Despite being written 220 years ago, Hong Kong audiences will readily identify with the characters and situations in the acclaimed British comedy The School for Scandal. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival team from the United States brings a Cantonese version of the acclaimed classic to the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre from August 20 to 25. According to director Henry Woronicz, the play offers a valuable lesson to 20th century audiences. Written by Irish playwright Richard Sheridan when he was 26, it tells the tale of a miserable old bachelor, Sir Peter Teazle, who marries an unschooled country girl. After their marriage, Lady Teazle thrusts herself into the expensive ways of the 18th century London society - ingratiating herself with a group of gossip-mongers. Meanwhile, Sir Peter has been acting as the guardian for two orphaned brothers, Joseph and Charles Surface. Joseph, a hypocrite who has manipulated his way into becoming Sir Peter's favourite, tries to distance his honest younger brother from their guardian. Sir Peter eventually realises the true picture with help from the boys' uncle, Oliver Surface. 'When I thought of doing the play in Hong Kong, I was thinking of one of the things Sheridan deals with in the play - the idea of a society in which people are preoccupied with fashion and style, money, power, sex and gossip, which is much like a lot of major cities in the world, and a lot like the modern city of Hong Kong,' said Mr Woronicz. 'One of the things which makes the play a good comedy is that, through it, a lot of us look at ourselves and laugh at ourselves. Some of the characters in the play get the central part of the idea, laughing at their own predicaments.' Mr Woronicz, who served as artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, from June 1991 to October 1995, said the play appealed to him because of his love of directing 18th century plays. Set designer William Bloodgood said the idea of the set was not to make a museum reproduction of the 18th century, but to borrow the architecture from that period and give it a modern 'twist'. Costume designer Deborah Dryden, resident costume designer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, said the choice of fabrics and costume colours would be more up to date. The story was translated into Cantonese by Rupert Chan. Tickets are available from Urbtix outlets.