The big 40!

Filed in Life

My birthday is just one day away. On Saturday, I will hit the big 40.

I don't know if I should celebrate or not. 40 is a big number. Fortunately, many in the Chinese culture believe that 40 is just the beginning of a man's life. I tend to think that this will be true for me too, with far more opportunities and experiences to materialise in the coming years. Call me an optimist (and a cynic but that's another topic) but that's what I feel.

So, Happy birthday to me, and also to Esther, a good friend whose birthday is also on Saturday, just a couple of hours before or after me; not sure which.

Stage vrs TV

Filed in Work

I've just returned from another rehearsal for "Perfume" 香水 (which by the way is now being advertised with huge posters in many of the Hong Kong MTR stations). Five days away from the premier performance and we continue to improve our performances and the play as a whole.

That's the interesting thing about plays. Because you're working on the same thing every day, the dialog gets out of the way very early on and you become familiar with the 'life' within the dialog. The life can be intepreted in many ways and it's not uncommon for the intepretation to change with every rehearsal, or even while the play is actually running.

When I was working on "Magic is the Moonlight" 上海之夜, I remember changing the life and approach of one scene at least five times. As the actor becomes more familiar with the scene, the director begins to see alternative intepretations and opportunities to improve the scene. It's a truely evolutionary process.

The development and evolution of life within the play is probably one of the reasons that so many television and film actors try to get back to the stage between their television/film schedules. The constant attention to the same scenes allows the actor to develop their focus and acting skills and it benefits them in many ways.

This kind of development is not possible with television, especially the television series made at TVB. We, the actors, are never given the time to develop the scene. We do our homework and analyse and visualise the scene before we get to the studio but that doesn't do much to prepare us for the affects of the set and of the other actors. And it's never enough to allow us to evolve and develop the life between the dialog. The actors at the TVB are pretty damn good and they do extremely well under the circumstances; working 18 hours a day with little or no sleep every day for three to five months straight, sometimes getting the script on the day of filming. It would be interesting to see what they could do if given the opportunity to perform on the stage instead.

I think "Perfume" will be a great production. I was going to say "in its final version" but stage plays never stop evolving so there's never a final version.

In any case, I think it'll definitely be worth watching; even if I do say so myself.