“They’re Playing Our Song” — My first starring role.

Filed in Events, They’re Playing Our Song (2007), WorkTags: , , ,

Back in July of last year, I was pondering whether to go to L.A. and study singing with Miss Peisha McPhee. During this time, I received a phone call from a local director who explained that he wanted to produce a pet project that he had dreamed of for many years. It was an English language stage musical and he wanted me to star in it! I was surprised, slightly stunned and ecstatic. At the time though, that phone call was confirmation to me that I should go to L.A. and work with Peisha which is exactly what I did.

The name of the play is They're Playing Our Song, written by Neil Simon in 1979. The music was written by Marvin Hamlisch and the lyrics were written by Carole Bayer Sager.

They're Playing Our Song is a simple light-hearted love story, about two very different people falling in love.

While the original script involves two main cast members and six music accompaniment members, our version will only involve the two main cast members; one man and one woman. It's a fun story and I think you'll enjoy it. Personally, I like the story and love the music ;-)

They're Playing Our Song will be performed at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in Wanchai in mid-March 2007. I'll provide accurate dates later on. The play will be performed nightly from Mar 16 to 23 at 8pm with extra matinée shows on Mar 17 and 18 at 3pm. Seats will be limited. The theatre seats approximately 100 audience members and we'll only be performing ten shows.

Work begins.

In mid-December, work on the play began. I began taking lessons with a local singing coach picked out by our director. The singing coach is well respected in Hong Kong for both her singing knowledge and her musical acting skills. Her name is Miss Fung. Many of her students know her as Miss Beer. Working with her has been fun. Although I learnt a lot with Peisha in L.A., I am still a long way from being the singer I want to be and there's always plenty to learn. Miss Fung is helping to fill in more of the gaps in my technique while of course also helping me to sing the play's songs as well as I can.

For the time being, we are learning the basics of the songs. Unfortunately, getting the music for the songs has not been easy. Because the play was written back in 1979, the music score is not available in its entirety. We are missing the music scores for two of the songs and also small music pieces that occur during the play. Fortunately, those two songs are available on various CD productions of the play so we can learn from them. As for the other small pieces of music, we have a very capable (and celebrated) music director/arranger who should have no trouble working out something for them from the script.

We are now two months away from performing the musical. Two months may seem like a long time but it's not. There is a lot to do and a lot to learn. I won't be doing much of anything other than work on this play until the performance. Doing otherwise would be unfair to everyone including myself, the director, the actress and the audience.

Two months to go…

The Yellow-bellied Prinia

Filed in Digital Hunter, Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags:

I went digital hunting yesterday. While standing on the upper rail of a steel pipe fence, leaning against a five-inch thick tree which was the only thing between me and an eight-foot drop to the road on the other side of it, I waited and waited. Suddenly, an unnatural movement of the twigs in the bushes ahead of me caught my eye and I watched and readied my camera. A few twitches later, I spotted the small bird, rustling through the bushes looking for food. He wasn't a variety that I recognised and I therefore hoped more than ever to get a decent photograph of him before he left.

Suddenly, he decided to leave; possibly aware that I was just ten feet from where he was foraging for food; but he needed to find out where his partner was. He flew up onto a thin bare trunk protruding from the grass and called out to his partner who replied immediately from the other side of the road. Another thirty seconds and he was gone, but not before I had photographed him a few times. Here is what I consider to be the best of those photographs.

Yellow Bellied Prinia

Yellow-bellied Prinia 灰頭鷦鶯

(Prinia flaviventris)

Date: 9 January 2007, Location: Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong

There is another variety of the Prinia known as the Plain Prinia, but I'm pretty sure that this one is a Yellow-bellied Prinia based on the yellow in his tummy region.

The blue behind him is not the sky but rather hills blurred by the particulate pollution (and the lense's DOF) now pervasive here in Hong Kong.

The image has been cropped to about a third of the original image. He was too small and too far away to photograph at a decent size with my 300mm (x1.6 = 420mm) lense.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

Just for fun, here is a photo of the prinia while he was foraging for food. Can you see him?

Yellow Bellied Prinia in hiding