ON THE CITY TRAIN SHE STANDS
The first community theatre production in Hong Kong.
It involved a group of woman from Tuen Mun exploring their hopes, fears, dreams and regrets. It was first performed at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre and later toured to Tuen Mun, the Hong Kong Fringe Club and Macau.
It touched the hearts of the many people who saw it and was described by the South China Morning Post as 'Community theatre at its best.'
I still remember the feeling of apprehension as Bonni and I made our way to Tuen Mun to conduct our first workshop with the group. It was 2005 and I was concerned that they may react negatively to what we were going to propose. Games and exercises that required physical closeness and touch and improvisations that would be based on the life experiences of the participants themselves.
However, my concern was soon dispelled as the women played the games with a childlike joy and threw themselves into the improvisations. Witnessing how quickly a sense of trust and support spread throughout the workshop, I realized that this group was something special. They went on to produce a performance based on their own life experiences, in which I was lucky enough to be part of and consider to be one of my happiest times in theatre.
Tonight, four years later, they are performing another show that is different in many ways from the previous one. As the poet, Pablo Neruda puts it, "we of that time are no longer the same." The women have changed, as has the city they live in. What has not changed I believe is the deep rooted desire in everyone to share and communicate, whether it is through storytelling, drama or singing our favourite song in the karaoke club.
In our technologically driven world, are we slowly losing our sense or play and is the malaise that seems to affect many in the modern society due to people no longer having an outlet from which they can express themselves in a creative way?
The joy of playing however is something our children still possess and so welcome to all the kids who are here to watch the 'auld yins' do their thing. And a warm welcome to everyone else who is here tonight supporting the group. Finally, to all the women, thank you for your trust and friendship.