Thank you 周潤發先生

Filed in Entertainment Ind., General, MiscellaneousTags: , ,

In January of this year, I was incredibly fortunate to encounter 周潤發先生 Mr Chow Yun Fat near our home. I wrote about it in my "A surprise encounter" article.

發哥 called me twice after that encounter to arrange delivery of the photograph he had taken while with me at the time. The first time he called, I was watching a movie at APM and my phone was turned off. I was very disappointed. The second time he called, I was in rehearsals for "They’re Playing Our Song (2007)" and again, my phone was turned off. I was irritated and frustrated that I had once again missed his call. This time, 發哥 left a message to say that he had dropped the photograph off at a store in our village. I picked the photograph up the next day.

發哥 is obviously very careful with his photographs. The photograph was hand exposed in a dark room, and then framed in Central using high quality materials. The whole package; photo and frame; is very nice.

發哥 has my phone number. I don't have his phone number. I don't feel that I have the qualifications to ask for it. It has as a result been impossible to contact 發哥 and thank him for the photograph. I therefore wish to do so here.

發哥,你照的照片非常靚,對我非常特別。萬分多謝你。有緣再見。

I tried to scan the photograph but the protective plastic disperses the light from the scanner producing a very blurry picture. In the end, I had to photograph the photograph. Here then is the photograph that 發哥 took of me and five of our kids sometime in January.

Gregory and kids by Mr Chow Yun Fat

攝影:周潤發先生,二零零七年一月
Photo taken by Mr Chow Yun Fat, January 2007.

The kids seen here in the picture are Charlie (just in front of me), Joey (in front of Charlie), Samson (sitting down) and Rachel (only her tail is visible).

Eager to be my best

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

During "They’re Playing Our Song (2007)" rehearsals, Henry spent a lot of time talking to Sompor, explaining the character to her, extracting the acting talent from inside her and helping her to be the best she could be. It was worth the effort. Sompor was great on stage.

I'm eager to share a similar experience. If you're a director who sees potential in my acting abilities and would be willing to spend time working with me to help me be the best I can be for the production, please send me an email; <gregory at hokwokwing dot hk>. I'm interested as an actor and possibly co-investor in two areas: quality movies, and Broadway musical stage productions; English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Preparing for the future

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

"Sleep! I can't sleep". That opening line from Act 2 Scene 1 of "They're Playing Our Song" applies perfectly to my situation at this exact moment.

My brain has been working non-stop for the last ten weeks and even now that the show is over, it refuses to slow down. The melodies from the show are still in my head as are occasional excerpts from the scenes, but more and more, my brain is trying to plan my future direction.

"They're Playing Our Song" was the greatest thing I've done in my life.

I worked hard for ten weeks and I'm not going to stop now. I like where I am. I like how trim I am and how fit I am, and I want to do another musical. I have decided to attend dancing lessons locally, and also return to L.A. to get more vocal coaching with Peisha. I may also attend acting school in Europe during the latter half of this year. When the next musical comes along, I want to be two grades better than I was for "They're Playing Our Song".

I have enrolled in four different dance classes in a 黃大仙 dance centre as recommended by a valued experienced friend. My lessons will begin in late April. Two of the classes are not strictly dancing but my friend's intention for the moment is that I learn to understand my body, that I discover my centre (important for balance and lots of other things when dancing) and that I learn the basics of dance. Five classes a week; it sounds exhausting but I doubt that it'll be as hard as the rehearsal schedule we had for "They're Playing Our Song" ;-)   I'll still need to continue with weight-lifting, vocal training and acting exercises so my overall schedule will actually be quite busy.

It is my hope that my vocal chords will fully recover soon and that I'll be able to see Peisha before the dance lessons begin. My current plan is two weeks of daily vocal lessons. Of course, I'll have to see if TVB has anything planned for me first. If they do, I'll change my schedule and work around them.

The singing and dancing of stage musicals have now become an important part of my life. I love the Broadway musicals and I want to do another one; a bigger one, in Cantonese; in Cantonese because a bigger musical production costs a lot to produce and Hong Kong people appear to be frightened of English productions (unless they're imported and marketed extremely well). The only way to increase the odds of making money on the production (I can't afford to do another free one) is to do it in Cantonese, so Cantonese it will probably be (not a problem for me ;-)

Today on Broadway, black actors and actresses are getting leading roles which were originally written for Caucasians. I used to think it was a little odd, but now I'm hoping for the equivalent thing to happen here in Hong Kong; a single Caucasian in an otherwise all-Chinese production! With luck, planning and hard work, you'll see me doing great work on stage again in approximately 18 months.

If you have any favourite Broadway (or London West End) musicals that you'd like to see us (me) perform in Hong Kong and that haven't been performed in the last ten years, please leave a comment.

The adventure of a lifetime ends tonight

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

今晚同 一班目前幕後嘅人員慶祝我地套劇嘅收視,同埋一齊睇大結局。正!
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想追 就要快啲。聽晚2400將會喺YouTube全部下架。
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Instagram image

睇好戲

The adventure of a lifetime ends tonight

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

Tonight's is the last show. I'm trying not to think about it. I have to control my emotions until after the play. It's not easy to do but I must do it. It has been an incredible ten weeks. I feel like Goku in Dragon Ball coming out of one of his training sessions. The lessons I've learned, the obstacles I've encountered, the victories we've produced, the friends I've made; it has been the greatest adventure of my life and it's almost over.

I've never considered myself lucky but I've never been so fortunate in all my life as I have been recently. Henry and Sompor are amazing people. Henry's an intelligent, forgiving, understanding and patient director. Sompor is an intelligent natural actress with unlimited potential and a personality to match. We encountered many obstacles during the last ten weeks, some of them extreme, but we came through and we produced a wonderful play.

I chose to do the play rather than take a role in the TVB sitcom series that Brian is now appearing in. I don't regret that decision. The last ten weeks have changed me. I'm a different person now. Life looks different now. I can stand tall and be very proud of what Henry, Sompor and I have done together. The only unfortunate thing about the play is that so many people have missed seeing it.

I've made some great friends; Henry, Sompor, Eli, Kin Kin, Charles and others. These are all incredible people with great talent and I feel so proud and privileged to know them.

There will be celebrations and crying after the show tonight.

My parents are here. I've lived and worked here in Hong Kong for twenty years and my parents have never seen my work. This year will be my 20th anniversary in Hong Kong, and I thought it fitting that my parents should see my accomplishment so I flew them over from Australia. It was serendipitous and fortuitous that the play is in English because my parents will be able to enjoy the play all the more. They will be in the audience tonight, watching our final performance.

What comes next? Henry has his company to run and probably another stage project in mind. Sompor has her Master Degree papers to write and a vacation in Europe to look forward to.

But what's next for me? I have no idea but my instincts tell me something great is afoot, something different to what I have been doing for the last twenty years, a new direction, the beginning of a new road to explore and enjoy. In the immediate future, I will spend time with my parents and my wife, and I will need to rest my voice. There will be no singing and minimum talking for the next two weeks. My voice is important to me, possibly one of my most treasured possessions, and being careless with it would be a crime. After the rest, we'll see what happens next. I may return to L.A. to study more with Peisha. I may have a new role at TVB. I may be filming somewhere else. I may even go to acting school again. I'm not sure yet. I'll take it one step at a time.

Life is truly a great adventure if you're willing to take the risk and go where your heart leads you.

Three more shows to go!

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

Just in case some of you don't know or have forgotten, "They're Playing Our Song" is now performing at the McAulay Studio theatre in the Hong Kong Arts Centre in Wanchai every night at 8pm until Friday night.

My first leading role with singing, dancing and acting. Even my parents are flying in tomorrow to see the show, the first time they will have seen me work since I arrived here in Hong Kong in 1987!

Don't miss out ;-)

903 radio interview tonight

Filed in Events, Press, They’re Playing Our Song (2007), Work

To help get the word out about our play, our marketing person arranged for me to have an interview with the 叱咤 903 radio station, but the interview is part of a program called 「有耳喱民」 in which they talk about weird behaviour and ghost stories. I was a little hesitant about it but the producers and hosts (亞喱, 詹志民 and 有耳非文) made me feel at home as soon as I arrived. Knowing 有耳非文 from way back in 1997 when we performed 「上海之夜」 together helped a lot too because I suddenly had a 'friend' with me, and so the interview turned out to be a very fun one.

The interview will be broadcast tonight at 12 midnight. If you don't have Hong Kong radio access, you can listen to it via their web link. I think you'll enjoy it ;-)

Unforeseen responsibilities

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

I'm tired, very tired.

I've suddenly found myself with much more responsibility than I'd foreseen.

A few weeks ago, we realised that tickets were not selling as well as we'd like. Our marketing was not working. In some areas, it was simply non-existent. At least one good friend of mine didn't know about the play until I called them.

We had done a few interviews with newspapers and magazines but the affect on ticket sales was not ideal. We had to do more, and I decided to fund the design and publishing of our ads, the ones I showed you in my previous article. Those ads worked but we're still not doing well enough to sit back and relax.

Part of the challenge we face is that the play is in English. There have been many inquiries about tickets but as soon as many of those inquirers realise that the play is in English, they hang up. We have Chinese subtitles but people are still scared of English. Even three of my wife's relatives declined our complementary invitation to see the show because it's in English.

Another part of the challenge is the Arts Festival. It's taken and flooded all of the marketing opportunities. I personally called SCMP this morning to ask about doing an interview and the person there was very frank with me. Somewhat apologetically, he explained that even if they were able to arrange an interview, it wouldn't get published because all of the available space had already been allocated to the Arts Festival.

So getting the word out about our play has been and continues to be difficult.

One important truth about this play is that it would definitely be desirable to have more than a few English-comfortable people in the audience, people who will understand without delay the funny punch lines in the play, people who will laugh intermittently and consequently add to the atmosphere of the play. So it is that I have spent most of my brain power over the last 24 hours trying to arrange more exposure in the English world of Hong Kong.

We did a live interview on RTHK 3's "Morning Brew" program this morning. I think the interview was great. Natalie, the radio host, had done her homework and she was excellent with the questions and the comments. Henry and Sompor were also very good in front of the mike and it was a comfortable interview overall. Hopefully, it will help to spread the word out to the English population of Hong Kong.

A short telephone interview that I did with SCMP will be published in Sunday's issue. Again, I hope it will get noticed and help build the noise about our play.

One of our ads will appear in this Friday's issue of HK Magazine, a magazine read by many of Hong Kong's English-comfortable people.

But I still can't rest, so I went back to TVB today. 20 years of working with TVB has given me a little respect at TVB and I needed it today. The producer of 娛樂直播 had one empty interview slot in next Tuesday's program and immediately decided to put me in there. That was nice ;-)   東張西望 is also considering filming our final rehearsal and interviewing us on Friday.

On the English side, I'm still hoping for more exposure. I'm now working closely with our marketing person. We'll try to contact a few more English radio and television people to arrange interviews. Until the show ends, I must not give up hope.

Many weeks ago, a good friend upon learning of my part in the play commented that it was a very serious situation for me. If the play fails, it will reflect directly on me; not on the director, not on Sompor, just on me!

I have taken on a lot of various responsibilities for the sake of the play and I've taken them on with every ounce of energy I have. I've done much more than would normally be required of an actor. I have never put so much effort, time and heart into anything in my entire life. I can only hope and trust that it will not be in vain.

4 days to go…

Poster files for download (March 14)

If you know of somewhere to place one of our posters to advertise our play, please download and print one of these files. These (8MB hi-q RGB jpeg) files can be used to print any size up to at least A3 (and they look great coming off my Epson Stylus Pro 3850 ;-)

They're Playing Our Song 2007 Poster — English
They're Playing Our Song 2007 Poster — Chinese