Award-winning Off-Broadway comedy
Panasonic Proudly Sponsors The Big Meal
offers a sprawling feast of family ties
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】In a restaurant, touching moments play out scene after scene. Whether it is lovers enjoying a candlelight dinner, or family members joining together at the table, every meal is a meaningful occasion filled with wide-ranging emotions, accompanied by laughter and tears both bitter and sweet. Eight actors in The Big Meal play a total of 26 characters having 54 meals, inviting the audience to taste a family’s heritage over five generations. Written by Dan LeFranc, former Visiting Lecturer running the Yale School of Drama’s MFA Playwriting Workshop, The Big Meal was named “Best Play” by the Chicago Tribune and received a Drama Desk nomination for “Outstanding Play” at its Off-Broadway debut. Last season’s HKRep production of The Big Meal was named an “Outstanding Production of the Year” at the Hong Kong Drama Awards, also garnering nominations for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Lighting Design. This revival is directed by HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan, featuring Lui Si Lan, Chow Chi Fai, Cheung Ngar Lai, Wang Wei, ManMan Kwok, Eddie Au Yeung, Yives Hon, Nate Leung and Kalok Chan. The production runs from October 25th to November 2nd at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are available now from URBTIX outlets.
The Big Meal chronicles 54 meals spanning five generations of a family, from Sam and Nicole’s meeting and marriage to their offspring from one generation to the next. Every meal reflects changing relationships, but no matter it concerns flaring emotions at hand or life in general, the moment is transient. What counts is how we share our meals, live in the moment and treasure those we love.
The 54 scenes in The Big Meal flow seamlessly in under two hours. Anthony Chan, translator and director of this production, describes the play’s significance: “Through witnessing the lives of five generations of a family, we appreciate life’s transience, and how family and marriage values have been transformed. With any upcoming generation, values are in danger of being eroded, yet we can still count on the tacit bonds of love and promise. Apart from depicting time as being merciless, LeFranc also hints at the grace of flowing time. Whatever pain life brings will be washed away and forgotten, and life eventually will also pass. What makes The Big Meal all the more special is that it is based on mundane events, yet delves deep into the meaning of life. Among the many ‘family dramas’ on stage now, The Big Meal is a tour de force, adding a modern touch on the anxieties and generational crisis in contemporary society, finding resonance among the audience. This is a piece truly worth sharing with the Hong Kong theatregoing public.”
Eight actors in the cast play 26 roles, sharing characters as they grow and age among five generations, using a simple yet effective way of chronicling life’s many chapters. Playwright Dan LeFranc wants to portray how quickly life passes, and how fast everything changes. No matter who we are, we do carry our parents’ DNA. Whether good or bad, children are the extension of their forebears. Through this play, LeFranc shows us how our genes affect future generations.
“Everything is depicted with such detail of the values and emotions of life’s many stages!”
—Rupert Chan, Hong Kong Economic Journal
“Every phrase in this pointed script cuts right to the chase. The story of five generations of a family unfolding in 90 minutes does not feel fragmentary … This is life: no matter what hardship we encounter, in the end, we just take a deep breath and swallow it, because we are family.”
—Wong Ming Lok, AM730
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