HK actor Anthony Wong as a bickering parent

God Of Carnage stars (from left) Poon Chan Leung, Anthony Wong, Louisa So and Olivia Yan.
God Of Carnage stars (from left) Poon Chan Leung, Anthony Wong, Louisa So and Olivia Yan.PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

Hong Kong film veteran and Golden Horse Award winner Anthony Wong is known for playing psychotic villains on screen, but his latest role is something altogether different: a parent in a contemporary Broadway play.

The 54-year-old is starring in acclaimed French playwright Yasmina Reza’s 2006 Tony award-winning black comedy God Of Carnage, which is part of the Esplanade’s Huayi– Chinese Festival of Arts this year. The production is a Cantonese adaptation of the French original.

Wong, an acting graduate from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, set up Dionysus Contemporary Theatre in 2013. Both he and theatre practitioner Olivia Yan, also in this production, are its co-artistic directors.

The company started off doing translated plays. Its first production was a 2014 re-staging of Peter Shaffer’s play Equus, a drama about a boy obsessed with horses, which starred Wong and Chinese pop singer Hins Cheung.

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In God Of Carnage, two couples meet to resolve a playground fight between their children, but end up bickering themselves.

The first couple is played by Wong and Louisa So. Comedy queen Sandra Ng played So’s character in the original staging in Hong Kong in August, but she will not be travelling to Singapore.

The second couple will be played by Poon Chan Leung, a veteran Hong Kong stage actor, and Yan, who is also directing the show.

She says the adaptation downplays the production’s time period and geographical setting as it was not possible to replicate the French backdrop wholesale.

Yan says the company will continue to focus on translated scripts.

She says: “We do have good original works in Hong Kong occasionally, but the quality is mixed. Western theatre has many well-structured classic scripts with precise texts.

“If we stage a translated work and can handle the background settings well,we reap the benefits of it.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'HK actor Anthony Wong as a bickering parent'. Print Edition | Subscribe