Preview- Lungs- Liki Produksie



It doesn't happen too often in Hong Kong to find theatrical work performed in languages other than English or Chinese. Therefore, when a group dares to take a production to a different level and share its native culture with the rest of the world, we are entirely eager to find out more about it. 



Lungs opens this Sunday at the Hive in Kennedy Town; it will be performed in Afrikaans at 3 pm, and in English at 7 pm. The unique independent group Liki Produksie is not new in performing in their native language, as they already broke the boundaries by presenting the piece Mooi Annie last August.



Written by British playwright Duncan Macmillan and translated in Afrikaans, Lungs is the journey of a man and a woman who explore pregnancy and parenthood. "Like two symbiotic cells they engage, entwine, separate and become one again while hovering in the empty space", director JP du Plessis says. "Through highlighting the often hysterical, the meaningful and seemingly mundane moments that make up their lives, their story becomes universal. The inevitable, consistent and often brutal flow of time brings us to a truth that takes your breath away. Life is a fleeting gift." 





It is suggested that the play is done without using set, props, lights, sound, costume changes and even mime to indicate space and time. "In this 'restriction'", the director continues,"we surprisingly found a lot of freedom in navigating the two characters. By excluding most theatre conventions, all of our attention on the characters are magnified."



Mr. Du Plessis has been friends with actors Hilletje Bashew and Jan Brink for many years, so the process of shaping Lungs was done in a warm and pressure-less environment. "We shared a common purpose - to create honest performances and to immerse ourselves freely and entirely in the depths of this play without getting too sentimental. Hilletje's vibrant and bubbly character is well matched by Jan's composed and steady persona. They both make you laugh out loud while simultaneously pulling at your heartstrings in what has for us become an exceptionally memorable highlight in our artistic careers." 



The lack of lights or sound to indicate the changing spaces and time presented an interesting challenge to the director. "I was inspired to understand the movements and flow of the characters by considering cells, balance, duplicity, the cycles of life and Rorschach imagery. Even though they have a lot of room on stage, we tried to contain their movement by stripping it to the most basic and precise idea of what we wanted the areas within the space to communicate. The result is a space that is used sparingly but entirely and a dance between two lovers that is effective in its simplicity."



Actress Hilletje Bashew describes Lungs as "a deliciously modern play about a man and a woman having a conversation that spans over a lifetime. As the simplicity of this piece is aesthetically brilliant" she continues, "the audience will connect with the story and the characters on a deeply intimate level. The basic human condition unfolds before the audience’s eyes." 




Actor Jan Brink has already had a taste of what is like to present a South African performance in Hong Kong, as he was part of Mooi Annie.  "I think there is a real hunger for art in all its forms, and I love how communities of all backgrounds go out of there way to get a taste. We were hoping to draw in South African expat audiences, and even though we did that (very successfully), we had communities from just about everywhere asking when it would be their turn. South Africans have a knack for finding and supporting one another anywhere in the world, and we are very thankful to those who came out to see Mooi Annie and to those who became good friends; they will always remain our favourite audience. I hope that our road together will be a long, happy one. But we have our eyes firmly on HK now and on fostering an international family of theatre lovers and makers."





We asked the group what would be their expectations in our country. "There are a number of factors at play when it comes to local response," Brink replied.  "It’s all about who sees the production. But I think, thematically, Lungs is as relevant here (if not more so) than anywhere in the world. It touches on subjects HK is very familiar with, and I think depending on who you are, you will laugh, or you will cry, but you will remember the night you saw Lungs. That being said, we will be doing the show twice, in two different languages, which I hope will be a perfect indication of just how universal this production is. I very much look forward to seeing a large, mixed audience of locals and expats on the day." 



Producer Lymari Alberts (our September Artist of the Month) is proud of sharing her culture in this part of the world, and she has already had other ideas in mind to bring more material from South Africa. "I am committed to continuing growing the theatre industry and creating meaningful work.  There’s a few projects lined-up for 2018 but lips are sealed so keep an eye on my Facebook (Lymari) page!"





We are certainly looking forward to this project, especially after Ms. Bashew's anecdote. "During the arts festival in South Africa where we first premiered the production, we had a couple of rehearsals in my mum's apartment, as Lungs is written super naturalistic like ragingly so. Next door lives a retired- maybe a tad nosy neighbour. She must have heard us rehearse a couple of times because one afternoon, as I was on my way out of the building I bumped into her and she took my hands saying " I really hope you work things out with your partner, he sounds like a very nice man." Totally thinking that Jan was my partner and we were clearly talking through some issues. HA!"


Lungs is made possible by LEAP initiative Philanthropies. 
LEAP seeks to improve people lives through Social Productivity, with smart collaborations and innovation. We use Philanthropy as a catalyst to tackle social challenges. By identifying, funding and working with innovative NGO’s & Social Entrepreneurs of and in Africa. For more information, visit their website:

Lungs opens this Sunday. For more information about the production, click here. 


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