What are The Colours of Humanity? This is the intriguing question posed by the International Black Box Festival 2016 (ibb2016) which aspires that audiences immerse themselves in different artistic realms to discover the many colours of humanity. Organised by the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre the festival runs from 15 October to 20 November and features productions encompassing a wide range of styles each presenting a different approach to the dramatic text.
HK Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Anthony Chan commented, “These six highly anticipated productions are all stylistically unique. We live in an age of complicated emotions and relationships that affect not only the nature of human connection but also our thinking beyond national boundaries. We aim to provide our audience with a wide vista where imagination and creativity roam free among the many facets of our collective, civilized spirit.”
The curator of ibb2016 Fung Wai Hang explains this year’s focus. “For the inaugural Black Box Festival we chose the theme of ‘body and movement’, while this year we focus on the ‘dramatic text’. In recent years, different approaches to the dramatic text have surfaced. We hope to establish a platform for international exchange, so that our local theatre professionals and enthusiasts can enjoy an enriching encounter with visiting artists through workshops and lectures.”
International Black Box Festival 2016 Programme
La Voix Humaine – Toneelgroep Amsterdam (Netherlands)
15-17 April, 2016 @ HK City Hall, Theatre
During an hour-long performance, a woman is trapped inside a box-like room, holding onto the receiver talking to her ex-lover. For the entire hour, the audience watches her in this emotional roller-coaster ride, becoming de facto “peeping toms”. La voix humaine was written by Jean Cocteau and directed by 2016 Tony Award-winning director Ivo van Hove. (Note this production took place in April).
Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral – Performer Studio (Hong Kong)
15-23 October @ HKRep Black Box
A classic work by the founding father of Singapore theatre Kuo Pao-kun, this play addresses power politics as well as castration, depicting Zheng He’s seven ocean voyages as well as the eunuch admiral’s physical and psychological challenges. It provides a parable on the pressures of modern life, where people are left with little choice: either self-castration or being castrated by others. Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral was written by Kuo Pao-kun, adapted and directed by Tony Wong.
The 9 Fridas – Möbius Strip Theatre (Wales, Taiwan, Hong Kong)
27-30 October @ HKRep Black Box
The 9 fridas is a mosaic combining a patchwork of impressions and stories depicting the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907–1954), with characters and their stories echoing the real life of Kahlo herself. The 9 fridas was written by Kaite O’Reilly and directed by Phillip Zarrilli, renowned for his psychophysical acting method.
Asagao – Bkyuyugekitai (Japan)
3-6 November @ HKRep Black Box
Asagao was created especially for the International Black Box Festival by Shed Skin playwright Tsukuda Norihiko, who not only wrote the script but also appears in the production. The story takes place after a husband returns after a six-month stint working away from home to discover a deserted house where morning glory vines have overtaken the walls and even the ceiling. Where is his wife? The story crosses time and space incorporating absurdist elements, humour and irony, at the same time; it is tinged with a sense of helplessness. Asagao is directed by Kamiya Shogo.
White Room – White Room Research Collective (Japan, Hong Kong)
10-13 November @ HKRep Black Box
Created and directed by Waguri Yukio, disciple of Butoh founder Hijikata Tatsumi and principal dancer of Asbestos-kan, White Room combines butoh and text in expressing the hearts and desire of seven patients. Written and directed by Waguri Yukio.
Before After – Creative VaQi (South Korea)
17-20 November @ HKRep Black Box
Divided into sections based on time, Before After shows the changes that occur before and after a devastating event. A time before and after is created after a tragic, irreversible event. What experiences do we go through that make us realise that an event has affected ‘our’ lives? What happens as a point in ‘my’ time on stage suddenly meets ‘yours’ space. Before After is a collective work directed by Kyung-sung Lee.
The International Black Box Festival 2016 also includes workshops, talks and a symposium hosted by artists from around the world. Speakers at these events include Theatre du pif’s Artistic Director Bonni Chan, Japanese butoh master Waguri Yukio, Professor Winton Au, Professor Chiu Chui-de, Kaite O’Reilly, Tony Wong, Tsukuda Norihiko and Kyung-sung Lee. For more information on workshops, talks and symposium visit the festival’s website www.hkrep.com/ibb2016.
International Black Box Festival 2016
Date: 15 October – 20 November, 2016
Venue: HK Rep Black Box Theatre
Tickets: $280 from Urbtix