Actor says love is difficult for queers as it is for straights
BY GOOSIE CHAN
In theatre or reality, Mr Joey Leung Cho-yiu is happy to be gay, not as a gimmick but to tell a true love story. As one of Hong Kong’s best-known theatre actor, the 34-year-old has starred gay in many of his previous productions such as “Queer Show” (2004) , “Butterfly Lovers” (2005) and “Love Dies Slowly, Naturally and Silently” (2009) .
The openly gay actor says he wants to talk about difficult love because samesex relationships are under social stress and often need to be hidden from friends and families.
“Love between a man and a woman is easy. There is no Romeo and Juliet in the society,” says Mr Leung.
“But homosexuality is difficult. Samesex couples dare not make their secrets public, at least, not in the office.”
To him, being gay on stage is an ideal way to voice out for the city’s homosexual community, which he says has received little care from the public.
“Through stories about same-sex hardship, I want to tell how strong and determined our love could be,” he says.
“Queer Show” is a one-man play about problems queer face and won him the “Best Leading Comedy Actor” (2005) and the “Most Impressive Actor in 20 Years” (2011) at the Hong Kong Drama Awards, organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies.
The award-winning gay-culture comedy was run four times in two years. It was a hit with office ladies and, unexpectedly, straights too.
“It is hard to predict the target audience of every play. Sometimes you may get it wrong,” says Mr Leung. “At first the target audience of ‘Queer Show’ was gays and lesbians. But there were more and more office ladies watching. And many even came with their boyfriends.”
Mr Leung always wants to play different roles. He is never afraid of being labelled a gay-role actor only by acting gay so often.
“No one could label you as anything if you don’t label yourself. As long as it is a good play and a challenging role, I will take the chance to act no matter it is related to what.”
His acting break came by chance 15 years ago. Having just completed his Alevels, he was invited to play a role in a stage show. The director was impressed and suggested he apply for a place at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, which accepted him.
He developed a passion for acting because he got to experience the lives of different people.
“Stories we play are all about life. Without life, there is no story to tell,” says Mr Leung.
He explains that a convincing character has lots of dimensions and is realistic. As a good actor, he could be extremely introverted sometimes, but outgoing at other times.
“If you could not understand the dimensions of a role, you were acting yourself only,” says Mr Leung.
But the award-winning actor never feels his performance is perfect.
“If an actor thought he made a perfect performance, he is over,” he says.
“When you take your career seriously, every moment would be challenging. I just try my best sincerely in every play.”
EDITED BY ALAN KWOK