Saturday, 8 July 2017

Smoking with Dramaturgy: Cathy SK Lam @ Edfringe 2017

ThreeWoods Playwright presents 
Smoking with Grandma 
August 2-15, 2017
C royale (studio 2)

"I didn’t remember it was June or July, but it was the season of cicada… 
We all are… drifting wood.”


C royale (studio 2) Edinburgh Festival Fringe
        2-15 August 2017            13:40 (50min)



Created by HKADC Emerging Artist Grant receiver Cathy SK Lam (The Immigration Lottery, Wither on the Vine and Confessions), Smoking with Grandma is a new cross media play about refugees, receiving critical acclaim from both Hong Kong and Adelaide Fringe 2017.

Maia called 1996 the ‘year of lost’: the year before the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, and the year her grandmother passed away. 

Her grandma had spent most of her life in Tiu Keng Leng, a remote island in Hong Kong where it used to be a refugee village housing former Kuomintang officials and follower who escaped to Hong Kong from Mainland China after Kuomintang was defeated by the Communist; was demolished in the same year. 

Just the night before Tiu Keng Leng was going to be disappeared on the map, when Maia unveils the buried secrets, she wants to go smoking with grandma. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

It all begins with the two years Syrian refugee baby boy's body was found on the Turkish beach in September 1995, the first thing comes to my head is "What on earth happening in this world, parents will risk their children at the ocean?" Then the next second I realise how huge this refugee crisis going to be. 

However, instead of political situation at their home country (since its already been covered all over the news and internet), I am more interested in individual's life. After all, they are HUMANS, and each one of them has their own story before they become refugee, and let's stop labelling who they are but to understand who they really are. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

We always think that theatre is the best platform to be the voice of the people and tell the untold story, we believe art and society is closely related. 

There, we do think performance is still a good space for the public discussion of ideas, if the performance itself is able to create a dialogue in between audience and the art. 

We are not trying to feed our audience with tons of information and opinions, instead, we wanna provide audience an idea, an image, a fact or may be just a feeling to trigger their interest....or I may say to create a ripple effect inside their heart, and its all depends on themselves for the little change they want to make, of course a discussion they wanna initiate after watching the performance. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

Art is still the most essential way to touch people's heart, but firstly we have to let the audience be able to touch our heart through our work; no matter which form of performance it is.

Making performance is like you are given a second chance to live the life again, our life or someone's life, you get to know the life that you are not familiar with through research and you learn the most beautiful thing in humanity. It makes you a better person and open your mind to things that you are not used to. 

The world might not become a better one after we produce a performance, but I do believe some soul will be healed if they saw one, no matter it is a stand up, a melodrama or a cross-media piece. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Since we are more interested in who the refugee really are, so instead of focusing on why they become a refugee, we did a lot of research on who they are back in their homeland and how they survive after resided.  We want to see the life journey not the refuge life. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Yes, it fits what we usually do but the presentation is simpler that what we usually do and we think it will be one of the most honest production we have ever produced. Smoking with Grandma is definitely something that we will keep researching on. 


What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Audience will still be expecting to be touched by the story and nice visual experience. However, on top of that it will be a life journey share together with the audience. We wanna revive the refugee's life as a normal person's life, and remind the audience that they are just like you and me.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We have no strategy, we just try to produce the most honest show to audience. We are touched by every refugee's soul, and now we are going to tell you all about it.  

ThreeWoods Playwright was registered as non-profit theatre company in 2011, formed by a group of young theater artists based in Hong Kong. Their production can be seen in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland. “ThreeWoods Playwright: a young but promising theater company that keeps concerning the relationship between individuals and society. Their plays are poetic and beautifully written.” InfiniteCreativity, OnAirPower.com

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