22 Mar, 2024 (Fri)

Book Club Talk at Town Centre
Bhagavad Gita: Yoga wisdom for all (薄伽梵歌:屬於所有人的瑜伽智慧)


Lecture Theatre, Unit A, 1/F, Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Central

Speaker: Tang Shu-wing

Moderator: Jayang Jhaveri
Language: English


Bhagavad Gita is a chapter in the great Indian epic Mahabharata which tells the story of the Kurukshetra war between the two cousins Kauravas and Pandavas fighting for the throne of their kingdom about 3000 years BCE. The themes the epic covers are so vast and universal that many say, “Things you find here can be found elsewhere.” Bhagavad Gita is the dialogues between the Vishnu-incarnated Krishna and the Pandava warrior Arjuna before the war begins. Arjuna feels depressed because all his adversaries are his relatives and teacher. By killing them he commits the same crime as they did. Krishna, now acting as Arjuna’s charioteer, gives him a lesson by revealing the fundamental principles of Yoga, i.e., Karma, Bhakti and Jnana and the nature of the three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas). Not only is it excellent literature, but also a profound philosophical elaboration on human existence and a self-reflective weapon for personal advancement. Arjuna becomes enlightened and decides to fight. The Pandavas finally win the war. Years after, they give up their kingdom and obtain final spiritual liberation in the Himalayas. Tang Shu-wing, after a long study and enquiry, puts this incredible text on stage in last June which, in the words of many, turned out to be one of the most thought-provoking theatre pieces in 2023. In this talk, he will share his experience in reading the text, meditating on its essence, and creating a form which best serves his vision.

Biography of the speaker

Artistic Director of Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio and former Dean of the School of Drama of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), Tang Shu-wing is regarded as one of the most influential theatre directors in Hong Kong. Graduated from the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris with a Master Degree in Theatre Studies, he also received actor training at l‘Ecole de la Belle de Mai. His “Physical Theatre Youth Training Programme” has become an important platform for nurturing the young. His Studio has been named an “Eminent Arts Group” by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) since 2019 (www.tswtheatre.com). “Minimalist aesthetics and the Body” that Tang advocated has become a brand of theatre-making and is fully elaborated in his new book “The Three Levels of ABC”. He is one of the very few HK directors possessing a wide range of repertories covering spoken drama, non-verbal theatre, dance and opera. His signature works such as Titus Andronicus, Titus Andronicus 2.0, Macbeth, Detention, Thunderstorm, King Lear and Bhagavad Gita are highly appreciated by the international theatre community. His major awards include the Medal of Honour by the HKSAR, the Award for Outstanding Contribution in Arts by HKADC, Honorary Doctorate by the HKAPA, Three times Best Director in the Hong Kong Drama Awards, the Director of the Year in IATC (HK) Critics Awards 2021, l’Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, Excellence Award by the Undercloud Festival of Romania, and “Arts & Culture” Award of the Grand Prix France Hong Kong 2022.