||Chinese theatre lingo has an interesting way of using the figures
'one' and 'two' 'one table, two chairs' refers to the most basic props
on the stage of traditional Chinese operas that pose limitless possibilities
for acting and daunt one's imagination. 'One play, two performances'
means an occasion when two regional schools of opera perform the same
play but in different styles. There are other expressions like 'one
actor, two roles' 'one platter, two tastes' etc., which pepper the
theatre lingo as well as our vernacular. This year, the Leisure and
Cultural Services Department is presenting the second Legends of
China Festival, following the success of the first of such thematic
festivals in 2001. So what fares between the first and this second,
or then and now?
As we pause to think, the element of 'two' of which 'second' is
a derivation) is an interesting point for discussion. It suggests
duality, as in 'rights and wrongs', 'warm hearts cold hands', 'sense
and sensibility', and 'the traditional and the modern'. Phrases
like these are in the very fabric of our everyday language, and
often offer simplistic polarity that defies rational judgment. But
the irony of it is that as our world evolves, the more complex things
and situations have become. It is no longer a matter of 'either
or' but 'somewhere in between'. The grey area gives birth to flexibility,
multiplicity, and fundamental changes. Metamorphosing between the
traditional and the modern, the second Legends of China Festival
brings together talents from the most highly concentrated Chinese
community in the world - or what is collectively called 'three places
on both sides of the Strait' by the Chinese - and gives them a boundless
platform to display what they are best at.
The programming direction follows that of the first, and the keyword
is still in 'legend'. But other than confining the scope to legendary
figures in history, myth and folklore, we have expanded it to include
times, sacred music and novella of a legendary nature. While some
programmes represent essentially traditional art forms at their
best, others are looking for new meanings in the age-old traditions.
Yet there is a third type - programmes that are so thoroughly modern
you would not describe them as otherwise, but with an ethos that
opens up a perspective into the past. Whether it is a classic in
an age-old tradition, or a tradition renewed, or a tradition in
modernity, all these we leave to our critic friends to decide. What
we want right now is that the audience would come and share what
we have laid out for them. If they happen to find truth, good and
beauty in art, or the programmes can provide them food for thought,
we are gratified. And to encourage them to see more of our shows
(which indeed numbers a lot), we delightfully offer a more attractive
package booking discount.
Hong Kong has had its fair share of happenings in 2003. We feel
fortunate to be able to present the Legends of China Festival
again and are going all out to make each and every programme worth
your participation. We look forward to welcoming you, as well as
your valuable opinions.