This year, the Hong Kong Arts Festival opens between Feb 21 to Mar 23. In the span of one month, it presents various performing arts programs including theatres, operas, dance and different genres of music. While many of the shows offer viewers to experience a different culture abroad, local productions are equally intriguing. Local artists reflect on their identities in Hong Kong and closely examine the past and the present of society and ask: what does it mean to live in Hong Kong?

This article selects and features three local productions that you might be interested in to know more about Hong Kong’s society.

Gangsters of Hong Kong 《九江》

Gangsters and triad, anyone? To talk about the triad culture is almost nostalgic now since Hong Kong society has transformed itself into such a well-organized and civilized financial hub of today. There are no longer reeks of blood and gore, while the underworld only appears in legends and movies. Seldom do people look back at the triad culture that was once predominant in Hong Kong society.

Surprisingly, the desire to dig into the underworld and uncover its mysterious past is found in an outsider, a mainlander who comes to Hong Kong to study. She is so fond of Hong Kong triad culture that she decides to write her dissertation about it. The story unfolds as she begins her research and encounters three men who used to be gangsters…

Loong Man-hong, the playwright of the award-winning trilogy A Floating Family, wants to tackle not only the triads in the past but also portrays the new reality of Hong Kong: immigrants from the mainland. Loong believes that “This is the face of new Hong Kong.” Whether it is true or not, it’s interesting to see how the past and the present play out.

Date: 8-10, 13-17, 20-24 Mar 2019
Venue: Theatre, Hong Kong City Hall
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles

Always By your Side 《陪著你走》

When the reality fails them, they turn it into songs.

This is a profound music theatre that deals with troubled youths. Two kids, one being overactive and the other being reticent, are both “problem kids” in the eyes of their teachers. But they are in fact children with special needs, as one suffers from dyslexia and the other autism.

When they are being blamed for being peculiar, and their behaviors are misunderstood, they both find a way out through music, with which they connect with the world again.

This musical tackles greater social phenomenon, including the problematic educational system that diminishes and neglects individual differences, and parent-child relations in fractured family…Music is a beautiful and romanticized solution for the social problems depicted in the theatre.

Date: 2-3, 6-10 Mar 2019
Venue: Auditorium, Kwai Tsing Theatre
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles

Double Bubble《雙篇雙人舞》

In Double Bubble, two pairs of dancers present two separate dances, depicting two intimate relationships at different stages.

The choreographer Jos Baker believes that “each of us lives in our own subjective reality, a bubble we have created for ourselves.” The two pieces look into these worlds within worlds and what will happen when we try to integrate our worlds.

It is not only about how relationships and our conception of relationship are delivered by body language but also how each one of us form and change our identity—the bubble we live in. Double Bubble taps into our most primal languages of movement and the body, connecting audiences with universal truth.

Date: 15-16 Mar 2019
Venue: Studio Theatre, HK Cultural Centre

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/

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