Bakehouse Theatre – Studio, Mon 15 Feb
The Immigration Lottery is a brief and powerful statement about what it’s like to live in Hong Kong right now. Its citizens worry about restrictions on their basic freedoms as they move further under the umbrella of mainland China. Whatever you read and see in the media, sometimes it takes a work like this for us to really comprehend what they stand to lose.
The umbrella stands as a potent symbol of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement – it glows like a bright beacon of hope on stage and it was used as a symbol in mass street demonstrations.
The main character Jenna explores the possibility of leaving Hong Kong by playing the Immigration Lottery. A government officer grills her with a series of questions as they try to pigeon-hole her and assess her eligibility, but Jenna finds it difficult to take the questions literally and is easily side-tracked with humorous extraneous references about her life that the government is not interested in. It becomes clear that these diversions are more than naïve asides; they are clever satirical observations about the nature of the mainland government.
In the end it is not clear if Jenna has been granted her wish to leave the country. There’s a bit of a sense of Hotel California about the whole exercise: “You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.”
There’s a lot of room for interpretation here. There’s no clear and obvious narrative. Make sure you read the background notes handed out before the show.
The most powerful moment was the intense emotion on the faces of the cast at play’s end. This is no game to them; it is not just theatre. Their very freedom is at stake, and they’re genuinely wondering how long it is before such theatre will no longer be tolerated in Hong Kong.
The Immigration Lottery continues at Bakehouse Theatre – Studio from 6pm until Sat 20 Feb.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.