Pulitzer Prize-winning Drama and OBIE-winning Best Play
Uncovering a long-buried secret in a surrealist-symbolist production
【Hong Kong Repertory Theatre】A “buried secret” is discovered, layer upon layer, as the vortex of guilt spares no one in the family. Written by pioneering American playwright Sam Shepard, Buried Child is translated by HKREP Artistic Director Anthony Chan and directed by guest artist Travis Preston, Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. The play features a cast of veteran company members including Chow Chi Fai, Au Ga Man, Ko Hon Man, Chris Sun, Lau Shau Ching, Mercy Wong and Pichead Amornsomboon. Presented in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles, Buried Child runs from July 15th to 23rd at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are available now from URBTIX outlets.
Buried Child chronicles an American farming family, where three generations gather under one roof. A mysterious baby died young, and only grandfather Dodge (played by Chow Chi Fai) knows where it was buried, while grandmother Halie (played by Au Ga Man) and eldest son Tilden (played by Ko Hon Man) refuse to talk about it. Second son Bradley (played by Chris Sun) has long been filled with resentment to his family. When grandson Vince (played by Lau Shau Ching) and his girlfriend Shelly (played by Mercy Wong) arrive, this “buried secret” is uncovered overnight, layer upon layer, as the vortex of guilt spares no one. Can the family rid itself of darkness and embrace the light?
Pioneering American playwright Sam Shepard’s Buried Child premiered in 1978, winning him the Pulitzer Drama for Drama and OBIE Award for Best Play the following year. In 1996, a new Broadway production of Buried Child received multiple TONY nominations. The New York Times praises the play as “an American gothic masterwork. It is to the American theatre what Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming is to the British stage, the classic domestic drama.” Director Travis Preston is a devotee of Sam Shepard’s oeuvre. To him, this is one of the best plays by Shepard. Although the setting was America in the 1960s and 1970s, a lot is still relevant to our lives today. Director Preston looks forward to bring the play and its deep significance to Hong Kong’s theatregoers.
Director Travis Preston is an expert in working within the frame of a realistic story but adopting surrealist and symbolist approaches. He states, “In the United States, Buried Child is actually very much misunderstood as a kind of realistic drama, so it is staged in a realistic way. However, there are many pieces that are collaged in this play that are absurd. We should present it in another way.” Partnering with the winner of the TONY Best Scenic Design of a Musical winner Christopher Barreca, the stage becomes a symbolic space, adding many layers of meaning to this drama, “Most of the time, productions of this play use very realistic sets. We’ll try to elaborate it by breaking the set apart. The play would be presented by actors’ driving moods that are not specified in the marked script.” Preston leads a distinguished cast of veteran company members to bring this classic to the stage, striking at the core of the audience’s soul.
Director Travis Preston
Travis Preston is Dean of the CalArts School of Theater and Artistic Director of the CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP), the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts. He directs theater and opera throughout the world and recently directed the critically-acclaimed CNP production of Prometheus Bound at the Getty Villa, from a world-premiere translation by Joel Agee. Other CNP directing projects include Gertrude Stein’s Brewsie and Willie and the acclaimed production of Macbeth with Stephen Dillane at REDCAT. This project performed at the Almeida Theatre in London and then traveled to Sydney and Adelaide, Australia. His groundbreaking staging of King Lear inaugurated the CalArts Center for New Performance. This production received critical acclaim in the U.S. and Europe, where it was presented at the Frictions Festival in France.
Other recent projects of note include The Master Builder at the Almeida Theater (with Stephen Dillane and Gemma Arterton), Boris Godounov and a highly controversial production of Luigi Nono’s Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (both at the Hamburg State Opera), as well as directing the opening performance at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Upcoming projects include The Long Road to Freedom with Harry Belafonte. In 2006 he was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture for “contributions to the arts in France and throughout the world.”
His work in the United States includes the world premiere of Democracy in America at the Yale Repertory Theater; the American premiere of Buero-Vallejo’s The Sleep of Reason at Center Stage; the world premiere of Ted Tally’s Terra Nova at the Yale Repertory Theater; and, the American Premiere of Roberto Zucco by Bernard-Marie Koltès. In collaboration with The Private Theater, Travis Preston created The Last American in Paris. He has been a Resident Director at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge as well as an Associate Artist at the Yale Repertory Theatre and Center Stage.
As part of Copenhagen’s activities as Cultural City of Europe, Travis Preston directed Lulu by Alban Berg – a co-operation between the Danish National Symphony, the Grønnegåde Theater, and the Royal Family of Denmark. In New York he directed Hamlet, The Maids, The Ghost Sonata, Woyzeck, Infrared, Anguished Devotion, and Paradise Bound: Part II, a piece written together with Royston Coppenger and performed in Central Park. He also created Apocrypha, an original theater work presented at Cucaracha Theater.
Travis Preston has staged several seminal productions of plays by Henrik Ibsen. In association with the American Ibsen Theater (where he was Associate Director) he directed A Doll House, Little Eyolf, and Ghosts. His production of Little Eyolf was subsequently remounted at the Yale Repertory Theater.
In addition to Lulu, he has mounted the operas Don Pasquale, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, and Saul and the Witch of Endor. He has directed acclaimed productions of Semiramide (Minnesota), Boris Godounov (Germany) and The Pearl Fishers (St. Louis). He is also collaborating with Tom Gunning on a new opera based on the life and work of D.W. Griffith.
In Europe he has directed Prometheus Bound (Poland), Alexander (Norway), The Seagull (England), and Macbeth (Denmark). He has also directed The Balcony in Hong Kong.
His first feature film, Astonished, has received critical acclaim throughout the world, including festivals in Montreal, Florence, Munich, Paris, Cairo, and Hong Kong. Revolution, a film he produced, was invited to festivals in Florence, Rotterdam, London, and Houston – where it was awarded first prize.
He has taught at many universities and theater training programs throughout the world: The Yale School of Drama, Columbia School of the Arts, New York University, the National Theater School of Denmark, Indiana University, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, and Harvard University, where for six years he was Director of the Harvard Summer Drama Program.
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