Review- Invisible Cities- Zuni Icosahedron


By: Chloe Chia


Can you hear? Can you hear me? Can you hear yourself? I want to communicate with you. The people of Hong Kong want to communicate with you…


This is the invisible city. The invisible city is a city with no imagination. It is a city with no experimentation. It is a city with no questions. A city with no understanding. A city with no thoughts. 


A page to theatre adaptation, Invisible Cities is Danny Yung’s derivative work of the 1972 novel written by Italian author Italo Calvino. Yung, the director, text and stage designer teams up with 18 Hong Kong youth of the post-90s on this journey of leading the audience to rethink and rediscover their relationship with the city. Yet, it is not simply putting paper to theatre. More than transcending mediums, it is in fact a transcultural, trans-media and trans-generation creation tailored to the Hong Kong people, demanding to be heard. 


The play delves into a multitude of issues: dialogue and communication, freedom and equality, justice and transparency, love and patriotism, to name a few. It questions spatial freedom, the function of public sphere and even closer to heart of the company’s characteristics— the possibility of theatre. 


Co-founded by Danny Yung and Mathias Woo in 1982, Zuni Icosahedron is a 33-year-old international experimental theatre company based in Hong Kong. Danny Yung is often revered as the “cultural godfather” of Hong Kong. His Invisible Cities merges multiple art forms to tie in complex social and cultural issues. It is anything but direct and palpable. Like a tennis ball machine, it thrusts multiple questions one after the other. You need to listen attentively, watch everything to minute detail. It does not provide any answer to the questions, as it defies any single interpretation. It requires an active reader, to read the text of the theatre with her own history and experience. 


Alluding to the exasperated youth of the Umbrella Movement, 18 lost souls wander around the city, helplessly steering in every direction to find out “How deep is Hong Kong?, How big is the world? and How much do I have?”. Adrift and alienated by the society, they started to question themselves, what is wrong? “Do my eyes have problem? Is my background a problem? My stance a problem? …” As they walk through rage, disillusionment and desperation, the audience is led to think how and why this group of youth are being cast aside by the society. 


This is a play that your knowledge of Cantonese language will come in as a heavy-weighed asset. Although there were some English translation of the words projected on screen, the monologues were mostly spoken in Cantonese. If your Cantonese proficiency is high enough to understand Cantonese proverbs, you would definitely get more of a laugh in the beginning of the show as the narrator addresses a wide range of audiences with some linguistic specific jokes interspersed. Having said that, the English speaking public could still benefit from the show as they offer an audio description device at Saturday’s performance. 


This is theatre for both old and young, rich and poor (materialistically or spiritually). It provokes the young audience to be more thoughtful about themselves and their relationship to others; while telling the older ones to lend their ears to the next generation. The playing of theatrical forms and styles are excellent, strongly supportive of the content itself, which is a full form of reflection and meditation on the audience part: 


In a city where there is no imagination, the reader needs to imagine. Insofar as a city with no question and no thoughts, the reader has to wonder why.


Invisible Cities is playing through Saturday. For more information, click here.

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.7


No comment at the moment.

Post New Comment