Joey Leung opens up

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Arthur Tam talks to the seasoned actor about love, respect and sex

Homosexual-themed entertainment is on the rise in Hong Kong – especially for stage performances. The face associated with this emergence is none other than gay actor Joey Leung, who is well-known for playing Ken Wong in his painstakingly hilarious stage comedy Extremely Gay back in 2003. This fortnight, Leung brings Ken Wong back to the stage in his upcoming play Open Relationship. We chat to Leung about his recurring role and the significance of gay dramas on stage.


Tell us more about your ‘villainous’ character Ken Wong. Is he a villain because he’s always out being sexually mischievous?
Basically, yes. In Extremely Gay, the protagonist Michael falls in love with Ken, but discovers he has multiple lovers. This makes Ken the villain. But in Open Relationship, his role is a bit different because in this story it’s a world of open relationships. Ken doesn’t believe in monogamy because he feels that one person cannot fulfil lifelong satisfaction for someone else. Some people might think it’s immoral, but other people will think this is the reality. In this drama it’s not whether or not an open relationship is right or wrong.


In this play are you trying to juxtapose a gay open relationship with a straight one? Is it a commentary on homosexuals being more prone to open relationships?
It’s not homosexuals, its gay men specifically and it’s simply biological. Men want to spread their genes. If one man is already like this – put two together and its going to be intensified. But the main point of the story is to tell the audience that at the end the choice is theirs. You have to be responsible for choosing to be in an open relationship. There can’t be any regrets.


You are usually cast in gay roles, yourself, right?
Quite on the contrary. It’s probably less than 25 percent of my work, but it’s just that the public usually talks about my gay roles. In reality I’ve only been in four or five gay roles. However, there will be more next year though [chuckles]. Next year I’m going take part in a script that I really like, called Bent.


Why do we need specific gay plotlines?
Gay love stories are well suited for stage performances because there are always obstacles and conflicts. There aren't very many modern Romeo and Juliet stories anymore. Gay love stories, however, are relevant to modern times. They are people that can’t openly express their love.


As an openly gay actor, do you think you have a responsibility to promote more gay entertainment?
I am an actor. I am a gay man. Those two things are part of my life, but I don’t like mixing the two. I don’t feel like I have any particular obligation – as an actor, I mean. But as a gay man I wouldn't particularly encourage anyone to come out. It’s not my place. What I will say is that people have to respect themselves before they can gain respect from others.

Open Relationship runs at the Kwai Tsing Theatre Sep 21-30 Tickets: urbtix.hk.

 

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