Year


2019 - 2024

Client


Playwrights Canada Press

Focus


Book Illustration



Credits


Art direction: Blake Sproule


Background


Illustrations for a series of screenplays produced and written by Jeff Ho Ka Kei.

 


Cockroach 曱甴 (2023)


You can call him Cockroach, or Roach for short. He’s a catnip-smoking city slicker living in the dark corners of our homes. A bard (yes, that one) longs for rest as he contends with his legacy. In their crosshairs lies a boy, caught in their collision of linguistics, longing, and lobsters (who sometimes burp). A unique exploration of survival and the dynamics of language erosion, cockroach (曱甴) is a coming-of-age play about the stories we tell ourselves to comfort, to persevere, to resist, to overcome, and to be.

trace (2019)


An elegant and sweeping story of a Chinese family’s history, trace follows the footsteps of four generations as their homes and identities are challenged. Jeff Ho brings life to his great grandmother, grandmother, and mother through considerate storytelling as they recount their pasts, leading to a paralleled present.

Great Grandmother fled the Japanese during World War II by escaping China into Hong Kong, a traumatic event that’s rippled down the family line. Grandmother married into the family after a childhood of poverty that will always stay with her. Mother decided to leave Hong Kong for Canada with her two sons, pursuing more opportunities, though dissatisfied with her son’s desire to focus on the piano rather than math. Though pain is a constant, there are plenty of wisecracks, games of mah jong, and familiar family anecdotes swirling through Ho’s genealogical journey of survival.

Iphigenia and the Furies (On

Taurian Land) & Antigone: 方

(2022)


From the author of trace comes two adaptations that transport mythological stories from Ancient Greece to modern-day civilizations. Led by people of colour, these darkly comedic plays depict recognizable plights for justice.

Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) highlights the repetition of hate and colonialism that occur in ancient myths through a mischievous lens. Since Iphigenia was rescued from the sacrificial altar, she has served as a high priestess to the goddess Artemis on Tauros, where she in turn is to sacrifice any foreigners who try to enter. When she discovers that an exiled prisoner is her brother, they together plot their escape, but are soon confronted by a force beyond their control.

Antigone: 方is set against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement and Tiananmen Square Massacre protests. When citizens challenge a state’s traditional doctrine, the ruling family is divided between their own interests and those of its citizens. After brothers Neikes and Teo kill each other in the protests, their sister Antigone defies her father’s orders to retrieve Neikes’s body, causing the government—and what’s left of their family—to reach a reckoning.