China CITIC Bank International brings you "Liu Rushi, my Dear"

Immediate Release

Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum’s new play in his “my Dear” series

Providing an intimate portrait of the legendary Liu Rushi

China CITIC Bank International brings you "Liu Rushi, my Dear"

【HKRep】Following the success of Hu Xueyan, my Dear, HKRep Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum creates another play based on a historical figure: Liu Rushi. Despite many fateful turns, Liu shattered conventional ideas of womanhood in the dynastic era: she was true to herself and steadfast in love. Although she was sold in her youth as a concubine and ended up a courtesan, her talent and beauty attracted the likes of the “Three Scholars of Yunjian”—of whom she was romantically involved with Song Zhenyu and Chen Zilong. Eventually, she fell in love with the sage Qian Qianyi who was many decades her senior. Ignoring public outcry, the respected scholar made her his wife. Liu’s life has long been celebrated: strong in character but carefree in disposition, she was a true patriot who won the respect of many. Although her life was short, it was splendid and colourful. From his unique viewpoint, Poon Wai Sum wields his pen with sensitivity, connecting with the core of Chinese cultural sentiment while employing Western theatrical aesthetics to provide a contemporary portrait of an ancient female figure in Liu Rushi, my Dear. China CITIC Bank International brings you Liu Rushi, my Dear, written and directed by HKRep Artistic Director Poon Wai Sum with drama critic and HKRep Honorary Artistic Advisor Dr. Cheung Ping Kuen as literary dramaturg and Hong Kong Dance Company Artistic Director Yang Yuntao as kinetic dramaturg, Liu Rushi, my Dear features Mercy Wong, Ko Hon Man, Angus Chan, Man Sui Hing, Chow Chi Fai, Chan Kiu, Yu Hon Ting, Eddy Au Yeung and Ng Ka Leung in the cast. This production runs from 9th to 24th September at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre. Tickets are now available at URBTIX outlets.
Liu Rushi, my Dear
depicts the story of Liu Rushi, a renowned courtesan from the late Ming and early Qing dynasties widely praised as the top among “Eight Beauties of Qinhuai River”. She was a patriot who lived with honour, daring to love even in the face of death, true to herself for richer or poorer. When the Qing army overran the Ming court, her fate at that critical juncture made her the legendary “woman warrior with rare beauty”. Poon Wai Sum has won critical acclaim for his output of historical plays, such as The Emperor, his Mom, a Eunuch and a Man that garnered six Hong Kong Drama Awards and Hu Xueyan, my Dear that collected a total of 14 awards in Hong Kong and China. This time, Poon continues to use his unique frame of reference and nuanced writing combined with Western dramatic components in Liu Rushi, my Dear, creating an entrancing portrait of a revered figure in Chinese cultural history.
Playwright and Director Poon Wai Sum states, “It is rare to see dramas on Chinese historical or traditional subjects in Hong Kong. The HKRep has gladly accepted the challenge to develop this genre, drawing inspiration from history and culture, fusing theatrical aesthetics both East and West and distilling a uniquely original ‘Hong Kong-style’ Chinese theatre. Liu Rushi, my Dear follows the example of Hu Xueyan, my Dear: in a brand-new play, we examine a storied figure caught in the grand sweep of momentous historical events. This play focuses on Qinhuai River courtesan Liu Rushi who lived during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. As we follow the ups and downs of her life, we admire the indomitable spirit of Liu—a common woman—and how she survived and thrived despite the turmoil around her. We look forward to this production, for which we invited Dr. Cheung Ping Kuen as literary dramaturg and Mr. Yang Yuntao as kinetic dramaturg.”
Literary dramaturg Dr. Cheung Ping Kuen adds, “Liu Rushi is a celebrated figure with a legendary background. As a courtesan and fine singer-performer of Jiangnan, she was praised for her beauty and talent and pursued by many. Of her many suitors, the one with whom she was most deeply involved was Chen Zilong, a celebrated poet during the final years of the Ming dynasty. Later, she was involved with Qian Qianyi, leader of the Donglin Faction. The romance between Qian and Liu wasn’t just personal and intimate, but coincided with the fall of the Ming and the rise of the Qing dynasties, epitomizing the pain in making hard choices, and the difficulty of recording the complexity of history. In the middle of political developments and romantic entanglements, complicated relationships among the Manchurian invaders Nurhaci, Hong Taiji and Dorgon, rebel leader Li Zicheng and the late Ming commander Hong Chengchou appear in the play. We feel the pulse of a bygone era that encircled an orphaned girl sold as a prostitute who managed to live a remarkable life. Liu’s circumstances so fascinated historian Chen Yinke that he penned her biography centuries later. Come September, theatregoers will witness an exceptional new work by Poon Wai Sum; they’ll understand why he uses ‘my Dear’ in the title of this play.”
About Playwright and Director  Poon Wai Sum
About Literary dramaturg   Dr. Cheung Ping Kuen
About Liu Rushi, my Dear
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