Renowned local Cantonese opera actor, director and playwright Yuen Siu-fai will collaborate with other famous Cantonese opera performers in his forthcoming new production "A Handful of Snow", to be staged in November.
Over the years, Yuen Siu-fai has been trying to reinstate well-written plays that are not about romantic love, such as "The Orphan of the Zhaos", "Fifteen Strings of Cash" and "The Four Scholars", so as to provide actors with a wider spectrum of roles and give the audience more choices. He said, "This version of 'A Handful of Snow' is based on the novella of the same name that was published in 1637. I am reviving it to bring this famous play, which was one of the representative works in the Cantonese opera repertoire, to today's audience."
The story takes place in the Ming dynasty. Mo Huaigu has a priceless family heirloom, a goblet made of white jade and called "A Handful of Snow". It has become an object of desire for the powerful but corrupt court minister, Yan Shifan, who urges Mo to hand over the goblet. Mo presents Yan with a fake. Unfortunately, Mo, his concubine Xueyan and a faithful servant, Mo Cheng, are caught by Yan. General Qi cannot bring himself to execute Mo Huaigu, and Mo Cheng proposes that since he bears a resemblance to his master, he will die in his place.
At a trial, Tang Qin, a servant in the Mo family who has eyes for Xueyan, insists that the head does not belong to Mo Huaigu, so as to make Xueyan yield to his wishes. Xueyan finds him despicable, but she tells Tang she will marry him. On the wedding night, she kills Tang with a hidden knife.
Mo Huaigu's son presents the heirloom to the Emperor and, at the same time, petitions His Majesty for justice to be done. Yan is found guilty of incriminating the innocent for his own selfish desire, and Mo Huaigu, General Qi and others are declared innocent and reinstated. Mo Huaigu returns home after this harrowing experience, and is reunited with his wife, his concubine, his son and the rest of the family.
Apart from Yuen Siu-fai, who is also the director and playwright of the production, the star-studded cast includes Ng Chin-fung, Wan Fai-yin, Johnson Yuen, Yam Bing-yee, Sun Kim-long, Liu Kwok-sum, Lui Hung-kwong, Leung Wai-hong and Lai Yiu-wai.
"A Handful of Snow" is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will take place at 7.30pm on November 3 and 4 (Thursday and Friday) at the Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre, and at 7.30pm on November 26 (Saturday) at the Auditorium, Tuen Mun Town Hall, with lyrics and dialogue in Chinese and English surtitles. Tickets ranging in price from $100 to $320 are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients may receive a 50 per cent discount (limited tickets for students and CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). A free-admission pre-performance talk on October 3 (Monday) and a post-performance talk on November 30 (Wednesday) will be held at AC2, Level 4, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, at 7.30pm (both conducted in Cantonese). Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/chinese_opera/000002ee.html. Ticketing enquiries can be made at 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings at 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk.
Ends/Thursday, September 22, 2011