Danny Yung’s Archive of Zuni’s Experimental Theatre Restructuring Images Series

The Trial 2021

20/11 (Sat)

Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Danny Yung’s Archive of Zuni’s Experimental Theatre Restructuring Images Series

The Trial 2021

“It was the first time I listened to the music of my choice interacting with various elements on stage. Then I have turned into a participant from an audience member.”

Steve Hui (aka Nerve)

“Every time I worked with Danny Yung, it always ended up, surprisingly, like seeing myself through the mirror.”

Benny Woo


Steve Hui (aka Nerve) and Benny Woo are Danny Yung’s long-term sound and video design partners. This year, they will re-construct Danny’s classic work, The Trial (1994) into The Trial 2021. With a huge gap of 27 years in between, since Steve first designed sound for Danny’s The Trial and Benny joined Zuni in the millennium to begin his creative journey, The Trial 2021 is an audio-visual manifesto made tribute not only to Danny, but, to the experimental spirits and practices in theatre-making that includes various processes of searching, reading, reacting, deconstructing, critiquing and trialing on sound and visual creations.


The Trial 2021 is the latest production of Danny Yung’s Archive of Zuni’s Experimental Theatre Restructuring Images Series. “Zuni Experimental Theatre Arts Archive: Danny Yung” collected and edited precious documents from Danny Yung’s experimental theatre productions from 1978; in the Restructuring Image Series, Zuni Icosahedron invites young or experienced artists of different art forms to recreate Danny Yung’s works.

  • Creative Team


    • Artistic Director & Curator

      Danny Yung

    • Directors

      Steve Hui (aka Nerve)Benny Woo

    • Live Performers

      Liu XiaoyiSteve Hui (aka Nerve)

  • Steve Hui’s notes (Pre-Trial)




    In Tat Ming Pair’s “Do you still love me” album,
    a postcard is enclosed. The face of the postcard is a photo of a courtroom in Hong Kong. On the back, it says “The Decameron… N x Moral Stories“. At the age of 14, I have never come across such a sentence. What does it mean? What does it have to do with a courtroom in the photo? I decided to go to the theatre to watch a performance for the first time.



    The Seventh Year of One Hundred Years of Solitude — Mirage” was the second time I attended Zuni’s performance. I had no clue about the content or the storyline. I could not even be sure if I understood what I had seen in the performance. Parts of the happenings on stage kept repeating while other parts went on their ways. I realised the arrangements and rhythms in various theatrical elements unfolding layer by layer on stage, aren’t they the visible structures one can find in electronic music? That was a huge revelation to me.




    Co-organised by Zuni and Hong Kong Arts Centre, I participated in a recording workshop where I came into my ever first contact with multi-track recording technology. This particular feature and logic presented to me was totally different from what I have learned in painting which was my favourite interest at the time. I was inspired to open up myself for diversity. I’ve tried to imagine the different tracks of development in a movie into multiple sound tracks. At the end of the workshop, my instructor Pan Tak-shu invited me to volunteer at the backstage of Zuni’s theatre. I was responsible for organising and preparing sound materials for the performance of The Trial and assisting in sound operation of the show.




    During the rehearsal, director Danny Yung asked me: “What sound would you play in this scene?” I recommended a piece of electronic dance music, Public Energy – Three o Three. Danny Yung said, “Why not, let’s try?” Eventually, this music I selected was used in the performance. It was the first time that the music of my choice was used in a theatre performance. It was integrated and interacted with various elements used, among them included a particular dialogue line, “Take it slow! Relax!” With this mixing, new chemistry and new meanings evolved.

  • Benny Woo’s notes (Pre-Trial)


    Table and Chairs


    In 2002, I participated for the first time in a theatre performance, Sigmund Freud in Search of Chinese Matters & Mind, directed by Danny Yung. There were a table and two chairs on the stage, with Wagner’s music playing, an actor and I took up the role of a “stagehand” , lifting up the red cloth covering the table and chairs, re-positioning the table and chairs on the stage several times. There is also a small stage (a platform) on the stage, pieces of hanging scenery boards moving up and down, a screen made of mirror, a naked man, a number of monologues while Kunqu maestro Shi Xiaomei performed repeatedly the In Praise of the Portrait of Peony Pavilion on the small stage with a backdrop of an orchestrated choreography of music, video, and stage installation. I saw the changes on stage interacting with the sound, I came to realise the differences between what I was watching on this stage and on TV or film in terms of narrative structure. Multimedia theatre is more than just a trick of technology and visual sensation combined. Every element on the stage is telling stories at different levels, when the combination of these elements changed, it is like a commentary on each other that created a 3-dimensional landscape transcended ontological physical, historical, and cultural reading experiences.



    Lines and frames


    Lines and frames are symbols that we often borrow. In the “Tears of Barren Hill” in 2008, John Wong the video designer placed a red line running through the whole performance. It took one minute for the red line to run across the backdrop, with a designed gap cutting the backdrop into two, slashing at the idea of “crossover” and its many possibilities. Once the confines of the frames are defined that allows challenges of the bottomline.


    Later, I started to work as a creative coordinator and projection images designer for Danny’s performances. Danny often said that we need to define various frame/frameworks in our experimentations. The frames that created by the video projection is a way to examine the confines of theatre, technology, system, vision and ourselves.


    Repetition and Deconstruction/Tradition and Contemporary


    From 2009 to 2017, the Flee by Night toured to a dozen of cities, Kunqu maestro KE Jun and his student YANG Yang performed the excerpt from The Story of a Sword again and again. In 2007 and 2008, we went to Nanjing to develop new performances with them, generating a dialogue between traditional training and contemporary forms. Each hand gesture, body movement and costume carries their own stories and history. Strenuous training over the years reminds the question of the practice of passing down the traditions. Either on-stage or off-stage, in or out of the theatre, performance is not merely made for the audience but a journey of sending oneself into a trial of each performer like what YANG Yang did. The stagehand comes on and off the stage actually witnessing everything in a performance and the history of theatre development, as well as the shifts of power play and the positions changed. Wouldn’t it be a reflective monologue by every theatre practitioners as well as Lin Chong in “Flee by Night”.


    Space, lighting, and video


    In 2010, the “Stage Sisters” directed by Danny, reversed the basic setup of a theatre, letting audience members sit on the stage behind the fire gate. Through this reversed arrangement, the audience auditorium could be seen as a set or a backdrop. A company of Xiqu actresses who spent most of their lives on the stage sat on chairs lined up in a semicircle towards the audience. The space has instantly turned into a character telling its own stories, and a vessel contains countless memories and events. Video as a documentation medium, projection as light source; I tried to make video projection as a light source and making sense out of the fluid shadow created virtually – the shadow of a chair on the stage, the light and shadow of the rows of windows projected when a train passes by, the shadows running into the room through the window captured by the shift of sunshine over the time, the shadow of the hanging bars going up and down above the stage floor.


    Idleness on Parade: position and direction


    Legend has it, there is nothing more than having people walking and standing on the stage in Danny’s theatre performances. When I watched Danny’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” on a video playback, and later participated in the tenth edition of this series of repertoire in 2011, the term “Mise-en-scene” used in movies and the nonlinear narrative structure combined came to my mind. The performers’ movement vocabulary and sequence are like this: read the palm, finger pointing, hear the ground, walk forward, hand on the chest. There is nothing difficult to understand, positioning oneself, choosing a direction, which is a very important way of thinking that many people forget. A chair is placed on the stage, it can be on the side of the stage, or in the centre; it can be an answer for power, or a killing issue. We looked at the chair, looking at the space of the stage through the roles to be sitting or had sat on the chair, the drastic changes of the characters reminds us of the multi-faceted reality in and out of the stage. Every time I worked with Danny, unpredictably, always like seeing yourself through a mirror at the end.

  • Ending into the well - “A Perfect Ending of Kafka's The Trial” by Danny Yung


    (The Trial (1994) post script from director)


    We see a desk in the centre of the stage from off-stage. We see old people standing behind the desk wearing long faces delivering orders through starry eyes. We see children playing, giggling, hitting-and-running under the desk. we see an empty desk standing all by itself in a position drawing all the attention. Typically enough, it is the pre- and post- trial prototype. After all it is just an aftermath, it is just a performance.

    We find some tables in a dusty warehouse. Different stories embossed with the traces of power, games, struggles and wind from East/West. We put the tables together to form a stage. We suddenly hit on the table and jump on it. Overlapping on the skeleton of power, game and history. We histrionically sing an opera. The whole thing is like a mirage.


    We put packs and packs of illusions into a fully mirror-furnished well. The jury starts reading programme notes. Through the grids, images multiply itself infinitely where self-examination, self-criticisms, self-defence and self-discipline lose gravity and out of focus then turn into self-indulgence, self-defeat, self-pity and self-jeer. at the bottom of the well, we see no sky. We drown ourselves by remaining seated at the well bottom. It is not about being sarcastic or pampering in anyway. It is a trial without Kafka.

  • Ticketing


    Full Fare: $180 | Student Ticket: $100

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  • Team


    Producer and Assistant Artistic Director: Cedric Chan
    Music Designer: Steve Hui (aka Nerve)
    Visual Designer: Benny Woo
    Lighting Designer: Adonic Lo
    Sound Designer: Can. Ha


    Production & Technical Manager: Chow Chun-yin
    Stage Manager: Satina Shum
    Deputy Stage Manager: Zeta Chan
    Assistant Stage Managers: Onki Chan, Megan Hung
    Video Operator: Johnny Sze
    Wardrobe Assistant: Bonnie Chan
    Stage Crews: Chim Man-lung, Christopher Wong
    Backstage Interns: Angela Lui, Winter Yung

    Season 2021 Key Visual Design: Lee Ken-tsai
    Photography (Stage photo): Franz Lai, Carol Mak ​, Vic Shing
    Translation: Wu Zong Lun


    Artistic and Administration Team


    Co-Artistic Director: Danny Yung
    Co-Artistic Director cum Executive Director: Mathias Woo
    International Exchange Director/ Producer: Wong Yuewai
    Company Manager (Administration and Finance): Jacky Chan
    Company Manager (Programme): Doris Kan
    Senior Researcher & Workshop Instructor: Theresa Leung
    Artist-in-Residence: Lai Tat Wing
    Residence Performers: David Yeung, Carson Chung, Luka Wong
    Creative Coordinator: Charmaine Cheng
    Senior Programme Manager: Bowie Chow
    Programme Manager: Ho Yin-hei
    Assistant Programme Manager: Ricky Cheng
    Programme and Art Administration Trainees: Stephy Yeung, Krystel Yu
    Publicity Assistant: Seamus Li

  • Academic Partners


  • Technical Partners


    C’est Bon Projects Corporation Limited

    Total Streaming

  • Terms and Conditions


    • Running time approximately 60 minutes with no intermission
    • Children under 6 years old will not be admitted
    • No latecomers will be admitted, until a suitable break in the performance.
    • In line with disease prevention and control measures, and to ensure the safety of the public, audience and staff members, hygiene measures are enhanced at performance venues. Entrance guideline and special seat arrangement might adjust according to the latest situation, please pay attention to the latest update. We appologise for any inconvenience caused.
    • Zuni Icosahedron reserves the right to add, withdraw or substitute artists, vary advertised programmes, and/or terminate the programme without prior notice.