World Premiere of "Reverie of an Empire"

Second production celebrating the centenary of the 1911 Revolution - Re-evaluating the short-lived reign of the “Grand Emperor” Yuan Shikai
Reverie of An Empire Dress Photo
Reverie of An Empire Dress Photo
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July 21, 2011 - PRLog -- (HONG KONG REPERTORY THEATRE) Following the successful revival of Boundless Movement, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Anthony Chan creates a new play entitled Reverie of an Empire to commemorate the 1911 Chinese Revolution. Joining the production is two-time Hong Kong Drama Award Best Director Lee Ming Sum, along with seasoned actors Sun Wai Keung, Ling Man Lung, Yau Ting Fai, Chan On Yin, Wang Wei, Chow Chi Fai and Lee Wing Shek. Together they trace a story based on unofficial accounts of how Yuan realized his dream to become the “Grand Emperor” under the reigning title of Hongxian. This drama delves deep into the unbridled ambition of Yuan as well as intertwining friendships and enmities among his associates, sons, many wives and concubines. Reverie of an Empire will be presented at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre from 27th August to 11th September. It is presented in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles. Tickets are now available from URBTIX outlets.

Reverie of an Empire is based on the short-lived, 83-day reign of Yuan Shikai beginning in December 1915, when he took to heart a geomancer’s advice to follow Heaven’s decree, accede to popular demand, and ascend the Imperial throne. All of these actions resulted in utter chaos for the nation. The script focuses on the human psyche, of thoughts and deeds surrounding Yuan Shikai’s proclamation as Emperor: Was it motivated by political ambition? Was everything predetermined by geomancy and fate? Did circumstances make the man or was he simply deceived? What made Liang Qichao, Duan Qirui, Feng Guozhang—supporters and associates of Yuan—eventually turn against him? Yuan ran a tight household with numerous wives, but did these skills translate into ruling a nation? Amidst political turmoil, is anyone spared?

Reverie of an Empire is the second major production to commemorate the 1911 Revolution this season, says Artistic Director Anthony Chan. He explains, “The HKRep intentionally scheduled two productions to highlight events before and after the 1911 Revolution. While Boundless Movement restaged the heroic deeds of those martyrs at Huanghuagang, Reverie of an Empire centres around a modern historical character often vilified as a dictator and traitor. After the 1911 Revolution, Yuan went against republican ideals, eventually alienating friends and family, leading to his death shortly thereafter. His desire to become Emperor, his scheming ploys to establish a dynasty, and how his hopes were dashed are chronicled in this drama. These events that have far-reaching consequences are food for thought for all of us. I hope to use the viewpoints of country, family, and human character to portray Yuan Shikai, providing the audience with fresh perspectives. Apart from coming face to face with that tumultuous era, we could reexamine Yuan’s achievements and failures.”

About Director: Lee Ming Sum

A graduate of the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, Lee Ming Sum has taught at such illustrious institutions as the Central Conservatory of Music, Opera Department of the China Conservatory of Music and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, having served as board member and Vice-Chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies. Lee has directed classics from East and West in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, Shanghai and Beijing. The musical Dream of a Young Girl (1996), written and directed by Lee, won “Top Ten Most Popular Productions” at the Hong Kong Drama Awards. Lee’s accolades also include two Best Director awards, for Top Restaurant and What a Blissful Encounter, Mr. Ts’ai. Both of these productions were also selected among the “Top Ten Most Popular Productions” in their respective years. Lee is not only a director, but also a playwright and an actor, having consulted for many local theatre companies. Among his recent productions as director were Crazy Snow (Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre) and Cao Yu’s Still Thinking (Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies).

Reverie of An Empire

^27, 30-31.8, 1-3, 6-10.9.2011 - 7:45PM
#28.8, 3-#4, 10-11.9.2011 - 2:45PM
^Exclusive performance sponsored by Association of China Trend Studies (HK) Ltd. (Not available for public sales)
#Post-performance Talk

Hong Kong City Hall Theatre
$250 / $150
*$230 / $130 (*weekday specials)

Ticket discounts

- Half-price tickets are available for people with disabilities, age 60 or above, and full-time students
(limited offer for full-time students only).
- 15% discount for HKRep Pals
- 15% discount for Visa Platinum cardholders
- For other discount offers, please visit the HKRep website

Telephone Enquiries & Booking: 2111 5999 /
Programme Enquiries: 3103 5900 /

Media Enquiries:

Anita Wong  (Head of Marketing & Development)   
Phone: 852-3103 5933

Shirley So (Corporate Communication Officer)
Phone: 852-3103 5977

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Established in 1977 and incorporated in 2001 as an independent company, the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre is the largest professional theatre company of its kind in Hong Kong. It is a registered non-profit-making organisation.
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