Most of us have dreams that we hope to pursue, but it can be hard to balance what we want with the reality of making a living. Local novelist Dung Kai-cheung explores the struggle between dreams and reality in his debut play, Living to Dream of Life. Theatre group Actors Family will stage the drama this weekend. Dung based the main character on himself. In the play, the 30-something teaches writing skills at a secondary school. There he encounters two contrasting characters who make him reflect on life. The first character is a schoolgirl who is confident that she will become a writer. The second character is a teacher who gave up her dream of being a writer. The main character is uncertain about how he feels - on the one hand, he encourages the teacher not to give up. On the other hand, he tries not to make the student over-confident as he knows it is hard to make a living as a writer. 'You can't make a living in Hong Kong from writing literary novels,' said Dung. Dung has published more than 10 books, some of which have won awards, but he says he has not made any money. To earn an income, he gives tutorials at universities and secondary schools. 'Teaching is my bread-and-butter work. But because of my tight schedule, I don't have enough time to come up with new ideas. Can I scrap all the tutorials and concentrate on writing? No, as I have to eat,' said Dung. 'It's not difficult to publish a book in Hong Kong, but making writing your long-term career is a totally different thing.' Dung believes people of all ages will identify with the characters and central dilemma in his play. He says that young people should seize the chance to pursue their dreams before it's too late. 'People in their 20s don't have a family to feed or parents to look after. They don't have many burdens or much to worry about. 'But when people are in their 30s, they begin to settle down and feel that they can't take risks because their family needs them,' said the 38-year-old. So how should one balance dreams with reality? Dung does not provide an answer, but he gives audiences a chance to reflect on the issue. He believes people must find their own solution to the problem and choose a path that is right for them. Living to Dream of Life will be staged from Friday to Sunday at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre's Theatre. Tickets at $100 and $150 are available at Urbtix outlets. For enquiries, call 2268 7323.