Today, even as American Idiot prepares to sail for Europe, Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced that its upcoming production of Chinglish is headed for Hong Kong. While the Tony Award-winning nonprofit has a long history of presenting work by Asian and Asian-American artists, this will be the first time that one of its shows is seen on the other side of the Pacific. After presenting the West Coast premiere of Chinglish this August in Berkeley, and reprising it in Costa Mesa in January, Berkeley Rep and South Coast Repertory bring their co-production of David Henry Hwang’s bilingual comedy to the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2013. It plays from March 1 through March 6 in the 1,200-seat Lyric Theatre at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts.
“Chinglish is an East-West comedy for today, and Hong Kong is the East-West city of today,” Hwang remarks.“So it feels completely right that my play will enjoy its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, in Leigh Silverman's stunning Broadway production with several members of the original company. It has been my dream for this show, the first bilingual English-Chinese play in Broadway history, to be seen in Greater China, and I have long wanted to bring a show to the HKAF, one of the world's major festivals. So I am deeply grateful to all who have made possible this co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre and South Coast Repertory, sending an international play on a truly international tour.”
“Although Berkeley Rep has collaborated with numerous Asian and Asian-American artists over the years, this is the first time that one of our productions will travel to Asia,” says Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. “Naturally we are quite thrilled. Chinglish is the perfect calling card, as David’s smart comedy zeroes in on the perils of cross-cultural miscommunication in our global age. Along with our partners at South Coast Rep and a terrific team of artists, we are proud to be a part of the 2013 Hong Kong Arts Festival.”
“If the arts offer a mirror in which we see ourselves reflected, then the 41st Hong Kong Arts Festival offers many mirrors reflecting many perspectives – and David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish offers possibly the most acute confrontation of perspectives,” adds Tisa Ho, the festival’s executive director. “Two people, two cultures, and two completely different sets of social conditions come face to face. We get to watch how they see each other, or fail to do so, and perhaps wonder about the acuity of our own perceptions. The Hong Kong Arts Festival is delighted to welcome this production from Berkeley Rep and South Coast Repertory to Hong Kong, a city in which east and west have met and mingled for over a century.”
By increasing its investment in new plays while deepening its connections to the local community, Berkeley Rep has become an international leader in innovative theatre.In the last decade, seven shows developed here have ended up on Broadway. Twelve more landed off Broadway, two moved to London, two turned into films, and others have toured the nation. This July, at the nonprofit’s new facility in West Berkeley, more than 100 artists from across America, Australia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom convened for The Ground Floor, Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. Next, a new season of exhilarating shows kicks in with an array of artistic innovators who have collectively earned five Tony Awards, 11 Obie Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. Then American Idiot launches its autumn tour of Ireland and the UK before Chinglish touches down in Hong Kong.
Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is the region’s premier cultural event. Featuring local and International Artists in an eclectic array of music, theatre, dance, and popular entertainment, the Festival takes place in more than a dozen venues in February and March. It presents performances at the highest standards to enrich cultural life in Hong Kong, serving an annual audience of over 150,000. It presents a diverse range of artistic fare, from classical music to modern dance, showcasing the best of Asian and local talents alongside top artists from around the world.