On August 25 and 26, 66 selected performers from the Hang Seng Call for Young Talent in Theatre presented the musical Our Time, Our Hong Kong at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Jockey Club Auditorium.
Young Post watched the show, which offered a taste of life in Hong Kong during the 1960s and the struggles that the older generation had to overcome at the time.
Our Time, Our Hong Kong is about 21st century Hong Kong girl Siu-lam, who time-travels back to Sham Shui Po in the 60s, where she meets her future grandmother Ah-chi who passed on a restaurant to her before she died.
Before her time-travelling experience, Siu-lam was struggling with the decision to shut the restaurant because of rising rents. But after seeing all the blood, sweat and tears her grandma put in to keeping the business alive during difficult times, she realised that she shouldn’t give up so easily. What’s more, after witnessing the injustices in the 60s when police corruption was rampant and powerful people favoured the upper classes, Sui-lam transforms herself into a Flying Heroine to combat the notorious bully Mak-kei and save her neighbours.
With a new understanding of Hong Kong’s history, she eventually finds the “Lion Rock Spirit” and realises the potential of Hong Kong and its people.
Our Time, Our Hong Kong highlights how Hong Kong people’s mentality has changed since the 60s. Not only does it depict the intergenerational gaps and conflicts, it also shows why the older generation hold such different views and attitudes to life, explaining that their behaviour and values are the result of the poverty-stricken environment in which they lived.
With only about two months of training before the show, the young cast gave a very professional performance, excelling in acting, dancing and even in the few fight scenes.
Although their singing skills might need a bit of polishing, it was undoubtedly a powerful and thoughtful production. Suitable costumes and make-up, synchronised dance moves, realistic- looking props and smooth scene transitions, not to mention the elaborate script and lyrics liberally sprinkled with the language of the 60s, kept audience members entertained and actively engaged in a world that was very different from today’s society.
The play also faithfully followed the historical context of the time, introducing the different types of mainland immigrants who made up Ah-chi’s community, the effects of Typhoon Wanda in 1962, and the ever-present police and bandits.
Adding to the distinctive aura of 60s Hong Kong were the characters Ma Biu-luk, a street vendor who sells lottery tickets, and the iconic “seven princesses” who pretend to be famous local actresses of the time.
Director Sin Chun-tung says it is unfortunate that the social problems depicted in the play remain unresolved even today.
“But regardless of the difficulties that are in store for us, as long as we keep the Lion Rock Spirit, we can save ourselves and our city,” Sin says.