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Experimental theatre "Flee by Night" spins a tale of political intrigue for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

Experimental theatre pioneer Danny Yung poses a political conundrum in his latest piece "Flee by Night" for World Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

The production will be presented in Putonghua with Chinese and English text at the Duanjun Theatre of the Shanghai Theatre Academy from October 16 to 18.

"Flee by Night" originates from an act of the Kun opera play "The Legend of the Precious Sword" written by playwright Li Kaixian during the mid-Ming Dynasty.

It tells the story of legendary figure Lin Chong, one of the famous characters from the classic Chinese novel "Water Margin". Lin was the chief instructor of the 800,000 imperial guards in the Song Dynasty until he was framed and persecuted by malicious court officials. He then fled to join a group of outlaws and eventually became one of the "108 Liangshan heroes".

"Flee by Night" director and co-artistic director of Zuni Icosahedron, Mr Danny Yung, said: "Working with celebrated Kun opera master Ke Jun, we strip down the elaborate customs and make-up in the opera and blend in modernist elements to produce a forceful critique on the relationships between art and politics and between the audience and the performers."

Famed for works which demand critical self-reflection, Mr Yung seeks to relate Lin Chong's transgression to the present day.

"The positions of artists and literati are ever changing and there is a Lin Chong in every era," Mr Yung said.

"I try to question Lin Chong's decision to leave one system, the legitimate one, for another, which is outlawed.

"Can our society's 'dissidents' create or live in an alternative establishment? I also try to explore if there is room for human rights, structural reforms, people development and a civic society."

"Flee by Night" features Ke Jun, "National Class One" actor and President of Jiangsu Performing Arts Group Kun Opera Theatre, and his 25-year-old protégé Yang Yang. They portray the middle-aged and teenaged Lin Chong respectively.

Sharing the stage will be Li Lite, on percussion, and Zuni member Pun Tak-shu, who is on music and videography.

Couture designer Barney Cheng, whose creations have graced the red carpet around the world, is on costume design.

"Flee by Night" premiered at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March 2010. It was well-received at the Singapore Esplanade Theatre in May and will captivate the Shanghai audience.

It is a HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo and a programme of the 12th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

Zuni Icosahedron, formed in 1982, is a Hong Kong-based international experimental theatre company. Zuni has produced more than 160 original productions of alternative theatre and multimedia performances. It has been active in video, sound experimentation and installation arts, as well as in arts education, art criticism, cultural policy research and international exchange.

For full programme details and ticketing information, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk, and Zuni Icosahedron's website, www.zuni.org.hk.

"Danny Yung Experimental Theatre: Flee by Night"
Date: October 16 to 18, 2010
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Duanjun Theatre, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Length: Approx 1 hour 45 minutes
In Putonghua with Chinese and English text
Ticket price: RMB 320, 240, 120
Booking hotline: (86 21) 6272 0455
Online booking: www.festivalclub.org
Programme enquiries:
Zuni Icosahedron (852) 2566 9696
The Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival (86 21) 6272 0440