Fresh off the success of her one-woman show Sneasons of Liz, which received glowing reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, local stage regular Elizabeth Merendino will be headlining The Bridge, a two-part play adapted from poems written by Spanish poet Jose Manuel Sevilla and directed by fellow actor Adam Harris. The play explores the themes of love, death and war, says the vocalist from New York. 'But love is first and foremost. In the first half of the show it talks about love being lost, and the second part is about love rediscovered.'
Set against the backdrop of a war, the drama is about two soldiers encountering two women at a bridge outside of town. Merendino plays both female roles - 'a huge challenge' because she has to make these two different characters believable. In the first half she portrays an unhappily married woman dealing with an adulterous relationship. The woman in the second act is 'more of a supernatural character' who claims she's born from the water and has now found a new love after losing love once before.
'The characters are very different but the themes that run throughout are very similar. Everything is against this backdrop of a war and water [that] plays quite a significant symbolic role in both sections. The water symbolises the continual flow of life,' Merendino says.
Though the interval between the two acts helps her to clear her head and refocus, Merendino says she always has to 'make sure I don't start using the traits, movements and body language that I use in the first half for the second half'.
The poetic language enhances the play's atmosphere, although it also poses a challenge: 'I like the language, it's very beautiful. But I start worrying whether I'm saying it correctly.' This is the last drama production for Merendino in Hong Kong: she leaves the city for Turkey next month to teach music at an international school in Istanbul. And just like the happy-go-lucky character she plays in Sneasons of Liz, the classically trained singer isn't quite sure what will happen after that, but she will go with the flow and see 'what performing opportunity is there'.
Wed-Thu, Sat, 8pm, also Sat, 3pm, McAulay Studio, HK Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai, HK$200 Urbtix. Proceeds go to Angels for Orphans and Amnesty International. Inquiries: 9127 0420