Total commitment for sake of the arts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 1996, 12:00am

They call themselves The Daring Ones and it is probably nothing to do with nudity in their shows.

The performance groups at Festival Now, running from September 20 for six weeks at the Arts Centre, will be exploring what it means to live in Hong Kong in 1996: a year which is likely only to find a place in history books as 1997 minus one.

As organisers explain, a festival of today's art provides a moment's pause, a time to find a useful perspective on Hong Kong's extraordinary future.

It promises to be '100 per cent local, 100 per cent original and 100 per cent contemporary arts', and includes drama, dance, music, film, exhibitions and seminars.

The all-Cantonese programme includes Theatre Fanatico with Miss Julie Doesn't Live Here Anymore, by writer/director Hoyingfung, billed as an 'unusual sequel' to his previous production Entering Miss Julie.

The story takes the audience back in time to 'the dawn of July 1, 1997' where warriors and poets of two millennia ago are testifying in an unsolved murder.

While Theatre Fanatico is wallowing in absurdist comedy, Sand and Bricks is exploring themes of violence.

The company's Disasters of War I was premiered in 1989, using Goya's etchings as a convenient structure to express the actors' sense of conflict and violence awakened after the June 4 crackdown.

The latest version, Disasters of War III, will be presented as a work-in-progress during a two-week residence at the McAulay Studio.

Zuni Icosahedron will present a multi-media performance inspired in part by the philosophy of Wittgenstein, while choreographer-dancer Mui Cheuk-yin will be performing within an installation created by four artists.

The festival promises a memorable musical event from composer Kung Chi-shing. In The Floating Bridge, Kung explores the musical elements of ancient China, and discovers something relevant to Hong Kong.

The musicians include Robert Een, whose experiments with cello and voice - including overtone singing, jazz and chanting - will be the feature of a separate performance on October 19 at the Fringe.

Hong Kong Today is the subject of a free-admission film with the format based on the cinema newsreels produced by the Government Information Service in the 1960s and 70s, while five fashion designers, led by William Tang, will be looking at what 'Chinese' means, through an alternative wardrobe.

Anyone looking for clues about what all this means should attend a free symposium tonight at the Lim Por Yen Film Theatre at 6.30pm, titled 'Reading between the Lines: Performing Arts Scene of Hong Kong'.

Another session will be held on September 22 at 2pm, while nationalism will be discussed on September 21 at 2.30pm.

From September 22, on weekend afternoons, participating artists will be in the Arts Cafe, discussing their work, worries and whatever else.

Details from the Arts Centre, tickets from Urbtix.