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The exquisite stage design, entailing the University Mall and the Chapel, of CUHK’s 40th anniversary drama Of Phoenix Lineage still lingers in my mind. Time flies. CUHK has entered into its 55th anniversary, and a charity drama My Love was premiered at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in late August. I was pleased to have attended the cultural bonanza again.
Dr. Leung Fung-yee, Anita, our history alumna and a financial fiction writer, is the playwright of My Love, about the tragic love story between members of two feuding families, the Nans and the Yings. Nan Quanbi and Ying Shuhang fall in love when they are Chung Chi College students. Quanbi goes into business studies after graduation, during which time the Nan family breaks up as they fall into the Yings’ trap. As time goes by, Quanbi has become a top financial expert. She liquidates Shuhang’s fortune in the Asian Financial Crisis for revenge, but leaves him a last straw.
The story spans across Hong Kong’s economic take-off in the 70s, the negotiations of the territory’s future in the 80s, the financial crisis in the 90s and its darkest days through SARS. Biology alumnus Priman Lee manages to capture the zeitgeist of the times with a simplistic stage design. He precisely crafts the story pacing with his lighting effects. The smooth flow of historic photos of Hong Kong and CUHK projected on the large screen also helps the audience traverse time and space.
The producer Chan Kin-bun mentioned that almost 140 alumni competed for the 20 roles after the casting news of My Love was released. They were all amateurs (even Dr. Leung had not played her own characters before). Much to their credit, their onstage performance could be compared to the professionals.
How to live life to the fullest? More than a hundred CUHK members have given their best on and off the scenes. It represents the resilience of Hongkongers sailing through the difficulties over the years, as it does the CUHK spirit.
This article was originally published in No. 523, Newsletter in Sep 2018.