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Friday, January 10, 2020, 10:30
Play it again
By William Chang
Friday, January 10, 2020, 10:30 By William Chang

Creative director Ata Wong Chun-tat, producer Lei Yuen-hung, and performers Suen Chi-hung and Benjamin Tsang, share their thoughts about putting together L’Orphelin 2.0.

Ata Wong Chun-tat, founder of Theatre de la Feuille and director of L’Orphelin 2.0. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

You are performing  L’Orphelin for the second time in Hong Kong. How does this version distinguish itself from the production’s previous iteration?

Ata Wong: In each new version, we try to act out and express what I think is important in the current moment. It’s a time for us to refresh ourselves, to reconstruct and also keep discovering deeper and deeper how necessary it is for us to present L’Orphelin again at the given moment.

Do you think audience members will understand this play, given its form is rather abstract?

Benjamin Tsang: I think so. There are things we can’t always express verbally. I really like reactions from the audience, especially when we are on tour. Sometimes people thank us for the performance, or say that they’ve never heard of this story before. I’m quite satisfied with the reactions from audiences.

Lei Yuen-hung: We have toured a lot of places (with this production), and so far, audiences have understood what we’re trying to say as well as the plot. The message itself is quite obvious. It’s easy to understand and relate to.

How do you strike a balance between using body movements and speech to communicate in this play?

AW: In this production we don’t use any props and sets. When we are telling a story, we think of ways to provide an imaginative spark to audiences so that they can discover layers of meaning underneath what they hear.

Does the minimalist use of props and a bare stage make it harder or easier to communicate with the audience?

AW: We always say less is more, and an empty space can evoke a lot of thought. We have too much information nowadays. We need to create spaces for us to breathe and make conversations. That’s why we chose to use nothing but the actors’ bodies in L’Orphelin 2.0.

Suen Chi-hung: Of course, in the beginning, it had seemed very difficult. It was really a huge challenge. But after a few years, most of us agreed that fewer props and sets could stimulate a more vivid imagination in the audience. In a sense, it also creates a different kind of challenge for actors because we have to deliver what we want to say without any props, and we can definitely do that. If we do have props or a set, how we use them is a different challenge.

Interviewed by William Chang

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