by Lynn on August 16, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

The Extinction of Hong Kongers

Toronto Media Arts Centre, 32 Lisgar St., Toronto, Ont.

Created by Carmen Lee, Chun Shing Roland Au, Santayana Li

Written by Chun Shing Roland Au, Santayana Li

Directed by Chun Shing Roland Au, Santayana Li

Performed by Chun Shing Roland Au, Santayana Li

Music composed and performed by Ross Unger

Lighting by Kabeer Garba

Set and costumes by Carmen Lee, Chun Shing Roland Au, Santayana Li

Stunning Theatre.

Chung Shing Roland Au and Santayana Li found life in Hong Kong so onerous under the present political regime, that they sought a better life and moved to Canada a few years ago. So what do you do when you pine for your homeland? You write a wonderful play telling its history, secrets and mysteries.

Chung Shing Roland Au and Santayana Li start with incense. Because incense factored heavily in Chinese life there, the fragrance was everywhere. The Chinese name for incense was then given to the name of the city—hence Hong Kong.

The two performers go through Hong Kong’s history from the time the British came calling and took it over, over their many years of ownership to when the British handed over Hong Kong to China 20 years ago. The storytelling is clear, spare and provocative. They sprinkle humour with the seriousness of what is happening resulting in a chilling story.

Under the China’s domination rules were stringent: how to live, behave, the language you could speak, freedoms they lost.

The set is composed of many cardboard boxes that are fitted and formed to look like the huge city of Hong Kong. There are sky scrapers made of boxes; boxes open up into models of homes in miniature. Puppets are used to convey a protest. The set and pieces are made of recycled materials that the creators equate with what will happen to Hong Kong in the future. It is a serious show done with lightness but purpose.

I was blown away by the invention and vision of the story and the set. Stunning work. A quibble, some business that dealt with China, Tienanmen Square I believe is done on the floor and those of us at the back and in the second row could not see it. Perhaps a rethink of where that bit of business is done so everybody can see.

Other than that, the show just blew my mind.

Performances remaining:

Thurs. Aug 16,   6:00 pm

Friday, Aug. 17, 7:00 pm

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