Mark Chan, the mastermind behind this show about the tension between modernity and tradition, shares his inspiration and work process with Chin Hui Wen.

What does the Jade Bird symbolize for you?
He's a hero. He is the last remaining Jade Bird, the others have long since flown from the world of man because man no longer appreciates or values their qualities. But he refuses to give up. He wants to believe that the world has value. So he's a real strong one. He may bend but he doesn't give up hope.

How did you pick a title for the piece?
It's actually descriptive. It's the crucial act in the show when the Jade Bird decides to fly and go on his quest.

How long did the performance take to complete from conceptualization to finish?
Two and a half years. Everything was challenging. Everything asked for creativity as I searched for something real, something worth giving to the audience.

What is your favorite part of creating a show—the conceptualization, writing, composing or directing?
I think it varies from show to show. But I am more a writer and composer. That's where I find my truth.

What do you look for in a performer?
Humanity touched by the divine. Sensitivity combined with repeatability. Also, I want someone with a strong work ethic, a desire to try new things and who can weave their own magic around my writing.

What do you want the audience to take away from the performance?
I want their heads and hearts touched by the music, the story and the telling of the story. I want them to enjoy themselves but also leave slightly changed because they have been given something worthwhile.

The Flight of the Jade Bird runs May 18-19, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall.