To Stay or to Leave?
Hong Kong playwright Paul Poon’s acclaimed work, ‘The Isle’
A couple’s encounter on a remote island, where their past and present overlap, leads them to ask “do we stay or leave?” as a battle of wills unfolds, leading to a surprising finale in this compassionate, yet skeptical take on enduring love.
Distinguished playwright Paul Poon wrote ‘The Isle’ after reading Shanghainese contemporary playwright Xu Pinli’s ‘Yun Xiang’.
‘The Isle’ tells the story of a woman with fading eyesight who is living alone on an island. One day, a man arrives who looks just like her estranged boyfriend and falls in love with her. Despite the fact that her lover is not likely to return, she is determined to remain faithful and refuses the advances of her new admirer.
“Certainly, it sounds cliché just by listening to it,” Poon can’t help commenting, while describing this ‘conventional’ work of his.
However, Theatre du Pif’s interpretation of the story ensures that Poon’s integrity as an eccentric playwright remains. Actress and co-director Bonni Chan says: “While enjoying the journey of exploring Poon’s witty text and decoding the poetic dialogues between the two characters, we wish to find a dynamic and visual form in expressing the themes: the deep conflict and yet attraction between them and the island. Freedom and boundary, arrival and departure...”
With more than 50 works created since 1985 – and still producing two every year – Poon is best known for his narrative eccentricities and peculiar sentiments towards Hong Kong that have been considered ‘absurdist’, by some.
“This play was the last play written before I entered into the crazy stage,” admits Poon. “Its style is not that crazy. I mean my later works are getting crazier, I notice in retrospect. ‘Crazy’ is only a way of expression. The so-called craziness means increasingly breaking away from narrative conventions.”
Saturday, June 28, 8pm
Macau Cultural Centre, Small Auditorium
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