Hong Kong

Seventh Sense | Anarchy Dance Theatre

June 2014 | HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity

I remember the first time I was going to create a performance in a theatre with a revolve. We spent several months working with all of the latest revolve techniques, and hired a revolve designer and a group of donkeys who could rotate the revolve at a variety of different speeds – some faster and more nauseating than anyone had ever before witnessed – to create different moods and atmospheres. With only one week to go before the performance, we realised that we had accidentally failed to create any material to perform on this, it must be said, gloriously rotating platform. We did what any group of experienced theatre artists would do in such a situation, and hired two dancers to make up some contact impro on the revolve (as it rotated beautifully) so that the audience would know where to look. The revolve work was outstandingly accurate, with at least four different speeds of rotation. Afterwards when the donkeys and their handlers came out on stage they received a standing ovation, and we took our rightful place at the forefront of contemporary theatre technology.

Wait Until Dark | Hong Kong Rep

May 2014 | Hong Kong City Hall Theatre

Wait Until Dark is a new Cantonese-language version of the play by Frederick Knott, translated for the casual theatre audience as 《盲女驚魂》 – something like ‘blind woman: scary’. Strangely the author fails to get a mention on their website, unlike Audrey Hepburn. In fact, they seem to be implying that this is an ‘original stage version’ of the film version?

This makes very little difference, as the performance is a dreary attempt at 1960s drawing room realism, whose only claim to ‘originality’ is the change in language. The setting makes no concession to the actors, attempting something enthusiastically London-esque from the 1960s. The set is indeed fantastically detailed, and as an installation piece this would be an impressive work of art, spoiled only by a few key elements obviously impossible to acquire in Hong Kong – most notably a rotary dial telephone and a Western-style sink.

iTMOi | Akram Khan Company

6-7th March, 2014 | Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Grand Theatre.

As a dance piece, iTMOi is the most theatrical of Khan’s performances to date, and shows a sensibility that seems to owe more to Robert Wilson than it does to even the progressive choreography of the original Rite of Spring.

In the Mind of Igor reimagines Stravinski’s Rite, with new music and choreography, borrowing from the Bible and Greek myth to re-examine human sacrifice from its inception. We begin with an incredible rasping, inhumanly vocalised interpretation of God’s injunction to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. The violence of an Old Testament god is brilliantly captured in the movement and delivery. We come to another human sacrifice, possibly echoing the Iphigenia myth, who after her own sacrifice supplants the sacrificing Goddess (Artemis?). This is a theatrical composition that is visceral and moving for its imagery and choreography rather than its narrative. The costumes and folk elements seem to be inspired by Russian (or Georgian?) traditional dance.