Sunday, December 18, 2011

'The Isle'

I wasn't exactly hot about highly lauded Hong Kong playwright Paul Poon's 'The Isle', simply because of its storyline of (never mind the island) lovers and promises and whatnots. Not enthusiastic about books, movies (rom-coms be damned) or plays with romantic love as the central plot. But this play is presented in a new interpretation by theatre du pif (進劇場最新製作,潘惠森的《小島芸香》), so curiosity about the city's theatre scene won over skepticism, and I went.

Staged in Cantonese, I'm fairly pleased at not needing to refer to the English subtitles. See. Learn a language in its academic structure and one is all set. There was a substantial amount of conversation between the actors, most of it intentionally flowery and poetic to bring out the full power of metaphors and the resulting imagery. So is this play about the search for love and the ideal of romance, or is it about the usual meaning of life? (Think along the lines of 'no man is an island'.) I didn't dwell on those themes because I wasn't watching for that. I could talk about it, but why should I? As a newbie to plays staged in Cantonese, I was watching for the flow, the subtle differences (if there are) between an English and a Cantonese play, as opposed to English versus Mandarin. Through 'The Isle', I also sought a superficial understanding of the company's reputation for reinterpretation through its strong artistic directors Bonnie Chan and Sean Curran. 

I never watched any other interpretation of this play and thus there isn't a basis for comparison. The acting was enjoyable. While the storyline still gets my goosebumps and hackles, it was a good evening at the theatre. Of course having a chat with the friends about the play and its background, provides more insights to the context. Given the chance, on a future visit, I'd like to see other intriguing works staged by theatre du pif.


jazzgal said...

your cantonese so good meh? your vocab is still like...up in the air! bleah.

imp said...

jazzgal: OEH. So rude you. Like yours is any better.