Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review- Filumena- Italian Chamber of Commerce and Stylus Theatre

"Children are children"- Eduardo Filippo

This is by far the most memorable line in the show and one of the overall themes of the play. We are all equal. We are all children at one point in our lives. We are all the same and should be judged the same. Filippo's play also explores meanings of motherhood, respectability, and what is the family unit. When the family is such an iconic thing in the Italian culture Filippo explores the non-traditional family with a mother who takes care of a children from a far and a woman who was raised in a family that hated her.

Filippo's play, Filumena was one of two Italian plays that hit the Hong Kong stage this weekend. It was produced by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in partner with Stylus Theatre. Directed and Designed by Adam Harris. I came to the theatre expecting a barrel of laughs, as when I studied Filippo in college I had come to believe that Filippo was a satirist but I left the theatre I was a bit puzzled to say the least...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review- Accidental Death of an Anarchist 個無政府主義者的意外死亡- FM Theatre Power

There is certainly a plethora of Italian theatre in Hong Kong this weekend. Audiences have a choice of Filumena presented by The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Stylus Theatre or they could attend FM Theatre Power's production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo. Surprisingly both going down in the HK Arts Center in Wanchai!

Mo from FM Theatre Power was kind enough to translate the program for me and give me some background info on their rehearsal process before I came. Many thanks! I'm a big fan of their work since I saw Kitty Hunter last year. (It was the their some what controversial production where the murderer stuffed severed heads of prostitutes into Hello Kitty stuffed animals...) Because that's what HK serial killers do, la!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My first #TDHK

My first #TDHK was an interesting experience to say the least. #TDHK is an event in Hong Kong started by @jmis and @hypercasey to put faces with the twitter accounts in Hong Kong we follow daily for our chuckles. If anyone has not delighted upon #hkproblems please have a search for it. It says everything you've wanted to say but never say allowed. Many thanks to @AndreMartin for offering to have a coffee with me the next time I'm out at the Y2 in Chai Wan and to @jdalarose for buying a girl a drink! Thanks to @hypercasey for inviting me to be the representative of the art community! It's nice to be surrounded by a bunch of financiers... They smell very nice! (Not that you thespians stink...)

What was most interesting about this event was that when I mentioned to people my occupation of Theatre Director it was a rather mixed reaction of "Really? That's cool!" or "There's a theatre scene in Hong Kong?" I guess because my life is so absorbed in theatre every single day that I didn't realize there are hundreds or thousands of expats that never even hear about the productions we put on. One person had lived here SEVEN years and NEVER seen a theatrical event because he thought they were all in Cantonese or tours! WTF?!!! He had never heard of any of the local performing groups which was a bit shocking to me.

I got a bunch of new twitter followers last night so I hope this will help diversify our audience a little bit. Because Hong Kong has a lot to offer in the terms of theatre. There is a production of some type on every single weekend. You just need to look. Or twitter peeps, feel free to ask me! I'm happy to point you in the right direction.

Follow me for all my blog updates @mmcgurgan

Shameless Plug as always...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

HK Arts Awards 2011-2012 THE WINNERS!

Thanks to everyone for all their support during this project! It's been an enlightening experiment.
Congratulations to all the winners. If you were not present at the awards ceremony I have a little something for you as an award. If anyone tonight picked up an award "in honor" of an absentee please pass it onto them. They were not expensive but they were made with love.

I hope you had fun! I know I did!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review- Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know- HK Singers

After the sell-out success of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!, HK Singers has produced another small style cabaret musical with Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know. I love this style of musical. I don't think musicals need a lot of flash to be good. I think they need talented singers, a funny script and a great audience to come along with them for the ride. This show had all of these. Small intimate musicals are the innovative way for smaller theatre companies to delve into the musical genre without breaking the bank. It was an ensemble piece starring: Jai Ignacio, Moe Moss, Matthew Gillespie, Micha Sparrow, Paul Hay, Shareen Sing and Talia Ritz.

Directed by APA choreographer and professor, Mandy Petty, it was blocked incredibly well. It had excellent spacing and good use of the stage. I thought the choreography was well conceived and I particularly liked the use of the rolling chairs in the choreography. The pre-show concept was also very well executed by actors: Jai Ignacio, Moe Moss and Micha Sparrow. We only see vignettes of each character but I thought the acting was done well. The show was simple but excellent. They say simplicity is a sign of perfection. Please see: Reservations Part 3, for example.

Review- Featuring Loretta- Dramatic English

Peter Brook states in his book, An Empty Space, that all one needs to produce theatre is "an empty space, an actor to walk across it, and someone to watch him." Dramatic English's production of Featuring Loretta starring: Aisling McDonnell, Daniel Levia, Michael Rogers and Shirley Sheung went back to basics and put together a show with ZERO budget to present to audience's for FREE! In their program notes, the cast writes: "You don't need anything beyond a script and a few good friends..." Amen!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Conversation with Elizabeth Briel

Sometimes awesome artists leave our fair city but leave their marks! Elizabeth is one of those. I wandered upon her and her work through the twitter verse and thought it was important to make sure people know more about her! She's really an amazing artist and has impassioned views on both Hong Kong as a society for artists and on the business side of art.

She also makes beautiful prints and does beautiful work with paper! Check out her work, it's really quite beautiful! I also find her "rants", as she calls them fascinating and hilarious at the same time. Got to love sharp wit on woman, it's the new look for summer!
Enjoy our conversation!
This is Elizabeth making paper!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

General Notice

Attention Readers:

The photos and youtubes posted on this blog in the Nomination Blurbs are not my property! They are the property of the wonderful artists who created the productions. I am not profiting monetarily in anyway by monitoring this award ceremony nor this blog. They have been posted up to help inform the general public who wanted more information about the nominees before making their decisions in the online voting.

The photos in the Example of My Work section are my property, as it is my work. I am currently doing job interviews and needed a place to put photos of my work for potential employers. Please do not spam this page with inappropriate comments.

Thanks very much,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Awards Ceremony Wednesday!!!!

This awards process has gotten so much larger than I ever thought it would. I always considered it a little dog and pony show that no one really cared about except for the people in the community and their close friends. Now, I see that the community of Hong Kong does really care about the quality of the shows and is extremely knowledgeable about what they like and what they don't like. People who watch theatre are just as smart as the people who make it and we should be honored that they have taken the time to vote for us in the categories we were nominated in. We have over 600 votes in the part one the survey! Can you believe that?!! Sure, it could just be one over enthusiastic person voting at every Pacific Coffee in town but I prefer to think that it's our dedicated audience members and fans who want to see us rewarded for all the hard work we put into our performances.

More times than not, the artists in this town are not paid for the work and I'm hoping that this award will just give them a little pat on the back and a fun night at the bar with the community.

Please invite all your friends that voted to come to THE CANNY MAN, Wednesday June 13th at 8pm for the ceremony! We would love to see people from all walks of the art community in town on Wednesday and I have NO DESIRE to stand up and talk for an hour by myself presenting these things so if you would like to be a presenter please leave a comment here or shoot me a PM. I would love a variety in the presenters, if possible!

Nominees- Best Theatre for Youth

Don't know if some of you are aware of this fact or not. The number one grossing part of the theatre industry is Theatre for Youth productions! (Easily.) It's a multi-billion dollar part of the industry that encompasses some major players such as Disney Corp and all the major Shakespeare Festivals in the US. It is a huge part of our industry and it is the money from school's and parents that often keeps our business' afloat in these tough economic times. It would be remiss of us to not honor some great Children's performers and producers in our city.

If one of your major target audiences in a production is those under 18 then your production can also be considered Theatre for Youth. (Hello, Grant money!!!) Using theatre as a tool to help teacher's in a classroom is an awesome power we have as performers.

There are generally two types of Theatre for Youth. Theatre which stars kids, such as YAF's production of Spring Awakening or productions starring adults created for children's audiences. Neither style is better than the other. It is like comparing apples to oranges. However, you nominated both styles in this category--- so you have to choose which is better! (haha!) 

Serious credit also must be given to Theatre for Youth companies in HK who often produce their own originally created work which is an arduous task. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Revisiting the Best Cupcakes in Hong Kong

Hands down the article on the blog that gets the most traffic is my Top 5 Cupcakes article. I get like 100 hits a day on it. You all are cupcake obsessed so I felt I needed to update my opinions on it. I posted this article up about a year and a half ago and the landscape of HK's cupcake market has drastically changed since then. I can tell you some of my choices are still firm. Yes, I stand by my choice that Sweet Secrets does have the best Red Velvet and now I also add they also have the best Carrot Cake. But I'm a little bit biased toward them because they are nut free and being terribly allergic to peanuts I appreciate knowing that my baked goods are nut free~!
My new love!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nominees- Best Bit Role

These actors took on lines that didn't have a lot of lines or stage time but left a huge impression on the audience that watched them. They had short and sweet parts in their productions.  Some were funny, some were sad, some were sexy... Just because the part was small didn't mean they didn't make a huge impression on the community!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nominees- Best Actor

Some people think that men have it easy in the theatre business. That it's a lot easier for them to audition and get parts because there are less of them compared to us females. I don't think that is the case. People have really high expectations for what men can do on stage. You have to be funny, sexy and assertive all in one. You have to appear strong. All the guys who are nominated have that special something that make them one of the "best" of Hong Kong. They have that spark that makes them interesting as a performer to watch and great as a performer to work with.

I am missing a show photo and show poster of one of the nominees so I have subbed something in.

Nominees- Best Supporting Actress

Supporting Parts can sometimes make or break a show. I'm a firm believer in the team effort of the theatrical experience. There is no small part only small actors (and penises). All these amazing women made great additions to their casts and were nominated as Best Supporting Actress nominees. Once again we have a variety of styles to choose between! Pick your poison ladies and gentlemen!

Nominees- Best Actress

Best Actress was a difficult category for people to vote for. We have a plethora of extremely talented women in this city. These women are the best of the best. We have all sorts of different actresses nominated from women who played multiple characters to Cantonese Performers to musical performers to serious drama and Shakespeare. You can't really make a wrong choice. Just pick which one makes you happiest. All these women are incredibly talented!

Once again, I don't have photos of all the productions but have done my best to sub in show posters and youtubes where available. 

Nominees- Best New Comer

I don't have photos of all the nominees in this category! But I will insert the show poster where I am missing them. All these actors have been new to the HK Acting scene in the 2011-2012 year. New talent should be encouraged! Breaking into the scene here can be a little frustrating as open casting calls have become fewer and farther between with the recent rise in venue prices. These actors have risen to the occasion and become breakout talents in this year! I know we will see a lot more of them!

Artist of the Month- June- XYZ

Street Art and their creators have had a recent boom in the art industry. Of course we all know the Messiah of street artists, Banksy and HK's God of Graffiti, the King of Kowloon. There is a lot of developing and emerging talent in this kind of work as spray paint and walls are easily accessible to people. As long as one doesn't mind treading a little on the dangerous side...

I thought it was about time that my blog give some love to one of HK's street artists, XYZ.
Despite his penchant for my nemesis, performance art, (ugh),  I think he is incredibly talented. I like how his pieces are never really finished and are always evolving into bigger and better things.  I really love his art collaboration group DimmSumm which consists of him and 2 other local artists making a collective community where artists can come together and share their work together. You can view their work and learn about upcoming shows at their website here.

His survey is below! Some of the questions were slightly altered because his medium is art and not theatre. Check out his answer to number 5, it's so sweet!!!! We are always striving to feature new and upcoming talent on the blog! If you know of someone you think is worthy of the Artist of the Month feature feel free to nominate them! We accept all mediums of art, theatre, music and dance.