The Missing Case of a Doomsday Traveller

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Cattle Depot Theatre Thu Oct 25-Tue Oct 30

Chan Ping-chiu, On&On Theatre Workshop’s artistic director, has penned arguably the most radical play on doomsday, in which, on
the fated day… nothing happens. “My doomsday is far from the Hollywood-ish catastrophes or what is said in the Bible,” says Chan, his soft-spoken words belying the famously rebellious nature demonstrated by this old hand in experimental theatre.

Despite having staged his unfinished doomsday play 17 Scenarios Likely & Unlikely to Happen in 2012 last November, Chan neither believes in doomsday nor does he repudiate it. He is just a little disinterested. “What if nothing happens after December 21, 2012?” Chan muses. “No doomsday, no extensive vigorous social movements and not even feverish celebrations. If nothing happens, what then? What’s our take on the new possibilities?”

Chan sees 17 Scenarios – to be restaged as a completed work in a doomsday-themed festival at Cattle Depot in December – as a comedy satirising various socio-cultural phenomena, from local properties to Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. “I find last year’s work too romantic,” admits Chan. Having subsequently read French political works such as The Coming Insurrection and Slavoj Žižek’s Living in the End Times, Chan says he wanted to write something ‘relatively less optimistic’.

Based on one of the 17 scenarios and set specifically in Hong Kong, The Missing Case of a Doomsday Traveller tells of the disappearance of fictional social activist Miss Ai Ai after December 21, 2012. In fact, the play says more about the new beginning than the end times, which fits in with what Chan thinks himself. “The Mayans didn’t say it is doomsday. Just that it’s the last recordable day in their astrological record,” he clarifies. “It’s winter solstice, the end of a cycle. It’s only that they foretold a through-and-through beginning on that day.”

Winnie Chau

Performed in Cantonese with English synopsis. Tickets: 2734 9009; urbtix.hk.

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