To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre will present Raymond To's Romance in the Teahouse Nov. 25-30.
The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre was established by the Urban Council in June 1977. In its history of twenty years, the Company has staged close to 160 productions. Its wide repertory covers Chinese and Western classics and contemporary hits as well as original works by local dramatists. It now has two playwrights-in-residence, nearly 30 full-time actors, and around 20 technical and administrative staff. Last season alone, its performances attracted audiences nearing 80,000.
The 1997/98 season will be an "All Chinese Play" season designed for this special year which marks the 20th anniversary of the Company. The Company will present six productions, and Romance of the Teahouse is one of them.
Romance is directed by Daniel S.P. Yang, the company's artistic director who had been the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance, the University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A. before his retirement in 1990.
The story is set in an old teahouse at the time of the handover of Hong Kong sovereignty. Ye Qing-qing, a famous Chinese Opera singer, is a single woman in her forties. When she was young, she gave up her singing career and emigrated with her lover to Canada. But their marriage turned out to be a failure ten years ago after the husband's affair was brought to light. She had hence been leading a single life in Canada. When the curtain rises, Ye Qing-qing has just returned to Hong Kong to see her father who is critically ill. In fact, this is a trick to bring her back. Ye's parents wants her to takeover their dwindling teahouse and to be married to their apprentice, Da Sheng, who has been carrying a torch for her for years. Ye's mother also hopes that Ye will follow her footsteps to be a teacher of Chinese Opera and that Ye will return to the stage again. Meanwhile, Kimmy, daughter of Ye, returns to Hong Kong from Canada with her friend, Patrick. Thus a romance happens in the teahouse. Kimmy falls in love with the mature and reliable Da Sheng, whilst Patrick fancies Ye though she was ten years older. In the end, the teahouse re-opens after renovation. Patrons could enjoy tea-drinking as well as Chinese Opera in the teahouse. Ye finally goes back to the stage to sing her own love song. The play was written by Raymond To, a prolific playwright who was awarded Playwright of the Year 1989 by the Hong Kong Artists' Guild. His Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio and The Legend of the Mad Phoenix won two consecutive Best Script Awards in the 2nd and 3rd Annual Hong Kong Drama Awards. In 1995, he wrote and directed the original musical Forever Yours for the Chung Ying Theatre Company, which was elected as one of the nine most popular dramas of the year. In 1997, he was awarded the Louis Cartier's Award of Excellence.
Romance stars Ms. Lisa Wang, an influential artist in Hong Kong who has enjoyed good reputation in the field of TV and drama for more than 20 years.The cast also includes Chow Chi-fai, He Yingqiong, Ko Hon-man and Fung Wai-hang.
Romance in the Teahouse runs Nov.25-30 at 7:30pm, Nov.30 at 2:30pm, at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.
For tickets call (852) 27349009.
--By Wang Ling