Thomas Y. T. LUK (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Adaptations and Translations of Western Drama: A Socio-cultural Study of Hong Kong Repertory Company's Past Practices , English/14 pages, April 2006.


The overwhelming number of productions of western plays in translation or their adaptations on the Hong Kong stage reflects a very active level of acculturation, and in a sense, interculturalism, very becoming to a place like Hong Kong. Not only does it not suggest cultural imposition, rather, it brings about artistic/theatrical invigoration, and opens up potential for open dialogue between cultures. However, these productions are not without their problems, cultural, social and linguistic, etc. This paper purports to look at the Hong Kong Repertory Company's past productions, with a view to addressing some important issues in the theatre, concerning adaptation and translation. These are:

•  How does the theatre of translation and adaptation in Hong Kong serve as an intercultural transference, ˇ§a unique machinery for overcoming cultural differences and reaching out towards other culturesˇ¨ (Scolnivoc, Hanna and Peter Holland)

•  The dynamics or mechanics of transferring a play from one culture to another.

•  What are the criteria, aesthetic, cultural, linguistic, for transfer?

•  What is the purpose of choice and aim of putting on a play in translation for a local audience?

•  How is meaning to be conveyed or adapted to a new cultural environment, or create new meaning?

In its twenty seven years of operation, Hong Kong Repertory Company has evolved from a translation dominated production company to one that celebrates Hong Kong featured productions as well as occasional production of translated western work. It is time to take stock of some of its major productions of translated plays, in order to investigate how these works on the stage have helped forge contemporary Hong Kong theatre, constructed its hybrid identity integral to Hong Kong as a meeting place of cultures, East and West.