FOUR ASSASSINS Sweet and Sour Productions This week will see what is thought to be the first ever adaptation for the stage of a Hong Kong-made film. Four Assassins – called Far Away Eyes when released here, but retitled by the US distributor – won several awards at North American film festivals in 2011. Sweet and Sour Productions’ Candice Moore was then approached by director Stanley Orzel and producer Maria Orzel – with whom she had worked previously as an actor in another of their films, Lost For Words – and asked if she would be interested in directing a stage version of this claustrophobic drama-thriller set in a Hong Kong hotel suite. The basis of the play is a tense reunion between four professional killers with deadly unfinished business to discuss. “Maria is producing the show, so she is working on everything behind the scenes. Stanley is the writer so he has been present at the readthrough and some rehearsals. He is open to adjusting his script to fit the actors, so the script has evolved during the rehearsal process,” says Moore. The stage production, in English with Chinese surtitles, aims to capture the edge-of-your-seat atmosphere of the original film. The American title was retained, Moore says, because it has “more punch and power”. “The script is similar to the film version, but some of the dialogue has been lengthened,” she explains. “The key difference is in the acting style, as the performances have to be edgy and dynamic. I am also using clips from the film which adds another visual element to the flashback scenes, so the actors will interact with and react to sections of the film.” Moore has assembled a strong cast, including Nicholas Atkinson, who has played Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps in London’s West End, as hit man Marcus; experienced Eurasian actress and dancer Muriel Hofmann as his exlover Cordelia; Hong Kong raised British actor Jai Day as “loose cannon” Chase; and experienced Canadian actor Rob Archibald as Eli, the father figure of the group. Tim Selby, who plays a nervous room service waiter, completes the cast. “It wasn’t too difficult to cast. There was a lot of interest from actors, so I was lucky as I had a large talent pool to choose from,” she says. HKRep Blackbox Theatre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, 345 Queen’s Road Central, September 25-28, 8pm; September 28 and 29, 3pm. HK$280 Urbtix. Inquiries: 9131 3387 From left: Timothy Selby, Rob Archibald and Nicholas Atkinson.