The Gateway Theatre Pacific Festival is back next week with one familiar play and one new one — both of which are bound to spark great debate and introspection for Richmond residents pondering their place in the vast stage known as Earth.
“Both plays have received a lot of awards. It’s an honour to bring them to Gateway,” said festival director Esther Ho.
The festival bills itself as “a showcase of world-class contemporary theatre from Hong Kong and Canada.”
It is intended to provide “a window to another world,” as it deepens connections between this city and the Far East, where many new residents come from.
The two plays, conducted in Cantonese, with English and simplified Chinese surtitles, are produced by Sky High Productions Ltd.
“We carefully chose two famous stage dramas both adopted from real stories that will bring tears and laughter to everyone. Together, we can let stage drama culture touch many more lives,” noted Sky High online at GatewayTheatre.com.
Ho told the Richmond News she is particularly excited about the play Travel with Mum, inspired by the emotional story of a man who spent all his life with his mother in a Chinese village until he reached 74 years of age and she turned 99. Then, the two embarked on a 900-day journey to Tibet, spanning 30,000 kilometres.
“It’s a true story and touches many hearts. That’s why I picked it up,” explained Ho.
The story should also appeal to families and seniors, said Ho.
“It talks about philosophy and insight to facing life issues. It shows nothing is impossible; just don’t sit down and regret you didn’t do anything and take action with no regret,” said Ho.
The play uses masks, which is a unique twist for most Chinese plays. It is also acted out on a stage with sand to present different dimensions of acting, according to Ho.
The mom is played by famous Hong Kong actress Ngai Yee Shan Jo and features folksy music.
Meanwhile, Tuesdays with Morrie will also play at the festival for a second year.
The play chronicles an accomplished journalist who reunites with an old college professor battling Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The two embark on a meaning-of-life quest. Artistic director Ko Tin Lung takes on the role of Professor Morrie while self-directing.
Tuesdays with Morrie plays Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. Travel with Mum plays Sept. 15-16 at 8 p.m. Shows are 2.5 and two-hours long, respectively. Each show costs $62 or combined they cost $105. Ticket information is by phone at 604-270-1812 or email at BoxOffice@GatewayTheatre.com.