At the start of Tell Me When To Laugh And When To Cry, Peter Sau reminds us that it’s been a decade since the Esplanade opened. And that it’s also been a decade since Kuo Pao Kun passed away.
With so many things going on, that’s one connection that I, somehow, always keep forgetting, compartmentalising these two significant events when the link is obviously highly symbolic. In September 2002, KPK passed away. A month later, the Esplanade’s opening ushered a new phase in the local arts landscape.
But at the same time, Sau’s one-man performance proves that it needn’t be seen as a passing of an era. Despite minimal reference to a KPK play (making it, on the surface, one of the most unusual works at the ongoing KPK fest’s line-up), what makes Tell Me When To Laugh a wonderful homage to the late theatre doyen is that you have an actor who has created a new work inspired by the very ideals that his mentor stood for and consciously frames it within an artistic practice that is still ongoing.