Wednesday, February 08, 2017

華藝節 ::《仲夏夜之夢》

Wrestled over watching 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' 《仲夏夜之夢》at Esplanade's Huayi Festival. Gave in. It's in Cantonese, and it's got Anthony Wong (黃秋生) and Candice Yu (余安安). Adapted and staged by Hong Kong's Dionysus Contemporary Theatre (神戲劇場), directed by Olivia Yan (甄咏蓓), this Shakespearean comedy turned more madcap with its odd mix of formal pronunciations and colloquial prose. Anthony Wong and Candice Yu play Oberon and Titania respectively.

In this contemporary interpretation that seems very geared towards Hong Kong and Cantonese-speaking audiences, I was completely befuddled by the revamp of sub-plot of the dudes rehearsing the play. Instead of Pyramus and Thisbe, this Cantonese version uses Atlantic (the male) and Pacific (the female). WTF. I'm not sure if we should be reading anything political in it.

As familiar as we are with all the acts in the Shakespeare's script and lines, I was probably the only one laughing. The friends don't speak an ounce of Cantonese; neither did they catch all the jokes. They had a torturous time switching their gaze between the tiny screens holding the surtitles and the stage action. Also, this play could have been made shorter, at least by 30 minutes. If they could have reduced the shrieking and running around by Helena, Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander, my ears and eyes would have been really grateful. There were some really laggy parts that could have been tightened. Can't say I fully enjoyed it. I don't dislike it though. Someone commented that the play has so much movement and drama, and very Hong Kong, “好有動感的舞台劇。噉貼地、咁香港。” Ermm, I agree.

At the end, the director Olivia Yan came out to thank the audience, the sponsors, her actors, and Esplanade and her crew. Anthony Wong also spoke, thanking Singapore audiences, said we, “識貨”. Wah lau, no wonder the actor is so popular in Singapore too. He added that after numerous rehearsals, he's the most happy with the performances in Singapore. “到今次的演出係同香港係有好不同架。因為我自己覺得啊,喺呢度今次嘅演出先只係一個可以見人的演出。尼個係我嘅看法啫。” While thanking his sponsors and Focus Group, he also wished Andy Lau a speedy recovery. OH, that. Yeah. Luckily I somewhat kept up with the Hong Kong entertainment news.

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