<< BE WATER , MY FRIEND . >>
Prague Quadrennial 2023
Be Water, My Friend.
By Theatre du Poulet & Greta Katharina Klein & Levin Eichert
Co-creators and Co-directors: Carmen Lee, Roland Chun Shing Au, Greta Katharina Klein, Levin Eichert
2023 : Prague Quadrennial, Prague, Czech Republic
2022 : DISKURS Festival, Giessen, Germany
2022 : DAMU, Prague, Czech Republic
Until 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Great Britain as a colony with a mostly democratic system but then was returned to China. Under the "one country, two systems" arrangement, Hong Kong stayed autonomous to a certain extent, and its people kept their former rights. With the plans of extradition to mainland China Hong Kong's protests in June 2019 started. The protesters feared the loss of judicial independence and the freedom of speech. Demonstrations expanded. Nowadays the protesters demand a full democracy and an inquiry into police actions.
“Be Water, My Friend” is dealing with the beauty of humanity experienced by protesters, among them the artists Carmen Lee and Chun Shing Roland Au, during the Hong Kong protests in 2019. The performance focuses on the protestors, their goals, strategies, inner struggles and most importantly their coherency and resistance. It deals with these topics not only content wize, but also in a structural way, guided by the protesting strategies we developed the aesthetics for the project.
The audience is invited to a participatory walk through the city exploring water as a material. In 2019 the protesters used water to describe protesting strategies. The metaphor of water in Hong Kong protests was inspired by Bruce Lee, the Hong Kong martial artist and philosopher.
"Be Water, My Friend.
Empty your mind.
Be formless, shapeless, like water.
You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.
You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or it can crash.
Be water, my friend."
- Bruce Lee -
The protesters adapted Bruce Lee's “Be Water”'s philosophy.
“Be Strong like Ice when confronting the police.
Be fluid like water on the streets.
Gather like dew when organizing protests.
Scatter like mist to avoid arrest and be able to fight for another day.”
- Protesters -
The performance not only asks the audience to re-imagine what has happened in Hong Kong but connects these experiences to a wider context of protests.