Status Update (10 Feb 2011)

Filed in General

I've been home for a week since 「中國皇后號」 finished, and I've been able to spend more time with my wife and the kids. The Chinese New Year holiday was pleasant. We don't 拜年 as much as many other people in Hong Kong, but we did manage to happily 拜年 with a few family members and friends.

Work on my web site redesign continues in the background. The specs have been finished and we're now working on the graphic design. It won't be flashy. I prefer simple and elegant. And there won't be any Flash content in the site because I've determined that the site must be iOS compatible.

Work on my new album is also continuing. My voice is not ready to record anything, but there's music to arrange, album covers and inserts to design, and content to write for the insert. This can all be done irrespective of my voice's condition. When my voice is eventually ready to record, we'll record, mix and master the album, and release it accordingly. I'm not a pop star and I don't have a pop star singing voice, so it'll require quite a bit of homework to produce something that I can feel comfortable with releasing.

In the meantime, I'm going to visit my parents in Gympie Australia for a couple of weeks to see how they're going. It'll also give my voice a chance to further relax and recuperate after performing at full voice without a microphone on stage for close to eight weeks (I used full voice from the very beginning of rehearsals to give my voice a chance to build strength for the live performance). I'll restart vocal training with my favourite vocal coach Peisha McPhee after I return, and we'll see how things go from there.

Fortunately, all of our kids are now in good health. Two of them had bladder infections, and after six weeks of antibiotics, that has been cured. Another tried to catch a hornet in his mouth and was awarded a swollen snout for his efforts. Five days of anti-histamine medication allowed him to survive that incident. Hopefully, he won't try to repeat the exercise. It's comforting to see them all in good health, especially after losing Beethoven. And it means that I can visit my parents in Australia without having to worry about the kids.

Cheers all.

「中國皇后號」 Last words.

Filed in Events, The Empress of China 中國皇后號 (2011), Work

Just over one year ago, I was approached by a very nice gentleman at the HKREP to meet for a cup of coffee. They were planning a new stage play which involved Caucasian actors, one of which would need to speak significant amounts of Cantonese dialog. With 20 years of Cantonese television and five Cantonese stage productions behind me, I was perhaps their best hope. It was in the coffee shop at the Sheraton Hotel that I met with this gentleman and the script writer/director Sister Joanna.

Very little happened in that short meeting. It was a quick conversation and I was treated to a great plate of Fish & Chips. There were implied promises but nothing more. A short while later, I helped the HKREP to take publicity photos for "The Empress of China" and then heard nothing from them until October of 2010 when my part in the play was finally confirmed.

Rehearsals began in December, and it was a very tough eight weeks. Days into rehearsals, our beloved Beethoven was taken ill with Acute Pancreatitis, and we lost him several days later. Later in rehearsals, issues developed at home that complicated life for a while. Then in mid January, I became ill myself with the flu and fever. Unfortunately, my role was extremely challenging and I couldn't afford to take time off from rehearsals, so I attended even with my fever. After just a few shows at City Hall, our helper's father died and we had to send her home so that she could get the care she needed from her family, so the kids became my morning responsibility. Fortunately, our shows were all afternoon or evening shows, so I had time to look after them and take them for their walks.

The shows themselves were challenging. As an actor speaking in a language learnt as an adult, my dialog was challenging. I was speaking words and grammar that I had never used in my entire life. When you're filming tv or film, you can make mistakes and re-record, but when you're on stage, that's not an option, so the pressure was real. However, I was fortunate to be able to complete all of our shows without any significant mistakes, and I enjoyed almost every single show we performed.

As I've stated in previous posts, we had a special group of people involved in this play, a group of more than 25 actors including seven Caucasians. We had different attitudes, different techniques, different lifestyles and different roles, and yet we all respected each other and worked together extremely well. And we all had one important trait; we all respected the work and worked very hard to be the best we could be right up to the very last show, irrespective of our role in the play.

"The Empress of China" is now over, but it will always be one of the most significant highlights of my life.