Preview- The Elephant Song- Sweet and Sour Productions





Sweet & Sour Productions is back after a year hiatus; to be fair, they only hit the pause button in Hong Kong, as in the meantime the company's director Candice Moore spent a year in London achieving an MA in Theatre Directing with Merit from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. 

She thoroughly enjoyed the course and her time in the UK as she met and worked with a wide range of theatre directors and practitioners, enabling herself to learn more about different techniques and approaches to theatre directing. 

A highlight of the course for her was working with artist Mark Bell who ran clowning and physical theatre sessions with her group; she also saw over 100 plays in London (thanks to discount student tickets, she said), contributing to the development of her critical thinking towards the appreciation of different theatrical forms. 



The play Candice is directing, The Elephant Song by Nicolas Billon, already crossed her path during her MA Showcase production at the Karamel Club in London. Her course stipulated that she directed a play with a maximum running time of 70 minutes and with a maximum of four actors. "I read and considered many good scripts and an artist friend in Hong Kong recommended this play to me," she said.  "It was perfect timing as the running time is 70 mins and it requires three actors! Plus it is an excellent, gripping script."


The story is a tense cautionary tale about Michael Aleen, a young man institutionalised in Brockville Psychiatric Hospital. Dr Lawrence, Michael’s regular psychiatrist, has disappeared. The hospital director, Dr Greenberg, interviews Michael about the disappearance but is unprepared for the meeting and unaware of how intelligent and manipulative Michael can be. The head nurse, Miss Peterson, knows Michael well and warns Dr Greenberg that Michael is the most intelligent person in the hospital, a fact that Dr Greenberg ignores. What unfolds over the course of the interview is a sophisticated game of manipulation and a verbal tug-of-war. We discover that Michael has not got over the shock of traumatic events earlier in his life. After a series of jokes, red herrings and revelations, it’s hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. Michael is highly organised, and no one catches on to what he has planned for the end of the interview. A real psychological thriller interspersed with humour, The Elephant Song keeps the audience guessing and working alongside Dr Greenberg to try and work out what makes Michael Aleen tick.


Candice enjoyed working with her team of actors; all three are experienced, professional performers and they have established an excellent relationship of trust and openness throughout the rehearsal process.  When dealing with players, she likes to discuss the characters to consider why they think and behave the way they do within the world of the play. She uses structured improvisation to enable the performers to create credible backstories for the characters and enhances this by creating improvisation situations that are pertinent to the play, allowing for more detailed exploration of character. Text work follows and the actors incorporate elements of the improvisations to add to the authenticity of their characters.

Joining her since the very beginning of this adventure is London-based actor Luke Lampard who played Michael Aleen in the previous English production; he is now in Hong Kong to reprise the role. He is working alongside Hong Kong-based actors Warren Adams (as Dr Greenberg) and Kath O’Connor (as Miss Peterson.)  Anthony (their unofficial fourth cast member) is also reprising his role from the London production.  Candice is also very pleased to have Baker Tilly Hong Kong onboard again as Title Sponsor.





Since her return, Candice has noticed that more original pieces are being written and devised with political themes in the wake of the Occupy Central movement. There's a boldness and edge to this work that is thought-provoking and challenging - an extra point for the Hong Kong dramatic scene. 

We are now really curious to check out this production and we invite our readers to do likewise!


The Elephant Song runs from Nov 30th through Dec 3rd at 7.30pm  at the HK Fringe Club. 
Matinee on Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm. 
For more information about this show click here






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