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Spotlight on motives as students make a drama out of the crisis

Raymond Ma

A group of university students in Hong Kong will stage a play next month based on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.

The play, entitled The Returns, is a fictional account told from the viewpoint of a terrorist about to commit the attack and a restaurant waiter who dies as a result. It will be staged as a one-off production on November 10 by the Matchstick Figures group as part of the Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival.

A spokeswoman for the US Consulate in Hong Kong said last night she did not think the idea of a play about the tragedy was distasteful 'as long as it is respectful to those who died'.

The play will look into the background of one of the suicide-hijackers and how his situation drove him to commit the act. The story on the World Trade Centre victim will focus on his final moments.

Director Kitty Kong Sin-ying said: 'What happened to the World Trade Centre was horrible because so many millions watched it on TV. Many people die in Afghanistan each year and we think that the idea of taking revenge won't solve anything. There will just be more innocent people dead.'

She said she was concerned that people in Hong Kong, particularly the young, were not discussing what happened on September 11.


'A lot of young people in Hong Kong only care about things that immediately affect them. Given a choice between romance and something that happens on another continent, I think they would be more interested in the former,' Ms Kong said.

Simon Yam Ah-gon, who will play the role of the victim waiter, said: 'It's a habit. Hong Kong young people are used to not voicing their opinions about things that are happening across the world.

'But I think they think about these issues a lot - they are just reluctant to talk about them.'

Mr Yam said the attacks had had a major influence on the group's lives and they quickly decided to base their play on them.


'We were rehearsing a play when we heard the news and at first we couldn't believe it. We threw out the old script and started anew,' Mr Yam said.

The group also said it would pay attention to events in Afghanistan and change the ending of the play if necessary.


'We know that the situation is continually changing, so we have to keep an eye on things as they develop,' Ms Kong said.

'We will have to see whether war will begin.'