What is Man? Edward Lam Dance Theatre Kwai Tsing Theatre Reviewed: Mar 21 Co-produced by Taiwan's National Theatre & Concert Hall and Edward Lam Dance Theatre, What is Man? was a three-hour-long exploration of traditional concepts of masculinity as defined by contemporary Chinese pop culture. In this 28-scene multimedia theatre piece, director Lam and playwright Chen Li-hua extracted nine male characters from the Chinese literary classic The Water Margin and transported them to a contemporary setting, in which each auditioned for a part in a gangster film that featured an ambiguous 'love triangle' between the gang leader (dai lo), his wife (ah sou) and his trusted right-hand man (sai lo). The structure of the work was similar to Lam's L'empereur du Chant, in that the actors played characters who in turn played other roles. But other than that, the performance was pretty much in free form, as it went from one self-contained scene to the next. Peppered between the movie scenes were unconnected monologues: a man discussing the pros and cons of wielding a big 'sword', and a psychiatrist living his life through others, including a psychopath and a gambler. Not all the scenes were engaging, but What is Man? was a witty, entertaining rendering of the Chinese male psyche. Lam and Chen's misogynistic portrayal of women showed the confused mix of pride, honour and chauvinism in modern men, and their emotional inanity, even though the homoerotic tension in the love triangle between the dai lo, ah sou and sai lo was slightly overplayed. The Taiwanese cast gave solid and in some scenes powerful performances, with David Wang (left) and Lee Chien-chang particularly impressive, going from their serious to farcical roles in an instant. Joseph Chang Hsiao-chuan, the best known of the group to the local audience, was slightly muted in his part as the wanderer.