Newsletter August 2018
Dates for your Diary!
The Play’s the Thing
The next ESU/Fringe Play-Reading will be held on Tuesday, 21st August 2018. Time: 7.30-9.30pm at “Colette’s”, 2/F, The HK Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, HK.
The play this time :
by AGATHA CHRISTIE
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR OUR ENGLISH-IN-ACTION PROGRAMME
Volunteers are still needed urgently for our “English-in-Action” Programme. YES! You will surely want to improve your Putonghua (your Cantonese is already very good), but you may feel that you would also like to brush up your English. In this programme, small groups of three or four participants meet with ESU volunteers for four one-hour sessions at venues to be agreed between the volunteer leader and you, or at coffee shops. These sessions provide opportunities for practicing conversational English in a relaxed atmosphere with one of our volunteers.
A group is now meeting on Wednesdays, 7-8pm in Kowloon Tong.
Please contact ESU Office at 6903-2639 if you believe that you can help as discussion leader in future groups.
(Fee for ESU Members: HK$350 for four one-hour sessions.
An additional HK$150 for non-members as registration fee for this programme for one year.)
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION
A new British General Election will be held in June 2017 and much of the British media expects the Conservative Party to win with a very sizeable majority. Perhaps of more immediate interest to Hong Kong are the experiences of two Public Speaking candidates in London. Ms. Jane Easton (the Director-General of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth) wrote in an introduction to the Competition for newcomers: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the English-Speaking Union's International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in 2017. Now the largest public speaking competition in the world, the IPSC involves 40,000 students in over 50 countries. Not only does the Competition provide students with an opportunity to develop the vital skills that will enable them to speak with confidence in public, but through the International Final in London, students from around the world have the opportunity to meet, engage with and form friendships and understanding that will last a lifetime.”
READING PROGRAMME ACCEPTED BY “SCOLAR”
It is gratifying to report that the ESU has been asked by the Government (SCOLAR) to submit an "English in Action" programme for secondary and primary schools in the 2017/18 and 2018/2019 school years. The programme will be offered to both primary and secondary school students. In Primary schools, the ESU team will focus on the age group, 6 to 9 years and will suggest that, with close home-school cooperation, progress can be made in improving children’s reading literacy in English. At the secondary level, the programme will focus on the three compulsory strands, Interpersonal, Knowledge and Experience, and students will be helped to master Listening, Speaking and Writing skills in, for example, “Learning English through Drama”.
If you would like to brush up your English, this is a very good way to do it. Four participants meet with an ESU volunteer for four one-hour sessions at a venue to be agreed between the volunteer leader and you, or at a suitable coffee shop, away from the barriers. The charge is: ESU Members: HK$350 for four one-hour sessions.
An additional HK$150 for non-members as registration fee for this programme will be payable for one year. We are in need of a discussion leader for Tuesdays, 7-8pm. Please contact ESU Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to help.
MEET AT THE ESU
Mr Adam Forrester, Lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will speak from 6.45pm-8pm on the topic, “Creating an Educational Video in 8 Steps.” Members are cordially invited to attend and arm themselves with questions about this fascinating topic.
Venue: Unit 707, AXA Centre, 151 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Ms. Caithin Feenstra will be the speaker on Monday, 8 June. Her topic will be announced.
THE PLAY'S THE THING
The Play this time:
by AGATHA CHRISTIE
The Mousetrap, while certainly not the greatest literary example of dramatic theatre ever written, is without doubt the most famous ‘whodunnit’ in the English language. Running continuously for over 60 years, Agatha Christie’s play broke records in London’s West End and established her as a playwright, in addition to a novelist, in the public eye. Since its debut in 1952 it has become the longest running play in the history of the West End with the 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012. The 25,000th performance was marked with a one-off star studded performance, introduced by Christie's grandson Mathew Prichard and featuring Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters and Miranda Hart. The performance accompanied the unveiling of the Agatha Christie memorial statue in Leicester Square, which commemorated her great works and her contributions to the theatre.
The story was adapted from a radio play entitled Three Blind Mice, written for the then Queen Mary in 1947 and a subsequent short story. It was Agatha Christie’s son-in-law, Anthony Hicks who suggested a new title that refers to the so-called ‘Mousetrap’ scene in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In this scene Hamlet cryptically refers to the play depicting the murder of the king, as ‘The Mousetrap’, in order to “catch the conscience of the King”. One actor has been included in every performance since the opening night in 1952 - Deryck Guyler, whose voice recording reads the radio news bulletin in every show at St Martin’s Theatre. In 1954 the play was one of three Christie's running simultaneously in London’s West End, a feat that Agatha Christie was the first female playwright to achieve. In 1997 The Mousetrap Theatre Projects initiative was launched, a charity which helps young people experience London’s theatre, and to which the money from the 25,000th performance was donated. Unlike, say Murder on the Orient Express, no film adaptation will be permitted until the play has finished its run - so we’re still waiting!
A group of strangers, of them a murderer, is stranded in a boarding house called Monkswell Manor during a severe snow-storm. The suspects include a young newly-married couple who run the boarding house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck what appears a perfect marriage. The others are a an elder with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired army major, a strange man who claims his car overturned in a snowdrift, and a retired lady magistrate. A policeman arrives on skis, the roads being impassible due to the heavy snow, and shortly afterwards the ex-magistrate is murdered. According to the killer’s ‘three blind mice’ hint, there appear to be two further victims in her/his sights. The policeman questions all the guests closely about their background as the tension and fear among the surviving guests and the couple who run the boarding house increases dramatically. His interrogation uncovers various secrets and skeletons in the closet among all of the group. There is a convention that the play’s final plot twist is not supposed to be revealed to others by playgoers who attend performances. My own mother - a big fan of Agatha Christie whodunnits - fell asleep during Act One, and, on waking at the end of the first scene, tried to guess the identity of the murderer before any murder had actually been committed. Hairdressing was wasted on her as a job, I informed her, she ought to have been a sleuth (detective). The reply to her 35-year old son (me) at the time was “Don’t you be so cheeky!
ALL are welcome.
Facilitator: Prof. Mike Ingham
Come an enjoy the play as a reading. All welcome. There is no need to read if you don't wish to. If you prefer, you are welcome just to listen. However, all who wish to read will have the opportunity to do so.