To mark the centenary of the birth of Cao Yu, one of the greatest modern Chinese playwrights, the renowned Beijing People's Art Theatre will perform "Peking Man" in Hong Kong in October.
Directed by famous director Li Liuyi, the performance will be at 7.30pm on October 14, 15, 16 and 17 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the Auditorium, Kwai Tsing Theatre.
"Peking Man", written by Cao in 1940, exemplified his fascination with the dramatic world of Anton Chekhov. Cao considered the play his most prized work and deemed it the pinnacle of his dramatic art. It portrays the gradual eclipse and ultimate demise of a prosperous feudal family in old China. Focusing on the conflicts among the three generations of the family, the play is based on people and events etched in Cao's childhood memories and laden with his reflections on humanity. Its insights into the complex thoughts and sentiments of the characters as well as the clashes in their destinies reveal their warped existence in a ruthless, cutthroat "civilised society".
A pioneering dramatist in Chinese theatre, Li Liuyi is the director and playwright of the Beijing People's Art Theatre. His works, such as "Fidelity Test of Zhuang Zhou", "Military Train" and "The Wilderness", have received critical acclaim. He is also a trailblazer in crossing Chinese performing arts disciplines, creating numerous experimental Chinese opera works, including "Good Woman of Sichuan", "As Zhang Damin Happily Rattles On", "Prime Minister Humpbacked Liu", "The Legend of the White Snake" and "The Peony Pavilion: A Spoiled Romance". Most recently, Li has branched out into ballet, adapting "The Peony Pavilion" for the National Ballet of China.
As a national theatre company of China, the Beijing People's Art Theatre was established on 1952 with Cao Yu as its first president. Since its establishment, the theatre has put on nearly 300 plays of diverse styles encompassing domestic works from different times as well as works from other countries.
From the 1950s to 1960s, the theatre was famous for putting on works by Guo Moruo, Lao She, Cao Yu and Tian Han. Its representative productions include "Tiger Tally", "Cai Wenji", "Wu Zetian", "The Dragon Whisker's Ditch", "Rickshaw Man Xiangzi", "The Teahouse", "Thunderstorm", "The Sunrise", "Peking Man", "The Death of a Popular Beijing Opera Singer", "Guan Hanqing", and Western plays "The Miser", "Aesop" and "People with Gun".
In its half-century of existence, the Beijing People's Art Theatre has performed all over the country with its distinctive acting style. Its performances of "The Teahouse" in Germany, France and Switzerland in 1980 marked the beginning of Chinese spoken drama going abroad. Afterwards, "Wang Zhaojun", "The Top Restaurant", "Death of a Salesman", "Uncle Doggie's Nirvana", "Birds Men", "Ruan Lingyu", "Antiques" and "Wuchang & Niudiao" were performed in Japan, Canada, Singapore, Korea and Egypt.
As one of the programmes in the "Cao Yu Drama Festival" presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), "Peking Man" will be performed in Putonghua with Chinese and English subtitles. Tickets priced at $140, $260 and $380 are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients may have 50% off (limited quotas for students and CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). Special discounts are offered for group booking and students purchasing on-the-day tickets. Please refer to the programme leaflet and LCSD website for details.
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp . Ticketing enquiries can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk .
Ends/Thursday, August 19, 2010