The Nonsensemakers will stage Koki Mitani's "University of Laughs" this September for the fourth time, as one of the attractions of the Re-run Run Shows Series. The production won three prizes in the 19th Hong Kong Drama Awards, and tickets sold out in its past three runs. This is a hilarious, heart-warming and inspiring lesson on the concept of "never say die".
This story is set in 1940 in Japan when the country is preparing for war and censorship is imposed on the popular form of entertainment "engeki" (theatre), and the narrative tells of the tug of war between a playwright and a government censor. Tsubaki Hajime, a young playwright of comedies for the drama group "University of Laughs", does all he can to try to make his work pass under the stringent eye of the die-hard government censor, Sakisaka Mutsuo. Sakisaka rejects his script time and time again, so endless revisions, objections and reconciliations ensue. Can Tsubaki finally pass the censor's eye by sheer persistence and belief in himself? Can the play reach the stage after all?
The creator of "University of Laughs", Koki Mitani, is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter in Japan and an iconic figure in television, film, radio and theatre who is distinguished by his off-the-wall black humour. The Hong Kong audience got to know him through the television drama series "Furuhata Ninzaburo" and the movie "The Magic Hour".
The Nonsensemakers has established itself as an inspiring source of positive thinking through its repertoire, which stays close to everyday life and close to our hearts. Its plays are thought-provoking and able to exude popular appeal, and all the time are full of imagination and insight. The group's recent productions include "Punch and Judy", "Anna & Seven", "The Open Couple", "Popcorn", "To Love Somebody" and its offbeat and transformational "The Notebook", dramatised with masks and sand painting art. Its production of "University of Laughs" won the Best Director and Top Ten Most Popular Productions awards in the Hong Kong Drama Awards 2010. The two actors Tang Wai-kit and Chan Man-kong were both nominated for Best Actor (Comedy/Farce), with Tang winning the title in the end.
Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, "University of Laughs" (in Cantonese) by the Nonsensemakers will be staged at 8pm on September 21 and 22 (Friday and Saturday) and at 3pm on September 22 and 23 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre. Tickets priced at $240 and $180 are now available at all URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis). A group booking discount scheme is also available; please refer to the programme leaflet for details.
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7325; for ticketing enquiries, please call 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, please call 2111 5999. Internet booking is available at www.urbtix.hk. For more information, visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/theatre/000003b0.html.
Ends/Friday, August 10, 2012