FONG Chee Fun Gilbert 方梓勳

Research Projects

  • Adaptations and Translations of Western Drama: A Social-cultural Study of Hong Kong Repertory Theatre's Productions from 1977 to the Present
  • LUK Yuntong Thomas, FONG Chee Fun Gilbert (Dept of Translation)
    1 September 2003
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    Adaptation and translation of western drama has been a long standing theatrical practice on the Hong Kong stage by leading theatre companies, such as Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Chung Ying Theatre and others. The number of translated plays, mostly from English and European languages, put on the stage each year compares favorably and at one time overwhelmingly with that of local original plays. The first and foremost professional theatre company in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, best demonstrates this theatrical phenomenon. In the past twenty-five years, it has produced 91 plays in translation, as compared with 56 in original plays, from Thornton Wilder’s Skin of Our Teeth in its inception year, 1977 to Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in 2001. This project is a joint venture with the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre to mark its coming 25th anniversary in the year 2002 to look at the productions of its translated plays over the past twenty-five years with a view to the following objectives:
    1. To make an inventory of all these productions, from both video and printed forms, as cultural products and provide them with a historical account of the background, the development and the direction.
    2. To interpret and study the selection of translated dramatic texts and the audience reception of these productions in the context of influence and reception.
    3. To investigate their relevance to Hong Kong with reference to social, political, and aesthetic implications.
    4. To study the Impact of translated plays on the construction, invigoration and self-reflection of local cultural identity, through the forging of contemporary Hong Kong theatre.
    5. To study the artistic and technical values of the introduction of western plays by the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and its example-setting impact on the local theatre in the past twenty five years.
    6. To argue for these productions or adaptations as intercultural theatre, with great potential for open dialogue between cultures- Hong Kong and Western- in the context of globalism and localism, reflecting how they coincide with the aim by the government of making Hong Kong “Asia’s world city”.
    7. To compile a DVD format databank of the research results, which includes a collection of 91 productions for future research and theatre education.
    8. To anthologize a theatre history and criticism of translated plays in Hong Kong for future research and theatre studies. (CU03121)

  • Possibilities and Politics of Intercultural Theatre on Contemporary Hong Kong Stage
  • LUK Yuntong Thomas, FONG Chee Fun Gilbert (Translation)
    1 December 2004
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    The present project will be a branch off from my existing project: Translations and Adaptations of Western Drama: A Social and Cultural Investigation of Hong Kong Repertory Company's Past Practices Since 1977 (RGC-granted 2003-05) with a view to investigating a new genre of theatre. Since 1977, when the Hong Kong Repertory Company experimented with a Cantonese production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet set in ancient Chinese historical background, there has been a growing number of productions adapting, appropriating or transforming western classics, mostly Shakespeare and Greek tragedy, on the local theatre scene, characterized by a conscious and voluntary mixing of more than one performance conventions and theatre matters. These productions, having all appeared on the Hong Kong stage, range from entirely of local origin to those transplanted from China, Taiwan and inter-Asian cooperation. To name but a few, the more recent examples of this theatre Con-fusion (Peter Eckersall, et al, 11) are Chen Shi-zheng’s 1997-98 Bacchae (巴凱) , the inter-Asian production of Lear, based loosely on Shakespeare’s King Lear in 1999 by the Singaporean director, Ong Keng-Sen, Law Kar-Ying’s Cantonese operatization of Macbeth (英雄叛國) and King Lear (李廣王) in 2000 and 2002 respectively, Wu Hsing-Kuo’s Contemporary Legend Theatre’s Lear (李爾在此) in 2003 and two local productions of Medea (美狄亞,2003)and Antigone (禁葬令,2004). This kind of theatre involving more than one performing convention has established a new theatrical paradigm, that of intercultural theatre, for the purpose of reinvigoration and reinvention of theatrical tradition as well as cultural exchange. (AL04840)

  • Possibilities and Politics of Intercultural Theatre on the Contemporary Hong Kong Stage
  • LUK Yuntong Thomas, FONG Chee Fun Gilbert (Translation)

    1 September 2005
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    What I am interested in doing is first to define what is meant by intercultural theatre, and second to map out this genre on the basis of a growing number of dramatic productions in Hong Kong involving more than one dramatic convention in its mode of performance. In this case, the intercultural theatre I am talking about is usually a fusion of traditional and modern Chinese theatrical conventions and western theatrical conventions, mostly Greek and Shakespearean. However, I am not really working on Shakespearean or Greek Tragedy study in the normal sense. This new hybrid or con-fusion of theatre conventions is an intercultural theatre, that .encompasses public performances at the level of narrative content, performance aesthetics, production processes, and/or reception by an interpretive community.. (Jacqueline Lo and Helen Gilbert, p.31). It is akin but not necessarily similar to translations and adaptations of western drama already very popular on the Hong Kong stage, if we accede to the fact that drama and theatre is already in itself construed as .a constant process of translation. (Reba Gostand, 1) and intercultural theatre but varieties of theatre translations and adaptations. I believe the growing frequency of this mode of intercultural theatre in Hong Kong and elsewhere in China, Taiwan or Japan warrants a systematic, critical and theoretical investigation as a new form of theatre. (CU05684)

  • Resistance, Productive Reception and Nation Building: Drama Translation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Mainland China
  • FONG Chee Fun Gilbert ,TIAN Benxiang*, Perng Ching-hsi*
    1 May 2005
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    Translation is not just a mere transfer of linguistic material. It presents us with a site of power contestation between languages, systems, ideologies and others. One of the reasons is that translation is target-oriented, self-reflexive activities pointing to their end-users and subject to the needs of the receiving culture and its manipulations. We can identify three major factors affecting translation and its reception: the political, the economic, and the artistic. These three factors are not exclusive of one another -- in fact they often co-exist as complements or in competition, interacting among themselves in defining the make-up of the cultural transfer process and its end result.
    The present research proposes to examine the introduction and reception of foreign drama, especially Western drama, in four Chinese-speaking communities, namely, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Mainland China. First we will identify the motives and reasons, a sort of needs test, in selecting the plays for translation. Then we will try to pinpoint and the corresponding strategies, for example, foreignizing or naturalizing, acculturation or deculturation, for translating and producing the plays on stage. What follows will be a comparison among the different regions, in terms of the political, economic and artistic factors, and the impact of these factors on the reception of translated plays. With our findings we will venture into the theoretic realm, adapting and refining current Translation Studies theories such as Polysystem and post-colonialism, in an effort to offer new insights into interculturalism and cultural transfer. (AL04751)

  • Resistance, Productive Reception and the Metonymics of Translation: Drama Translation in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore
  • FONG Chee Fun Gilbert, TIAN Benxiang*, KU Vivien Huai Chun*, LIEM GS*, QUAH Sy Ren*
    1 January 2007
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    The present research proposes to study the different strategies of drama translation in four Chinese-speaking communities, namely, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore in terms of selection, faithfulness, and performance, and to consider them as reflections of local realities in their varying responses to foreign culture.
    With different histories and socio-political backgrounds and systems, each of the above-mentioned regions has evolved and adopted its own strategy of translation suitable to its needs, dictated by political power or commanded by market or aesthetic concerns. Mainland China, with its political demand for national form, prefers synthesizing the foreign with the domestic, i.e., by way of a veiled resistance. Hong Kong, being less political, is more driven by market and artistic forces. In Singapore, because of its tri-lingual make-up, drama is closely related to nationhood and language issues. And Taiwan becomes increasingly vocal with its own brand of strident regionalism, especially with the rendering of foreign plays into the Minnan dialect.
    The present research proposes to document the history and strategies used in translating foreign plays in the above mentioned regions. We plan to compile comprehensive bibliographies of translations and performances, as well as monographs studying their histories, strategies and other cultural aspects of drama translation. The study will help us acquire a better understanding of Chinese-language theatre and its development. It will also challenge established definitions of translation, provide new insights into its nature and applications, and probe into the complexity of culture transfer, proving that “in-betweenness” can be a source of inspiration and innovation. (CU06582)

  • 一代戲劇宗師鍾景輝 (Chung King Fai: Doyen of Hong Kong Theatre)
  • 方梓勳 FONG Chee Fun Gilbert
    1 January 2002
    CUHK Departmental Funding

    The book contains a biography, primary and secondary materials on the life and artistic career of Chung King Fai. (AL01755)

Research Publications

  • 《香港話劇訪談錄》,香港:香港戲劇工程,2000。
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Literature PL3032.H6 F39 2000; NA PL3032.H6 F39 2000 c.2)

  • 《香港話劇論文集》(與蔡錫昌合編),香港:中天製作有限公司,1992。
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Literature PL3119.H6H7372 c.6; NA PL3119.H6H7372; NA Special Collection PL3119.H6H7372 c.5)

  • 《香港話劇選》(與田本相合編),北京:文化藝術出版社,1994。
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Literature PL3032.H62H72 1994 c.3; NA PL3032.H62H72 1994; UL Rare Book Room PL3032.H62H72 1994 c.4)

  • 〈被殖民者的話語:初期香港話劇〉,《聯合文學》,第192 期,台北,2000.10,頁126-136。
    (CUHK Library Call No: NA Periodical PL2250.L56 no.191-194, 2000; Available Online)

  • 〈被殖民者的話語再探 - 鍾景輝與六十年代初期的香港翻譯劇〉,《貴州大學學報》,第4期,貴陽:貴州大學,2002,頁5-15。
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Periodical AS451.K828 v.20, 2002; Available Online)

  • 《新紀元的華文戲劇 : 第二屆華文戲劇節(香港, 1998)學術硏討會論文集》,香港:香港戲劇協會:香港戲劇工程,2000。
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL HK Studies PN2876.H6 H83 1998; UL Chinese Overseas Coll PN2876.H6 H83 1998 c.5; CC PN2876.H6 H83 1998 c.2)

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