We're here!

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2007, 12:00am

A group of budding actors will flex their acting muscles at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in a theatrical production called Planet WE!!.

The show, which will run tomorrow and Sunday, is produced by the Theatre Ensemble and the Arts Centre, and comprises about 30 Pippoppers - young people who are students of the ensemble's Pleasure in Play (PIP) School. They will act out their life stories and divulge their feelings about Hong Kong and the world.

Pippopper Chan Ka-ying, 20, says: 'The show tells the story of our relationship with the world. We also describe our perfect lives, showing the difference between our dreams and reality.'

To many Pippoppers, the world is a confusing place, mostly because there is too much information, and too much materialism.

Shaniz Kong Ho-yin, 19, says: 'Everything looks grey. Even our sky is grey because of the air pollution. Different people have different opinions on different things. It's as if there's no right and wrong. It feels weird.'

The world may be far from perfect, but this does not mean life should be as grey as our polluted sky. Drama, according to the Pippoppers, is a fun way to keep life interesting. It also facilitates the never-ending process of self-discovery.

The PIP concept was thought up by French drama teacher Philippe Gaulier and further developed by local comedian Jim Chim Sui-man and actress Olivia Yan Wing-pui.

Pippoppers believe pleasure is our natural state of mind that is repressed by the demands of our busy lifestyles.

The founders of PIP believe the enjoyment felt during a live show makes performers more sensitive to their surroundings, allowing them to find inspiration and pleasure from even the smallest things in life.

'There's lots of humour to be found in life. Over the past year, I've been exploring the interesting things around me. For example, the conversation between a grandmother and her grandchild on the MTR can be funny and compassionate,' Chan says.

'Drama does not have to be confined to the theatre. You can learn about drama in all aspects of life. Sometimes, what an old lady does on the street can be more dramatic than anything done by an experienced stage performer.'

But finding pleasure in a tragedy is not easy. The Pippoppers say humour is not the solution to everything, but it can help change your perspective on life.

'When something bad happens, allow yourself to feel the sadness. And by doing it you might learn something new and inspiring about yourself,' says Kong.

Hanks Li Yuk-hang, 25, compares this process to playing a tragic role on stage.

'The character might be sad, but as a performer you gain pleasure from caring about the character and exploring their life circumstances.'

Li says drama is, above all, a means for people to connect with the world. It's not about being egotistical but about sharing one's life with others. 'To act is not to promote yourself or manipulate the audience during the performance. A good actor must learn how to share with others.'

Planet WE!! is on at the Shouson Theatre tomorrow and Sunday at 7.30pm. Tickets cost HK$80. Call 2734 9009 for reservations.