Winner of Four Hong Kong Drama Awards
Premiere production sold out in 2017
CMB Wing Lung Bank Proudly Sponsors Le Père
Memory fades, adrift between the real and unreal
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】In Hong Kong today, one out of ten septuagenarians is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, while one-third of the population above age 85 is afflicted by this ailment*. As this phenomenon become more and more prevalent, how do we learn to accept and understand the disease? When a patient gradually loses memory and reason, what are the physical and emotional ramifications? Renowned French playwright Florian Zeller’s Le Père portrays the disease first-hand from the Alzheimer’s patient’s perspective, guiding the audience through the pressures and hardships of both patients and families. Winner of the 2014 Molière Award for Best Play, Le Père was also nominated for the Olivier and Tony Awards. All 16 shows of the HKRep’s 2017 premiere production sold out, and the production received four accolades at the 27th Hong Kong Drama Awards for Best Director, Best Lighting Design, Outstanding Production of the Year and Best Actor (Tragedy/Drama) for Director Emeritus Fredric Mao. This Cantonese production again features Sonia Au’s translation. Assistant Artistic Director Fung Wai Hang assembles the original cast: special guest artist Fredric Mao with Pang Hang Ying, Alice Lau and HKRep company members Ko Hon Man, Chris Sun and Mercy Wong. The production runs from May 4th to 18th at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are available now from URBTIX outlets.
Le Père follows the story of an elderly father, André (played by Fredric Mao) gradually loses his ability to live independently. His daughter, Anne (played by Pang Hang Ying) moves him in to live with her and her boyfriend, tending to his daily necessities. André suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, vacillates between humorous disposition and state of confusion. “Reality” gradually dissolves in his mind, challenging their father-daughter relationship. Shouldering filial love and her responsibility to family, Anne is under tremendous pressure to make the “appropriate” decision. Can her father regain control of his own spirit and decide his own fate at the last moments of his life?
HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan praises Le Père as an incredibly rare family drama: “Zeller portrays André’s memory loss and hallucinations with such a deft hand, at the same time capturing his daughter’s own hardships in dealing with her mid-life crisis and the stress of being her father’s caregiver. The many contradictions and tensions in the multiple relationships uncover the playwright’s incisive viewpoints on family matters without being melodramatic or emotionally overwrought.”
Aging is an issue that everyone must face. If one is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease late in life, what happens to the body and mind? Director Fung Wai Hang was keen to delve into this question and raise societal awareness of this ailment. “I was initially attracted to Le Père because I wanted to pry into André’s world: a man unable to recognise family members standing right in front of him, with his impressions and memories a jumble and hallucinations coming out of nowhere. When one can no longer control one’s mind, what shock and suffering ensue?” Fung hopes that this re-run will again address this issue, helping the public better understand how this disease affects patients and caregivers.
Guest Leading Cast Fredric Mao states, “I like Le Père a lot. The playwright has written a very clever script that requires the cast to develop rapport and nuanced interpretations. It didn’t occur to me that my role was actually hard: the script looks as if it lacks logic, its materials shifting around, challenging not only the creative team but also the audience to experience what André is going through. This is a play that has social significance. It’s real and charming, making the audience understand and feel both the patient’s condition and the conflicts and suffering of those taking care of him.”
Wing Lung Bank is the title sponsor of Le Père. The opening performance on May 4th is a special show for the bank’s esteemed customers. The HKRep is delighted to receive funding from the Chan Dang Social Services Foundation for a community performance on May 12th for Alzheimer’s patients and their family members or caregivers, followed by a post-performance talk. The HKRep hopes this unique production will give caregivers and the public an up-close experience of Alzheimer’s disease, increasing awareness and empathy in a positive manner.
Le Père will be presented at the Macao Cultural Centre from April 26th to 28th.
*According to the Hong Kong Alzheimer’s Disease Association, www.hkada.org.hk
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