My Grandmother's Funeral

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2008, 12:00am

My Grandmother's Funeral

Princess' Blackbox

McAulay Studio, HK Arts Centre

Reviewed: Apr 11

In this one-woman show directed by Lee Chun-chow, playwright and actress Wong Wing-sze explores the many quirks of her family through a darkly comical account of her grandmother's funeral two years ago.

'My name is Wong Wing-sze,' the actress announces, 'a name that is at odds with the Wong family genealogical naming traditions.'

Dressed in a black silk cheongsam, she goes on to explain why her father has always been a rebel in the large and traditional Wong family. By naming his two daughters differently from what family tradition would dictate, it was, she exclaimed, 'my father's way of breaking free from traditions to pursue his freedom'. And when his wife had other ideas, Wong's name was finally settled through a game of paper-scissors-rock. Her father won.

Through her lively, compelling narrative, the audience was drawn into her world in minutes. We learned that Wong and her grandmother were not close and that the old lady only ever addressed her as 'Taxi'. We were also told the Wong family business is Taoist funeral services, which explains why she is so well-versed in the protocol.

Wong even performed the 'entering hell' ritual, which 'rescues' spirits from the underworld (in Taoist belief, everyone goes there after death).

My Grandmother's Funeral, now into its second run, is a well-written, well-structured and well-directed piece peppered with beautifully tender moments. It's storytelling at its best, packed with interesting trivia about Taoist rituals.

Until Apr 27 (no show on Apr 25), 8.15pm; Apr 19-20 and Apr 26-27 also at 3.15pm, 2 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, HK$150, HK$200. Inquiries: 9273 3479