new film is due to be shown across China in 2019.
Wang’s family originated from Hunan and he himself grew up in Shenzhen, he speaks fluent Cantonese, English and a Hunanese dialect. Based upon his personal experience and development background, Wang has created a unique approach that blends pointed observations and poignant reflection with humour in his interpretation of cultural differences and phenomena. He graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a MFA in Drama (Distinction), and in 2014, he was an awardee of an Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Fellowship which fully funded his exchange studies to cities including New York. In 2016, his work was selected to be included in the New Playwriting Scheme by the Royal Court Theatre, UK.
Wang is currently a freelance professional who splits his time between his creative career and teaching at universities.
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