Dino the Dramatist
I lived in Hong Kong for fourteen years where I became well established as a
playwright, my stage plays performed in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
The first play I wrote was performed in Cantonese – the English title was NO MANS
LAND, a play about AIDS in Hong Kong, written for the Hong Kong Fringe Festival.
I remember sitting in the audience on the first night not understanding a word of what was being said but enjoying the intense audience response.
My play, LANGUAGE WARS written for the Chung Ying Theatre Company, was
performed in three languages, Mandarin, Cantonese and English! My play DRAGON ISLAND was commissioned as part of the 1997 Hong Kong handover cultural festival, performed in English and Cantonese by a cast of English and Hong Kong actors, a lavish production with flying dragons, special effects and musicians on stage performed to large audiences in major venues. Unforgettable.
At RTHK Radio 4 (Radio Television Hong Kong) my radio soap opera SONGBIRDS
was broadcast twice a week in English using local secondary school acting talent. It
became very popular and was broadcast over several years. How did I manage to keep those scripts flowing I’ll never know!
In 1994 I won the London International Playwriting Festival for my play, ‘YO-YO,’
yay, which was performed the following year at the Warehouse Theatre, Croydon in a production directed by Jessica Dromgoole, script published by Oberon Books. I was also short-listed for the Yale International Playwriting Competition for my play,
I received international exposure of my drama work when two of my radio plays were broadcast as part of the WORLDPLAY season of international radio drama and broadcast around the world on all major English language networks.
Some of my Chinese themed radio plays were co-written with my civil partner, the
Hong Kong playwright Simon Wu, ‘BARE BRANCHES’ (BBC World) directed by
Anne Edvean and ‘DEMOLITION MAN’ (BBC World) as part of the ‘VIEW from
HERE’ project devised and directed by Marian Nancarrow.
A few of my plays are in print, GYMNOPEDY and LOOKING FOR STONES
published in ‘CITY STAGE: Hong Kong Playwriting in English,’ Hong Kong
University Press, 2005. And YO-YO, published by Oberon Press. Some of my
SONGBIRDS scripts are also accessible online via the RTHK archive.
My latest play CRYSTAL was performed in Hong Kong just before the new
censorship laws came into force – phew, - it’s very upfront about sex and drugs). The poster (see below) had to be taken down and replaced with a less controversial image. A one person show, a tour de force by Hong Kong’s most famous drag queen, La Chiquita. You can read about it from the press release below. I’m hoping to get it performed in the UK.
Please make contact if you are interested.
Extract from scene 1 of Yo-yo
What happens when a teenage boy invades your weekend and refuses to go away? Kevin, a divorced school teacher visits the Cornish coast expecting to spend some time with his son. But at the same hotel Lego, a troubled 14 year-old, is determined to compete for Kevin’s attention.
(Lego stands in the doorway. He makes a signature spin of his yo-yo then walks in leaving the door open behind him. He swivels a chair back to front and sits alert, facing the door, waiting.)
Girl: (Calling) Sally? Sal... (Door slams. Calling.) Sally?
(Kevin returns to his room and finds Lego sitting there. They stare at each other, frozen for a moment.)
Kevin: Who the hell are you?
Lego: 'Course she knew you booked... bank holiday see... everywhere's full, they'll pay anything... tight as a duck's arse she is... washes and irons her own toilet paper, I've seen her.
Kevin: I saw you downstairs didn't I?
Lego: (Pleased) Did you?
(Kevin checks the dressing table drawer to see if his wallet is still there. Lego turns his trouser pockets inside out to prove he hasn't taken anything: crumpled tissues, sweets, a wallet, coins, keys, cigarette packet, lighter, a condom, etc. tumble onto the floor. A yo-yo also falls out and rolls away. Lego's pockets stick out like rabbit ears.) (Speaking as he is emptying his pockets) Been in and out all day they have... offered double some of them... forty quid for a room in this rat hole! That's what happened to your room see... she gave it to someone else. (Tweaking his emptied pockets) Okay?
Kevin: What are you doing up here?
Lego: Popped up for a chat that's all. Down from London ain't you... heard you say.
Kevin: Did you now.
Lego: How long did it take?
Kevin: Six hours.
Lego: What... driving a milk float was you?
Kevin: Something like that.
Lego: Only kidding.
Kevin: Are you staying here?
Lego: Yeah worse luck.
Kevin: With your parents?
Lego: Me Mum... she ain't here though.
Kevin: Oh yeah?
Lego: Gone up to London.
Kevin: Has she?
Lego: Yeah. Don't blame her... it's boring down here... nothing to do.
Kevin: (Pause) How old are you?
Lego: (In an RP accent) Telling someone your age is like taking all your clothes orf in public. (Own voice) Some posh geezer I know says that.
Kevin: How old are you?
Lego: Up to you mate.
Lego: If you like.
Kevin: (Pause) Why exactly did you come up here?
Lego: Looked as if you could do with a bit of company, know what I mean. I
ain't usually wrong. (Silence) Been down here before?
Kevin: Not here exactly, no.
Lego: Show you around if you like.
Kevin: No thanks.
Lego: Won't cost nothing. Go down the bird park. D'you like birds? (Silence)
Last week some kid smashed this bird's legs in with a cricket bat... flamingo... it was in the papers. Know what the R.S.P.C.A. did? Took it off in a van and put it to sleep. Don't do that to cripples do they. (Pause) So what's the plan for tonight?
Lego: Go down the Goose and Duck... lined up like skittles they'll be... scrubbers up one side, bikers down the other... leather boys, you know... creak when they walk. (He mimes this with sound effects)
Kevin: Think I might give that a miss.
Read the press release for Crystal here.