Storyteller comes to life in a tale of wit and eloquence

CHUNG Ying Theatre is concentrating on a unique character for its play in next month's Hongkong Arts Festival.

The drama group will stage The Legend of a Storyteller (in Cantonese), a specially commissioned play following last year's successful Far Way Home .

The ups and downs of the life of Liu Jingting, a storyteller of the Ming dynasty, captures the imagination of playwright Cheung Tat-ming.

Short and ugly, Liu dreams of the sublime. He cannot act the hero when he is in the army and leaves because he cannot kill. Though full of wit and eloquence, he fails to win his first love. Poor and dejected, he finally becomes a storyteller and finds hisdreams of heroism realised in rhetoric.

''It's a story full of flesh and blood. Liu struggles and never gives up. He has ideals and finally wakes up to their true values, which impressed me because it is something I haven't arrived at in my life yet,'' Cheung told Young Post .

Director Fredric Mao Chun-fai, of the School of Drama at the Hongkong Academy for Performing Arts, says he will bring the epic closer to the audience.

''To do this, we are having three storytellers narrating to the audience the story of the central storyteller Liu. It is a story within another story.'' Chung Ying performers are thrilled to call The Legend ''their type of play''. Liu's wit generates lyrical and humorous dialogue, which suits the team's light-hearted style. It also gives them room for creativity.

The Legend of a Storyteller will be staged at the City Hall Theatre on February 5-7, 9-16 at 7.30 pm, with matinees on February 6-7 and 13-14 at 2.30 pm. An English synopsis will be provided. Tickets are available at URBTIX outlets.