Hong Kong theatre group marks first decade with staging of French comedy about web dating

Director and star of The Next Door hails growing strength of Hong Kong’s French community and ‘amazing’ development of city’s creative landscape

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 1:15pm

The Hong Kong Theatre Association is marking its tenth anniversary by staging a French romantic comedy that delves into the world of internet dating.

La Porte À Coté (The Next Door) is set in Paris and tells the story of two neighbours – she’s a shrink, he sells yoghurt – who are secretly exploring internet dating sites in search of love.

“The play touches on the frustrations of internet dating - the constant searching and the lack of humour an emotion that goes with looking for love online,” says Emilie Guillot, one of the play’s stars and also its director. The other character is played by Bertrand Leduby.

“The play also has some sort of madness. The dialogue is structured with a touch of teasing complexity that makes our work a little harder. The pace and dynamics of the two characters is also intense ... I think I can say that this is the first time it has been complicated for me to find my truth and depth in my character while directing.”

Guillot adds: “When I set up the HKTA 10 years ago many people had doubts it would last but we are still going strong. And yes, it has much to do with the growing strength of the French community in Hong Kong.”

Guillot was born in Brittany, northwest France, and has spent years on stage and in front of the camera. She graduated with a National Diploma in Performing Arts and Drama Directing from French drama school Le Cours Florent.

“It’s been amazing to see the development of Hong Kong’s creative landscape,” she says.

The Next Door, in French with English surtitles, opens on November 30 and runs until December 2. Auditorium, French International School, 34 Price Rd, Jardine’s Lookout. Details: http://hkta.org.hk/