Playwright Matthew Cheng × Director Fong Chun Kit’s latest work
A relationship that’s perhaps ephemeral Ponders the meaning of marriage
【HKRep】If an ambiguous relationship appears outside your marriage, do you dare pursue it? Playwright of such fine HKRep dramas as The Last Supper, The Sin Family and Auspicious Day, Matthew Cheng pens a story about a married man and a married woman that is perhaps ephemeral, inspiring the audience to ponder the meaning of matrimony. Ambiguous is directed by HKRep Resident Director Fong Chun Kit, featuring Lau Shau Ching, Yiyi Zhao, ManMan Kwok and Chow Wai Keung. The production runs between 15th and 24th October at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are available now from POPTICKET and URBTIX outlets.
The story of Ambiguous begins outside a kindergarten. Misunderstandings stemming from “stealing a peek” and a broken mobile phone draw middle-aged Chan Chi Yung (played by Lau Shau Ching) and housewife Wang Xia (played by Yiyi Zhao) together, and a furtive connection follows. The world of married couples does not always feature high drama. Snippets of daily life that appear normal and cordial may harbor heinous undercurrents. Will a sparrow that accidentally falls on the ground stay entrapped in its relationship? Or would it embark on an escapade?
Playwright Matthew Cheng has a keen eye that draws inspiration from ordinary life, moulding stories that are down-to-earth yet heart-wrenching. He states, “Quite a few years ago, I would pick up my children from kindergarten every day at noon. It turned out that this seemingly innocuous action attracted the attention of quite a few women. Such musings inspired me to create a play that boils down to this idiom: ‘Any resemblance of actual events or persons is entirely accidental’.”
Director Fong Chun Kit equates the relationship between the protagonists with the modern term “soulmate”. According to him, “Modern marriages now are often no longer cut-and-dry, because too many things complicate the matter. Hidden behind marriages depicted in this play are quite a few unresolvable conflicts and problems. Hence the characters’ desire for a soul mate.”
Following The Last Supper and Auspicious Day, Fong Chun Kit directs Matthew Cheng’s newest drama. The two artists are long-time working partners. Their rapport will surely bring us another exciting show.
About Playwright Matthew Cheng
A graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with an MFA degree in Playwriting, Matthew Cheng won an Outstanding Script Award while at the Academy. In 2002, Cheng received the Best Script Award at the HKRep “Here and Now” competition for local plays for his work The Bloody Hell that also won him Outstanding Young Playwright at the 12th Hong Kong Drama Awards. His February 14 was nominated for Best Script at the 15th Hong Kong Drama Awards. In addition, his on-stage performance in Take This Waltz won him Best Supporting Actor (Comedy/Farce) at the 16th Hong Kong Drama Awards. In 2007, Cheng received the Young Artist Award (Drama) at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards. He currently serves as an examiner (Drama) for the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and a member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance of Theatre Professionals of Hong Kong. He teaches playwriting at the HKAPA Extension and Continuing Education for Life (EXCEL) and at HKU SPACE.
Cheng’s output includes The Last Supper, The Sin Family, Auspicious Day, Ambiguous and February 14 for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre; DanzUp for the Hong Kong Arts Festival; The Bloody Hell, The Lily of the Valley and Forest School for Actors’ Family; Cantonese translation of Larger Than Life for Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio; 5 is such a Lonely Number for Loft Stage; Best Summer and One of the Rainy Days for Petrel Theatre, among others.
His most celebrated work, The Last Supper, won him Best Script at the 21st Hong Kong Drama Awards and 4th Hong Kong Theatre Libre Awards in 2012. The play also received an Award of Excellence at the 9th Chinese Drama Festival in 2014. It was lauded by Time Out (Beijing) and The Beijing News among 2013’s “Best Ten” and “Best Six Productions” respectively, having also toured Kaohsiung, Singapore and more than ten cities in the mainland including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin. To date, The Last Supper has received more than 100 performances; it has already been adapted into Putonghua, as well as French and Korean translations. In 2019, The Last Supper made its Korean-language premiere in Seoul by the Windgrass Theatre Company, receiving Best Production at the 7th Seoul Theatre Artists Awards. In 2021, the Putonghua version of The Last Supper toured in the mainland, visiting such cities as Beijing, Shenzhen, Xi’an, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai.
Apart from The Last Supper, many of Cheng’s plays received much critical acclaim. In 2016, The Sin Family won Best Script at the 25th Hong Kong Drama Awards, touring Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In 2019, Auspicious Day was nominated for Best Script at the Hong Kong Drama Awards and was a finalist for the IATC(HK) Critics Awards 2018.
In addition, Cheng has directed many stage productions, among them 5 is such a Lonely Number (Loft Stage), Jack & Jackie (part of the 6th Chinese Drama Festival) and Double Vision, Double Bill (Drama Gallery). He has also performed as actor in such productions as Lo’s Here, Broken, Ptydepe, The Invisible Man in Wonderland 2011, Still Thinking, I Sell Love, Take This Waltz, Inherit the Wind, Detective Women and Village Teacher.
Cheng has also written extensively for television, including such dramas for RTHK as A Wall-less World 7, The Moment 2, Medical Drama, Women with Dreams and the IPCC Files Series.
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