The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre (HKRep) has announced their brand new theatre season for 2021–22 theatre season. Themed “Theatre Returns to Life”, the company enters the new season with the hope of the pandemic receding and the public embracing the theatre again. Season highlights include August Strindberg classic work To Damascus, Part One, Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, new works The Finale of Mr. AD and Ambiguous, the second re-run of Le Père, an awarded South Korea work That’s Not True as well as four Black Box productions: Winter, Theo, The Spoon and February 14 – a musical.
“Technology may have advanced our lives in leaps and bounds, but it can never replace the performing arts’ unique sense of living in the moment,” explains Artistic Director Anthony Chan.
“As the year 2019 was ending, COVID-19 struck the world, and the ensuing pandemic wreaked havoc on the theatre world. We reluctantly postponed or cancelled a number of HKRep productions, along with theatre education and outreach activities. Despite pandemic controls limiting our presence on stage and restricting physical proximity with our audience, we used other means to ensure that theatre would never be far from public life. Technology may have advanced our lives in leaps and bounds, but it can never replace the performing arts’ unique sense of living in the moment,” explains Artistic Director Anthony Chan.
Thus, we have chosen “Theatre Returns to Life” as this season’s theme.
“Thus, we have chosen “Theatre Returns to Life” as this season’s theme. First and foremost, we hope the pandemic will quickly recede, so that all walks of life can return to normality. At the same time, it is our fervent hope that the public will embrace the theatre again. Good theatre is the best antidote for our heart and soul. From the depths of my heart, I wish that we can all resume normal and healthy life in the near future. The HKRep strives to do its utmost this season to bring joy into your lives!”
The season opens with Florian Zeller’s Le Père (The Father), marking the second re-run of this award-winning theatrical gem, after its Hong Kong premiere in 2017 and re-run in 2019. As her elderly father gradually loses his ability to live independently, Anne moves him in to live with her and her boyfriend, tending to his daily necessities. Her father, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, vacillates between a humorous disposition and states of confusion. “Reality” gradually dissolves in his mind, challenging their father-daughter relationship.
Postponed from last year due to the pandemic, this second re-run is directed by Assistant Artistic Director Fung Wai Hang, with Director Laureate Fredric Mao reprising the title role, joined by original cast members Pang Hang Ying and Alice Lau, from 20th to 29th May at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre.
From 17th July to 1st August, The Finale of Mr. AD plays at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre, colliding art and commerce as it follows a theatre company plagued by suspense. Once upon a time, there was an Artistic Director in a mid-sized theatre company. Dapper Casanova Rocky Cheung, pressured by his boss, decides to adapt a popular Japanese detective manga for the stage. This commercially-minded move unsettles the entire company, even complicating his romantic liaisons, and the whole world turns topsy-turvy. Written and directed by HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan, this whodunnit black comedy comes with many a surprise as we search for the culprit killing the joy of life.
From 18th September to 7th October, August Strindberg’s To Damascus, Part One considers the power of fate and the meaning of life. Told from the personal perspective of “the Stranger”, To Damascus chronicles a journey of self-discovery epitomizing the struggle between man and fate, love, religion and his own ego, laying bare the protagonist’s ups and downs as he refuses to let go of himself. Fredric Mao directs this production with HKRep veteran Chris Sun in the role of the Stranger, and also features guest artists Louisa So and Amy Wu.
Come 15th to 24th October, Matthew Cheng’s Ambiguous will play at Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Directed by Resident Director Fong Chun Kit, watch as Chan Chi Yung meets Wang Xia at their kids’ school gate. After they help each other out, a furtive connection grows. The world of married couples does not always feature high drama. Snippets of daily life that appear normal and cordial may harbour heinous undercurrents. Will tragedy ensue?
HKRep ushers in the new year with Broadway classic Fiddler on the Roof – the musical , which plays from 16th to 23rd January 2022 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre. A decade before the Russian Revolution, there lives in the village of Anatevka a Jewish milkman named Tevye, keen for his family to abide by tradition. However, three of his daughters want to pursue love in their own way, and their three betrothed have very different mindsets. At the same time, Jews are persecuted by the Tsarist regime. As the head of a family, Tevye faces the sad fate of seeing his home being taken away, disappointing his wife and children and losing his ancestral pride. Yet he continues to nurture hope for the future, affirmed by love and perseverance. With a Book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock with original Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof now receives a Cantonese translation and direction by Artistic Director Anthony Chan, set to bring audiences a treat in both sight and sound.
Award-winning South Korean black comedy That’s Not True wraps up their 2021-22 Main Stage season from 11th to 27th March 2022, at Hong Kong Arts Centre Shouson Theatre. An elephant escapes from the zoo, wreaking havoc in town and disrupting election campaigns, leading to a public outcry. While the zookeeper—now a pariah—is held for questioning, testimonies from the detective, the zookeeper’s mother, his colleague and doctor contain wild digressions. Which of them is telling the truth about the elephant’s escape? Written by Lee Mee Kyung, That’s Not True garnered accolades such as Best Production, Best Play and Best Performance at the 49th East Asia Theatre Awards and the Grand Prize, Best Play and Best Performance at the 5th Republic of Korea Theatre Awards. HKRep introduces this fine work directed by Resident Director Fong Chun Kit, marking the first translated play from South Korea on their Main Stage.
For their black box productions, HKRep presents Winter from 7th to 23rd May at the HKRep Black Box. An ordinary man meets an hysterical woman. A random exchange and an instinctual touch suggest a relationship that seems illusory, perhaps not. Is this a game of chance or a trajectory of fate? Jon Fosse, praised as Norway’s new Ibsen, etches the intimacy and alienation between human beings with a poetic touch. Following the success in directing The Man Next Door and The Office, company member Yau Ting Fai returns to helm this play about the tenuous relationships of urban dwellers.
From 25th June to 11th July, Li Chi Tat’s Theo arrives at the HKRep Black Box. Directed by Wong Chun Ho, the world has long considered Vincent van Gogh as either an artistic genius or a deluded madman, resolute when he gave up his conventional career and embarking on a rocky road in pursuit of his art. Although Theo was no less talented or dedicated to art, he had an entirely different disposition, building his business as an art dealer. Separated for long periods, the two brothers counted on each other, supported each other and influenced each other’s artistic choices.
In Alfie Leung’s The Spoon, a graphic designer burdened with debt switches professions and becomes a hitman. His next target for assassination? An old classmate from university! The hitman thinks quickly, grabs a spoon and launches his plan, unleashing a battle of wits and a test of power. Directed by Yau Ying Fai, The Spoon plays from 19th to 30th January 2022 at HKRep Black Box.
Finally, from 12th to 27th March 2022, Matthew Cheng’s critically-acclaimed, light-hearted musical February 14 will play at the HKRep Black Box. Directed by Lau Shau Ching, this revival of February 14 (17 years after its premiere) sees “Best Friends Forever” Doris, Venus and Fiona making a pact – that they each must find true love within a year. Although they might trip and fall along the winding road, they persevere despite pain and injuries thanks to each other’s support and care as they grow and learn from one relationship to another.
“Good theatre is the best antidote for our heart and soul. From the depths of my heart, I wish that we can all resume normal and healthy life in the near future. The HKRep strives to do its utmost this season to bring joy into your lives!”
For more information and tickets to HKRep’s 2021-22 season, visit their website here