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January
Renowned playwright to stage new interpretation of Hua Mulan
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Renowned Chinese playwright and theatre director Li Liuyi presents his latest production, "Hua Mulan", to Hong Kong audiences next month.

Li Liuyi, director and playwright of Beijing People's Art Theatre, is a pioneering dramatist in Chinese theatre, a trailblazer in crossing Chinese performing arts disciplines. He has created numerous experimental works of Chinese opera, 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", and has made his mark in the crossover of different genres of Chinese opera.

Having seen his new interpretation of Mu Guiying in 2006, fans are wondering what Li Liuyi will do to Hua Mulan, the legendary heroine who joined the army in her father's place.

The stage design merges tradition and modernity to optimum effect: a bathtub, two seats, petals floating in bath water, clay figurines with painted faces... It retains Chinese opera's minimalist tradition of using only one table and two chairs with all their mimetic possibilities while incorporating modern aesthetic appeal.

Renowned contemporary Chinese composer Guo Wenjing seeks a similar breakthrough. Using a specially-made bass erhu for the entire string section, against a background of 30-odd percussion instruments played by two musicians, Guo introduces kinetics into the performance.

A distinguished cast of Peking Opera artists - Yingzi, Chen Lincang and Jiang Qihu - will perform the new interpretation of Hua Mulan in Hong Kong in traditional Peking Opera vocal style, with creative lighting, staging and music.

Li Liuyi's New Drama "Hua Mulan" (in Putonghua, lyrics and dialogue with Chinese and English surtitles) will be staged at 7.30pm on February 23 and 24 at the Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $220 and $120 are now available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. (Limited tickets for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients are available on a first-come, first-served basis.) For package purchase discount, please refer to the programme leaflet for details.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7323; for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009. Internet bookings are available at http://www.urbtix.hk . For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Visit http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp for more information on the programme.

Talks will be held after each performance. Admission is free.

Ends/Wednesday, January 9, 2008
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