Festival Opening Program

Interrupted Dream
Zuni Icosahedron

Fri–Sat 16–17 September 2022, 19:00
Bakery, the Grotowski Institute
Tickets: 44/55 PLN
Languages: Cantonese with Polish and English captions

On 17th September the show will be followed by a discussion with the director hosted by PhD Maciej Szatkowski;

On 24th September the show will be followed by a discussion with the director hosted by PhD Maciej Szatkowski;

Sat-Sun 24-25 September 2022, 19.00
The Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre
Languages: Cantonese with Polish and English captions

Interrupted Dream explores disrupted historical records in a museum. Audience are introduced to the lush reality of The Interrupted Dream, experiencing how the East and the West mirror and interact with each other. Developed from the section In Praise of the Portrait of the kunqu (opera) Peony Pavilion created during the Ming dynasty era, Interrupted Dream seeks inspiration from looking at a ‘portrait’ out of the frame/context. It examines history by experimenting with the migration of a painted portrait into the forms of the photograph, film and reality TV. This serves the creators to explore how theatre can be a framework and vehicle of communication in order to reflect on how the notion of theatre is challenged by the ever-available public space/media with the aid of current technology.

Since 2018, Yung has been developing new editions of the Interrupted Dream series in different spaces every year. It is comparable to creating site-specific installation work as well. So specific that the content of each new edition of The Interrupted Dream theatre play contributed by different artists and collaborators, the venue, cultural and social contexts, brings forth independent yet inter-related works in this series.  Eternity lies on the dawning moment waking up from a dream.  Theatre (-making) is an exit for those fatalistic dreamers.Over the years, Yung iterates the idea of Chinese characters as ideograms, and the rooms for interpretation in translation inspired him to various experiments of sound and sight. Deconstructing these ideograms with dialectics reflects his understanding and imagination of our time and situation. That becomes the footnotes to the notion of cultural exchange.

Between 2018 and 2022, five new yet inter-related editions of The Interrupted Dream combined constituted a theme of "Theatre is a dream" with variations.  Without leaving the back garden where those dreams popped up and the idea of "Theatre is a dream", the eternal discourse between theatre-making and the stories in and out of the theatre is manifested.

The Interrupted Dream is about the disrupted historical records in a museum. Danny Yung the director, a pioneer of cross-cultural experimental theatre practice, imagines the wake of Chinoiserie at the Palace of Versailles in the 17th century through the setting of a museum.  Audiences are introduced to the lustful reality of The Interrupted Dream, experiencing how the East and the West mirror and interact with each other. The Interrupted Dream is developed from the excerpt In Praise of the Portrait of the kunqu (opera) Peony Pavilion created in Ming dynasty and, aiming at getting inspired by looking at a "portrait" out of the frame/context. What is different is that, today, we are trying to examine the history by experimenting with the migration of a painted portrait into the forms of "photo", "film" and "reality TV". That is to explore and evaluate how theatre being a framework and the vehicle of communications, so as to reflect on how the notion of theatre being challenged by the ever-available public space/media with the aid of current technology.

Seemingly, the portrait used in the Peony Pavilion metaphors idol worship, while our simile is to discuss the virtuality and the realness of the media in a theatre play. The director says: “The Return of Soul at the Peony Pavilion, written by dramatist Tang Xianzu in 1598, included Scene 10 - Interrupted Dream. The scene provided us significant rooms for imagination and the vicissitudes of life presented in and outside the theatre. Among the variety of symbols and narratives, we went with the flow to look for individual and collective imaginative space. Peony Pavilion was banned several times 450 years back. Every time it was restaged, it turned into even more indulged and plaintively showy.

Now, all of us, please look at this theatre, look at its confines and taboos, and attend to the way we see and be seen in The Interrupted Dream. The Interrupted Dream was initially conceptualized by Asian artists from different performing art backgrounds, this production epitomizes a cultural exchange among Asian cultures, and a meeting between traditional and contemporary theatre.  The performance premiered at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in 2018, and then was invited for touring and cultural exchanges in Singapore and Indonesia in 2019. 

The eight scenes of Interrupted Dream (2022 version)

Scene 1. Performers on stage are watching the closing scene of the performance. Here they play the role of audience.

Scene 2. Performers resume their roles in the performance of the Interrupted Dream - a chapter from the kunqu play Peony Pavilion of Ming Dynasty (circa 1598). The chapter is about the death, caused by love sickness, of a young lady. The location is her back garden. And all the fictional characters surrounding the death included: The mortician, the ghost, the moaner, the priests and stagehands.

Scene 3. We see a female go under the table and a male lying on the floor locked up by a chair on top. The story is revealed in the setup of the One Table and Two Chairs which is the everlasting stage setting of Chinese theatre in history.  It is said that otherworldly spirit with a mask on is coming from a distant culture and time zone to visit the deceased. Stagehands on- and off-stage reminding us this is only a theatre stage where the scenes keep changing constantly.  The back garden is forever the locale of desperate anxieties from taboos of love. 

Scene 4. The chair on stage is to lock up the protagonists while the table is to shelter the dissidents running from love. The masked spirit stomps the stage while the filled backdrop is bombarded and haunted by ideograms , similar to Chinese characters.

Scene 5. The back garden has become a mirror of the theatre. The mirror reflected on life and death, on the past and future, on true and false, on wind and rain, on dream and reality…

Scene 6  As if it was  a midsummer night's dream, relationships and roles are shuffled non-stop, so are the table and chairs. No one is the lead and no one is the hero. Yet everyone is arriving for hero’s advent.

Scene 7. The protagonist is finally offered a face mask and is reminded that theatre has no boundaries when one puts on the mask, in contrast to public performances which are full of illusions and boundaries. 

Scene 8.  When performers and audience members all listen quietly to the fifth symphony by Beethoven in praise of heroes, heroes are those willing to cross the boundaries and… heroes are never happy to be framed by the stage.


Danny Yung is an experimental art pioneer and one of Hong Kong’s most influential artists. He is a founding member and co-artistic director of Zuni Icosahedron. In the past 40 years, Yung has been working extensively in diverse fields of arts, including theatre, cartoon, film, video as well as visual and installation art.

In the span of his 50-year artistic profession, Yung has been involved in over 100 theatre productions as director, scriptwriter, producer and/or stage designer. His theatre works were staged in multiple cities across the world, including Tokyo, Yokohama, Toga, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Shanghai, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Brussels, Berlin, Munich, Hannover, London, Lisbon, Rotterdam, Dubai and New York. In 2008, commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, he created Tears of the Barren Hill, a theatre work reflecting on the innovation of traditional Chinese theatre and the institution of cultural exchange, which earned him the Music Theatre NOW Award of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). In 2010, at the Shanghai Expo, Yung, in collaboration with the renowned Japanese theatre director Makoto Sato, showed The Tale of the Crested Ibis, a cultural exchange project which combined, for the first time, elements of noh and kun theatres as well as traditional arts and cutting-edge (robot) technology. The annual Toki Festival, curated by Yung since 2012, develops the concept of the Crested Ibis, or Toki, in an effort to enrich young kun performers’ experience and promote exchanges between contemporary and traditional performing arts in Asian regions.

Yung is among the pioneers of Hong Kong’s experimental film and video. His short films, videos and installations have been shown in Berlin, New York, London, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Hong Kong since 1980s. His Tian Tian Xiang Shang conceptual comics, figurines and sculptures have been exhibited in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Taipei, Singapore, Ann Arbor, Paris, Milan, Washington DC, Seattle, Toronto and Mexican City. Yung’s TTXS flower plaque installation at the National Mall, DC Washington, was the biggest installation art work ever-built and commissioned by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

The artist keeps a close eye on the arts and cultural policy and on education development in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region. He currently serves as chairman of the Hong Kong–Taipei–Shenzhen–Shanghai City-to-City Cultural Exchange Conference and a member of the Design Council of Hong Kong. He was also appointed the inaugural Dean’s Master Artist in Drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2013, and he serves on the Management Board of the HKICC Lee ShauKee School of Creativity and the advisory boards of the Department of Cultural Studies of Hong Kong’s Lingnan University and the School of Drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

In 2009, Yung was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his achievements and contributions to cultural exchanges between Germany and Hong Kong. .   In 2014, Yung was awarded the Fukuoka Prize (Arts and Culture).  In 2022, Yung accepted the Award for Outstanding Contribution in Arts presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Founded in 1982, Zuni Icosahedron is the epitome of Hong Kong’s experimental theatre. A Hong Kong-based international experimental performing arts company, Zuni is a non-profit charitable cultural organization. It is one of the nine major professional performing arts companies in Hong Kong directly supported by the government, and a venue partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre since 2009. As a premier experimental art company, Zuni has produced more than 200 original theatre and multimedia productions and has been invited to more than 80 cities around the globe as part of cultural exchange and to stage performances. With the support of its members and under the joint leadership of its Co-Artistic Directors, Danny Yung and Mathias Woo, Zuni has been active in art tech, video, sound experimentation and installation arts, as well as in the area of arts education, arts criticism, cultural policy research and international conferences and cultural exchanges. Over the last two decades, Zuni has been pursuing the mission of developing and preserving Intangible Cultural Heritages (Performing Arts).


Artistic Director, Director and Designer

Danny YUNG

Assistant Artistic Director and Deputy Director

CHAN Ho Fung Cedric

Associate Director

LIU Xiaoyi (Singapore/Jieyang)

Guest Performer

XIAO Xiangping (Stockholm/Suzhou)


CHOY Yu Tin Martin, CHUK Yin Man, KONG Ching Yung Ellen, KWOK Hoi Ying Helen, TSE Ho Dan

Original Music

Steve HUI aka Nerve


WOO Hoi Hon Benny , NG Cho Yin Thomas

Audio Design

CHUNG Fong Ting Soloan

Lighting Design

LO Sio Wa Adonic

Costume Design

CHENG Yun Lien Twinny, LO Sing-chin

Stage Manager

CHENG Wai Ying Carmen

Rehearsal Master

KONG Ching Yung Ellen

Creative Coordinator

TSE Ho Dan

Production Coordinator

CHENG Kwok Ching Ricky

Assistant Stage Manager

HUI Ngo Kwan Grace





Running time

90 min

Interrupted Dream - Festival Opening Program
is supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin

Zuni Icosahedron is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Zuni Icosahedron is a venue partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre