1587, A Year of No Significance Zuni Icosahedron Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre Reviewed: May 5 'Thus our story has a sad conclusion,' wrote historian Ray Huang, in the final line of 1587, A Year of No Significance. 'The annals of the Year of the Pig  must go down in history as a chronicle of failure.' This provided inspiration for Zuni Icosahedron's second (and supposedly more loyal) adaptation of Huang's book. The first attempt, back in 1999, was a contemplation on the genesis of history. This time around, under the same director, Mathias Woo Yun-wai, the production is a satire, drawing thinly veiled analogies between Huang's historical characters and today's politicians. Woo unfurls the narrative in six character-driven installments. Some are no-frills monologues - such as David Yeung Wing-tak's excellent turn as both the posthumously discredited First Grand Secretary Chang Chu-cheng, and frustrated official Li Chih. Others have a narrator, with the character acted out as a kunqu character - such as Nanjing's Shan Xiaoming playing the ill-fated general Ch'i Chi-kuang. There was also the verbal ping-pong of comedy duo Cedric Chan Ho-fung's first grand secretary Shen Shih-hsing and his deputy Hsu Guo, again played by Yeung. Despite the calibre of talent, it's doubtful whether the piece fulfils Huang's intentions. The monologue format suggests that China's extreme emphasis on rules and morality stems from individual idiosyncrasies rather than cultural absurdity. The play fails to address the depressed air of 1587. What made 'a year of no significance' significant was the way every- one, from king to party minion, found themselves pawns in a structuralist nightmare. 1587, although heavily laden with information, fails to instil the solemnity required by the original. What it needs, to paraphrase Huang, is sadness - and a lot of it.