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To those in the same boat,

Sew & Soul (2014)   Photo by Paul Chan




In a regular evening on an MTR train, you glanced at the people around you. Under their eyes you spotted a common feature: dark circles that manifested themselves on faces made less-than-human by a whole day's tormenting work.


The city you were living in. You wanted to leave but you did not have any options; therefore you stayed and waited for the next train. As the thought of leaving everyone behind formulated in your mind, you were pushed out of the car by the crowd streaming in. Before you could go back in, doors were closed and the train hastily departed. Staring at the platform screen doors so clean that reflected clearly your own dark circles, you began to feel estranged like nothing had happened.


Behind the screen doors, you saw a poster promoting a performance of Theatre Ronin. Looking at the unfamiliar words and actors on the poster, you did not know what to expect, but a familiar sensibility arose. An intuition told you that it could be an escape; an urge to reach it grew. You took a picture of it with your mobile phone. In “My Photos” album you could look at it any time you want, making the connection with the familiar sensibility possible.


In another evening you arrived at the door of a theatre. Standing in the foyer were crowds of people whose faces were exactly those you had encountered on the platform a few weeks they were adorned by eyes glistening with anticipation. Their attires are stylish but not showy. To my surprise, everyone was on time. ago; but instead of life’s weariness


The lights went out in the house and came on stage. Players entered. You might not understand very well the words spoken and gestures done; scenic elements, lights and sounds seemed distant from your daily life; but as time passed, the composition started to stir up memories and imaginations that had rested at the bottom of your heart for a long time. Soon you felt the breathing of the actors, and they felt yours. The most secretive sentiments were shared and released into the air. In each of the minds of the members from the audience, a unique scenery was constructed, but all were ultimately connected to those presented on stage.


This moment is the serenest of places in the whole city.  


When the lights came up on the applauding audience, you had already known where the familiar sensibility came from. You wanted to share it with I witnessed your encounter with Existence - men and women, animals and plants, and God - the real drama did not take place until then. someone, but were short of words. At this instant


In a dark, he sang. The lyrics went:corner you did not notice, stood a man in navy blue linen playing the ukulele. In a deep voice



From a world as dark as a raven


A voyage is woven


From the creator’s life, aurae are distilled

Into a beam of light they converged, and

To the audience’s hearts, it travelled


Revealed is the beauty of the human realm

Like a lake perfectly calm

Its refection a face in search of its hometown.”



The moon that night, you recalled, was extraordinarily bright and round.


Alex Tam

Edited on 5th August 2014



(This material was first written in December 2008 for the promotional pamphlet of “To Be Continued…”, in response to the question, “We all seem at the same time familiar to and alienated from the city we are living in. What is the theatre’s role in this situation?”.)

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