ArenA is a story about Emperor Lau Bong (Pinyin: Liu Bang) rooting out Hon Seon (Pinyin: Han Xin), ‘soldier transcendent’ and ‘god of war’, without whom the ‘Overlord of Co (Pinyin: Chu)’ would not have been defeated nor would Lau Bong have created a dynasty of prosperity. Tracing the last 24 hours of Hon’s life, the story epitomises the phobia-haunted Chinese society, where one is ever fearing replacement by others and is determined to vie fiercely with whoever threatens one’s position, so much so that one is content only with the destruction of the perceived foe.
This is a case of injustice over two millennia old, but also one that recurs throughout history. There is Hon Seon, the ever loyal military general, the epitome of patriotism and virtue; but there are also others who are more diplomatic and pragmatic who refuse to become the martyrs of history. Each and every character in the opera proceeds with the assurance that justice is on his/her side.
This original Cantonese opera portrays the chief players in the early years of Hon (Pinyin: Han) Dynasty, through the minimalist stage aesthetics of Utopia Cantonese Opera Workshop, mixing the traditional with innovations in modern playwriting, stage directing, music arrangement, scenography and costume, in the retelling of this age-old tale.
The programme is approximately 170 minutes with 15 minutes intermission
Cantonese programme with Chinese and English surtitles