Hong Kong … My Second Home
Greetings from Hong Kong! Or, more specifically, greetings from a café in Sheung Wan, a bustling district in the western part of Hong Kong Island. Perhaps ‘bustling district’ is redundant since I have yet to find a part of Hong Kong that isn’t filled with people and activity.
On Sunday I arrived for my sixth visit in six years. My first visit to HK was in 2006 with a group of four artists representing Cahoots Theatre Projects, a Toronto-based company where I was formerly artistic director. We presented a series of readings of Chinese-Canadian drama called Lift Off Hong Kong. LOHK was the brainchild of then-associate artistic director Marjorie Chan.
While we were here, Marjorie and I met Bonni Chan and Sean Curran, the founding co-artistic directors of Theatre du Pif. We felt an immediate artistic kinship and, the next year, they invited me to direct David Harrower’s Blackbird at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. That production subsequently won an award for Outstanding English-language production.
Then, in 2009, Sean and Bonni invited me back to direct a new version of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone. An international cast and I adapted the text into English and Cantonese. The play was a resounding success (Bonni was especially brilliant in the title role) and I returned to Hong Kong in 2010 to direct a remount.
And, last year, I had the pleasure of directing Christopher Hampton’s translation of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. So, as you might have guessed, Hong Kong has become like a second home to me. It’s also a place where I’ve flourished as an artist.
This particular trip is special for a number of reasons. First, instead of directing, I’ll make my Hong Kong acting debut. Second, the part I’m playing is one of the great roles in the Western canon: Torvald in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Third, and most important, this project reunites me with my good friend Marjorie who will be directing. Marjorie is the reason I met Sean and Bonni so I feel I’ve really come full circle with this production.
Over the next six weeks, I’ll update this blog with reports about rehearsals and life in Hong Kong. If you have questions, please feel free to drop a comment or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.