Red Bean Rehearsals: The Lioness Roars
Stacey reporting! I attended last Sunday's (3/30)
rehearsal of The Roaring Lioness, and had a great laugh! I'm actually
regretting a bit that I didn't take part in this play myself, because of the
great rapport of the cast. Everyone was loose and relaxed, and because of
this the rehearsal, while not without it's usual kinks, was lighthearted and
Auntie Linda and Kite Ma were definitely the clowns of the group. They cracked jokes constantly, and their ad-libbing was hilarious! Auntie Laura was the stable one, making sure that everyone was prepared and well informed. She cracked a few jokes of her own too! She struggled to get a particular section right, and finally got it down after a few tries. She exclaimed, "Applause, please!" Everyone laughed and clapped heartily.
Auntie Linda's playful, yet perverted facial expressions during most of the rehearsal were very fitting for her character. She would stare at even Auntie Cecilia, who played the emperor, with this face! Auntie Cecilia would mess her lines up, and then scream, "Don't look at me like that!"
Kite Ma ad libbed a lot. It's definitely her specialty. She made so many random and yet appropriately timed comments that I can't even remember them all. You really have to be there to appreciate her humor and exuberance.
I'm looking forward to attending many more upbeat and entertaining rehearsals!
We were able to catch Auntie Linda and Auntie Laura for an
interview earlier, and the interviews will be posted on the spotlight page
soon! Check back for more reviews and news!
Show Review: Siu Hing
Cantonese Opera Troupe
10/10/02 at Great Star Theater, San Francisco
After months of trials and tribulations, the Siu Hing Cantonese Opera Troupe was finally approved to come to the United States for their long awaited show! While last night was supposed to be a full-length performance of "Mok Gwei Ying," the troupe decided rightfully to perform skits for the night. They had just arrived at the airport at 2:00 in the afternoon, and the show began at 7:45 PM. Last night's performance was open to the public, and Great Star Theater was filled to capacity! The atmosphere was highly anticipatory as the tour organizer, Yun Bik Ling, took to the stage.
Yun Bik Ling first discussed the future prospects of Chinese tours in the U.S., which are not optimistic, and then explained the reasoning behind the night's sudden change in plans. Thursday night's original event will be postponed to Thursday, 10/17/02. The audience was very understanding, and cheered as the troupe leader, Jung Wei, greeted the audience. Already in makeup and costume, Jung Wei appeared truly excited to see the full house. "When I was little, my Sifus told us that we will know we have truly succeeded as artists when we have performed in America. We had so many troubles getting here, but now that I am here and I see everyone looking at me...I truly am elated, beyond words. Thank you." Jung Wei then introduced all her troupe members. She had a stage presence that was warm and sincere, sweet and innocent, and real. There was no cool and detached celebrity demeanor. Rather, she was extremely down-to-earth, even stuttering a bit in her excitement. These qualities all endeared her to the audience, who clapped loudly for her.
Jung Wei explained that her original male lead, Yew Jee Keung, could not make the trip to the U.S. because of visa problems, so the standby male lead was Leung Yew Ngon. However, because of his visa problems, he would not arrive until later in the week! So tonight, the understudy was a young man named Lee Chou Yern. Lee is only 24 years of age and plays a variety of characters in opera. He is a very versatile artist.
So, without further ado, the skits began. The first skit, Fung Gwok Yun Sou May Liu Ching, was performed by Chan Sok Fong and Mok Wai Naam. Mok Wai Naam had a beautiful voice, as did Chan Sok Fong. However, it was apparent that both parties were unfamiliar with their choreography. As experienced performers, though, they both watched out for each other and accommodated the other's movements well. The second skit, Dai Luy Faa (The King's "Flower" Daughter), was performed by Ho Yu and Chan Geen Leung. While this is a very famous skit in the U.S. and Hong Kong, the actors were not familiar with the lyrics at all. Chan Geen Leung actually missed an entire measure and the musicians had to replay the measure three times while the actors moved about on stage, before he suddenly cut into the music in the middle of the measure. It took him almost three more measures before he was able to get back on key and on beat. However, the audience was very sympathetic to the situation of the opera troupe and clapped loudly and encouragingly when the skit was over.
Jung Wei then took to the stage with Lee Chou Yern. They first sung a short musical number, which was followed by an encore performance of Kwan Gong Yert Haa Sik Diu Seem (Kwan Gong releases Diu Seem's Soul). Even though Jung Wei and Lee Chou Yern were dressed in their costumes for their following skit, a fight scene from Mok Gwei Ying, they performed this one very well, armor and all! Jung Wei was truly a joy to watch, pure poetry in motion. Her round table was so smooth that she floated over the stage, her hand movements were soft and flowing, and her acting skills very convincing. Lee Chou Yern is young and talented, and is sure to develop into a great performer with time.
The last performance of the night, the fight scene from Mok Gwei Ying, was wonderful. Jung Wei showed that she is not only great at mun plays, but she is also exemplary at mo plays. Her spear fighting was quick and sharp, while her body remained very supple. She did all the major acrobatic movements, and topped it all off with a spear throwing/catching sequence performed with four other troupe members. Not a single spear fell, and Jung Wei "ate" all the drums. The applause at the end of the night was deafening.
I'm really looking forward to Sunday's show!!! Last night was just a glimpse of what these performers can do.
Review: "Lady Herng"
6/13/02 at the Montgomery Theater, San Jose
Performed by the Canton Opera Troupe
Lead Actress: Ngai Wei Ying Lead Actor: Lai Jun Sing
Many thanks to
Wun Sheong Mark, the head of the Cantonese Opera Association Silicon
Valley. Wun organized the performance in San Jose - the first time ever a
large scale Cantonese Opera Production has come to San Jose. She also
provided us with tickets to see the show. Thanks, Wun. :)
The performance, Lady Herng, was a full-length play, consisting of 5 acts. The story itself was very interesting - it's very rare that the hero of the story, Ngai Chew Yun, is actually a villain. The heroine, Mui Ngum Herng, does a bit of Fa Mulan when she impersonates her cowardly brother to go fight a war. The hero and heroine were betrothed at birth, and their commitment was secured with a pair of matching swords. However, the families became separated and after many years, Ngum Herng's mother enlisted the help of Ngum Herng's cousin, Ming Ke, to find Ngai Chew Yun. Chew Yun's family has plunged into poverty, and he happily returns to the Mui household to renew his love for Ngum Herng. Just when the lovers are happily reunited, Ngum Herng's brother is summoned to war against the Barbarians, but he has run away in fear. Ngum Herng then dresses up as her brother and joins the army. She is essential in winning the battle. A high-ranking palace official, Wong Yeh, invites Generals Ngum Herng and Chew Yun to his palace to congratulate them on their victory. There, Chew Yun sees Wong Yeh's daughter and falls in love. He tells Wong Yeh that he is single and wants to marry his daughter. Ngum Herng returns home heartbroken and falls ill. Her mother is also ill and worried about Chew Yun not returning with Ngum Herng. Ming Ke convinces Chew Yun, who now is a high ranking official and engaged to Wong Yeh's daughter, to return to make Mother Herng's last days happier. Instead, Chew Yun drops the bomb and tells Mother Herng the truth about what he's done. Mother Herng dies from the shock. Ngum Herng, seething with anger, pleads her case to the emperor. Chew Yun defends himself with false accusations about Ngum Herng's fidelity. However, right at this moment, the Barbarians attacked again, and Ngum Herng and Chew Yun were needed in battle. They proposed to settle the dispute by a contest: whoever lost in battle would cut off their own head. Chew Yun lost...and while he begged for mercy, Ngum Herng forced him to kill himself.
Lai Jun Sing played the part of the two-faced, greedy Ngai Chew Yun quite well, especially in scenes where he showed his character's true colors. I especially liked the scenes where he was falling all over himself for the Wong Yeh's daughter. He also did a very good job in the scene where he returned to the Mui household to pay respects to Mother Herng. The scene was supposed to involve a lot of contempt and disgust, and he put on that face with conviction.
Ngai Wei Ying
brought intricate, creative, but clean technique to her character. Her
water sleeves work was excellent, and she performed many innovative
movements. She also moved to the drumbeats very well, "eating"
each dramatic note. It was surprising to see her playing a male.
Understandably, her men's round table was not nearly as good as her female round
table, but she looked quite heroic playing her male counterpart. Ngai Wei
Ying's stage experience also allowed her to bring the audience into her
character, so that everyone could feel what she was feeling.
Yok Waan is a crafty handmaiden who wants to achieve higher ranking and kisses up to anyone who can boost her up. She is punished when Chew Yun, who dislikes her for her sneakiness, orders her eyes gouged out. The young lady who played Yok Waan, however, is very talented and has potential. Her voice is quite clear, albeit young. She has good eye contact and stage presence. Hopefully, this young lady will be doing many more shows in the future.
The actress who played Mother Herng also performed well. Her voice was very strong and she sung with a lot of emotion. Because of her abilities, the scene where Chew Yun tells of his engagement to Wong Yeh's daughter was made all the more heart wrenching.
I also loved the subtitles that they electronically displayed on the side of the stage. It was easier to understand by reading the lyrics; since Chinese isn't my first language, of course, I couldn't always understand the singing just by ear.
Probably the only setback to this performance was the stage, which was too small for such a large scale production. During the fighting scenes, the two generals, plus the three Barbarian generals, plus the four soldiers on each side were severely cramped on the stage. The actors all did amazingly well considering the lack of space they had to move around in. However, there were some scary moments. Lai Jun Sing had one move where he had to jump into a split, jump back up, and then repeat this movement again. He fell on his second attempt but quickly bounced back up. Ngai Wei Ying also had a problem on her split. When she slid down into the split, she completely lost her balance and fell, dropping her weapon. The audience gasped as she struggled to get up. But a professional is really a professional - after getting up, she did some extra movements and picked up her spear, as if it was part of the choreography. However, the scariest moment had to be when one of the soldiers was doing backflips across the stage. He collided with a soldier on the other side of the stage. It seemed like he was ok, but he was still confused as the other soldiers helped him get up.
Overall though, this was a really enjoyable show. The story was great and there were some great plot twists. The dialogue and scenes flowed seemlessly, and the show ran the gamut of emotions from love, to greed, ambition, anger, revenge, and poetic justice.
of Our Own
by Stacey Fong
The Cantonese opera audience tends to be mature. The majority of performers is also mature, because it takes time for a performer to develop poise and technique. We very rarely see a young performer, much less performers whose native language is not even Chinese! However, there is a group of American Born Chinese (ABC) youths in the Bay Area who are interested in Cantonese opera. These ABCs have been participating in opera for an average of 6 years now, starting when they were about 11-13 years old.
Why do ABCs like opera? How do ABCs find their niche in opera? Our ABC performers got together and talked about life as an ABC in Cantonese Opera. Taking part in this panel were Stacey Fong, Erick Lee, Rebecca Ng, Denise Chan, and Tami Chan.
"My mom got into Chinese Opera and I followed her around, so I started watching," Becky said. Erick had the same experience. "I followed my mom around. And I got into the clothes and costumes. I nitpicked at what she was sloppy about...TAKE THAT OFF RECORD!" He laughed. "But you know what I mean - I unsloppified her. I just said, 'Stand there and I'll put your clothes on you. Just stand there and don't move." Denise and Tami commented, "We're still doing this because our mom makes us."
Although ABCs often get into opera because of their parents, they usually do not like it at first. "It was loud and irritating. 'Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!' Those sounds were kind of hard on the ears. For me, it was an acquired taste," Erick said of his initial reaction to opera. "I like the costumes! And I like the fighting," Becky added. "The fighting's the best part," Erick agreed. "I started out watching the Peking opera (another opera form), with the percussion and the pheasant feathers." Indeed, because the fighting draws from martial arts, ABCs tend to be drawn to that first because many grew up watching martial arts movies or have learned martial arts.
Martial arts and fast action is also something that allows ABCs to distinguish themselves from adults. Young ABCs are at a disadvantage because their technique is not mature yet, and their ABC accent hinders their diction. So they can find their niche in very difficult choreography. Youth's main advantage is its energy, the ability to run and dance around without getting tired. In this way, ABCs can maximize on their own talents and minimize their problem areas. "My mom's action sucks," Erick joked. "So she can't criticize mine much. The most she'll say is something about singing." Stacey remarked, "I tend to move in a modern-day-girl manner, so I don't do the slow and soft very well. Instead, I try to pick roles that involve beating people up! Just kidding!" Becky, Tami, and Denise prefer to play male and action roles because they too have very modern-day movements. Becky elaborated, "It's the 21st Century and we're not COMPLETELY traditional girls. So it's kind of hard for us to act that way. I think that when playing a girl, I feel more restricted, because you have to be really graceful and gentle. I don't want to be like that because it's boring."
Cantonese Opera has served, for many of these parents and children, as a bond. Stacey noted, "I love spending time with my mom. That's why I got into opera. But it's fun for me as well. I learn a lot from her and other adults she hangs around with. I also like the mutual pampering. For example, Mom gets nervous before her shows, so I always try to calm her down. Of course, when it's my turn to perform, she's the one that has to stroke me down too." Becky, too, appreciates what opera's done for her relationship with her mom. "I got to spend more time with her. Back when she was enjoying it and I wasn't, I rarely spent any time with her."
Of course, following in one's parent's footsteps is not always easy. "My mom is mean!" Erick jokingly complained. "She always mocks me! She'll imitate my ABC accents but make it worse. I'm like, 'I didn't sing it like THAT!!'" Stacey explained, "In my eyes Mom is perfect, and I'm not worthy. I want to be as good as her. I know she wants me to be good. So, she's always picking on my wrong things, which makes me feel bad. When she does say something good, I know it must be REALLY, REALLY good, or she wouldn't say so. So that makes me float on air! Of course, that's not often."
will be performing in Red Bean Cantonese Opera's upcoming show in July.
This is the first time ABCs will share the stage in a major production of
Cantonese Opera in the Bay Area. Stacey
and Erick are the lead roles, while Becky, Denise, and Tami are their supporting
The cast is enjoying their time together. "It's more fun," Becky observed. "We can laugh about stuff," Stacey pointed out. "This time, we know who the main characters are BEFORE the performance," Denise giggled. In past supporting roles Denise, Tami, and Becky have done, they rarely get a chance to practice with or even meet the leads until the final dress rehearsal. Erick, who has more stage experience than Stacey, talked about working with her. "There's definitely more rapport and chemistry because I've worked with other people before, like older people and I can't look at them like - (At this point, he gave Stacey a flirty look, and she flirted back.). You know? It's just kind of weird." He grimaced, "It's just wrong! It's like your mom's friend and…GROSS!" Erick also spoke of rehearsing together: "Stacey's very organized. And she's always like 'Let's do it again, let's do it again.' Normally, older people are just like, 'Do we have to do it again?' And they're a little slower. They can't do a lot of things, so it kind of limits what I can do too. It's not as fun, not as challenging," he concluded.
Erick continued, "It makes it more fun because we're both in the same boat. Like in singing, and the lack of Chinese we both have. She's like me." Stacey shared his opinion. "I can commiserate with him about mutual problems - critical parents, ABC accents, our voices cracking. It's much easier to communicate. He's also very lighthearted and draws my fun side out of me, which is good because I can be very hard on myself."
The SF CCC's Mother's Day Spectacular, 5/12/02
Western Beauty I, starring Alice Mak and Ho Siu Bo, *
Western Beauty II, starring Teresa Luk and Ho Siu Bo,
Western Beauty III, starring Lisa Tsang and Ho Siu Bo, **
Singing: Chur Tao Wong by Rita and Peter Chiu
Chak Ying Wui, starring Mo-Kit Jong and Jun-Dong Kong
Singing: A song to Hypnotize Chow Long, by Emma Fong and Susanna Wong
Farewell to Ging Ngo at Yick River, starring Veronica Lew and Ho Siu Bo
*Supporting cast: Emmy Chang, Betty, Becky Ng, Denise Chan, Tami Chan, Lucy Tse, Rosanna Tse, Ashley Luk
**Supporting cast: Emmy Chang, Betty, Becky Ng, Denise Chan, Tami Chan, Lucy Tse, Rosanna Tse, Ashley Luk, Henry Tang
Western Beauty I
Western Beauty II
Western Beauty III
Chur Tao Wong
Chak Ying Wui
A Song to Hypnotize Chow Long
Farewell to Ging Ngo at Yick River
Reporting for this show is Stacey, who ran around backstage with her camera-man, Donald Lee (Erick's Dad). Many thanks to Uncle Donald! :)
Makeup began at about 9:30 AM. The first makeup artists for the supporting cast to arrive were Linda Lee (Erick's Mom and Donald's Wife), Sandy Ng, Geem Yee Ho, Fung Yee Lee, and Emma Fong. Rainbow Chan (Denise and Tami's Mom) was busy ironing all the costumes. Later, Siu Fong Lee, Laura Ma, Tiffany Fong, and Janet Ma arrived to help out with makeup and costumes. This group was in charge of making the supporting cast beautiful...but not as beautiful as the main stars! Lai Ming Ma did Teresa Luk's makeup, and Chiu Ma ("Chiu Sok") also assisted with male characters' makeup. Of course, what makeup team would be complete without Lum Siu Fun, who was doing makeup for Veronica Lew and Alice Mak? Anson Lin was present as stage manager and also did makeup for male characters.
As the artists worked, they also chatted.
Linda sighed, "Ahh, youth is unbeatable," referring to the smooth skin
of the girl sitting in front of her. The other artists sighed in
agreement. "Sit still, I can't make you pretty if you squirm!"
shrieked another artist from across the room. "Ow," whined the
girls, who had their heads wrapped tightly. "Not so
tight!" "I don't want my eyebrows taped up! NOooooooooo!!"
came the resounding cries.
At about 12:00 noon, everyone backstage started going crazy as the big moment arrived. The supporting cast was barely finished with their makeup, still not dressed, and didn't have their heads on straight. "Where's the powder? Where are the head jewels!? Where's your costume?!" Everyone was running around like "headless chicken," looking for a missing headpiece or accessory. Miraculously, somehow, the makeup artists slapped everything on everyone and pushed them out just in time. The supporting cast members were performing in the first and third shows (Western Beauty Part I & III).
The hardest costume changes were for Ho Siu Bo, who was the star of all three first shows. He was barely able to get his costumes on right before his cues. Luckily, he did make it in time, every time.
After the intermission, the crazed frenzy of the
first three shows blew over, and the performers settled down. The
performers in the second half started to get nervous as their time
approached. Mom - I mean Emma - got her usual pre-performance headache and
tight throat, so I took a break from being nosy and sat her down for a
massage. Teresa Luk, who had just performed in Western Beauty II, took
turns with me in giving Mom a massage. Actually though, Mom said she was
very proud of herself that day. "I was able to take care not only of
myself, but also the girls, doing their makeup and clothes. And then I was
able to do my own makeup and hair, and go out there to perform...all without too
many 'big-headed shrimp' symptoms! Did I do ok?"
Veronica, who had her hair bound in a dai tow, complained, "This is worse than wearing a kwai [for her previous male role]!!! My head is throbbing!" She took two Advil for her pain but wasn't relieved much.
Of course, every show has problems, and this show was no exception. The sound gave all the performers a horrific time. The microphones weren't turned on, or up, until the performer had sung about 4-5 phrases, and the sound technicians would reliably fluctuate the volume so that there was a lovely mix of feedback and no sound coming from the microphones. To make matters worse, when the performer made a temporary stage exit, the microphone would NOT be turned off, so that you could hear, for example, Ho Siu Bo telling the stage hands to hand him a particular prop. Wong Sifu and Anson were about to have coronaries backstage each time the technicians decided to play around with the microphones. But overall, all the performers stood their ground and did not let the sound problems affect their performance too much.
In the flurry and excitement, we weren't able to catch everyone for an interview, but Alice Mak (Western Beauty I), Teresa Luk (Western Beauty II), Ho Siu Bo, Veronica, Emma, and supporting cast members Becky, Denise, Tami, and Lucy were able to sit down with us for a moment.
Stacey: I guess Becky will be my first
victim. She's just finished her first performance.
Stacey: What did you just perform?
Becky: I just did a show for Western Beauty. We were laundry girls.
S: Which one was you?
B: The one with the purple dress
S: How did you feel?
B: We were kind of rushed. Not really prepared.
S: How long ago did you start rehearsing?
B: Two, three weeks ago.
S: You've done this part before, so did that make it any easier, or harder?
B: We did the show last year in April. It was better then because the stage was bigger and we had more practice. This time we didn't practice that much, and we changed some of the routine. The stage was small so it was harder. We can't really move as much, or as freely. (Tami joins us) This is Tami. She was also in Western Beauty.
S: Which was was you?
Tami: The hot pink dress.
S: How did you feel about today's performance?
T: Ok. I messed up a bit, but other than that, it was ok.
B: Someone was smoking, so she almost got an asthma attack, like last time (January 2002 Leland Yee Performance)
S: Tami seems to have bad karma with this stage.
B: I know!
S: So both of you still have another performance coming up. What about that one?
B: We never practiced it before, so we don't know what we're doing, except following the leaders. So I feel like we're going to be screwed out there. (laughs)
S: Tami, how about you?
T: Same thing basically. Following the leader.
S: Who are you playing?
B: We're going to be fairies, or water spirits. Like I guess Western Beauty died, and we died along with her.
Stacey: Alice Mak is joining us for an interview. [Conducted in Chinese] (To Alice) Can you tell us the skit you've just performed?
Alice: Western Beauty, Part I, where Faan Lei finds Western Beauty in the village.
S: How did you feel about this performance?
A: It was ok, I guess. You know how it is, even if you practice at 100%, when you get on stage it's only about 90%.
S: You've done this show before. How did it effect your preparations or feelings in this show?
A: Last time, there were a lot of Sifus and people who told me that my facial expressions were quite blank. This time I hoped to relax more and have more facial expression. Also, Ho Siu Bo knew that this was my weakness, so he explained the story to me again and so I feel that this time, I was more relaxed.
S: This time you performed with a professional - the last time, you performed with an amateur. How was it different?
A: A professional will lead you throughout the skit. There are times he can pull you in the right direction, and his emotion and communication is, of course, superior. As a professional, he does teach us how to make our movements better.
S: How much time did you have to prepare for the show?
A: Sifu knew I've done this show before, so this time, we only practiced about three times.
S: Was it rushed?
A: A little. Ideally we should've had more time to practice. But I understand, because there were a lot of new females, so they deserved more time to practice.
S: How do you feel overall about this show?
A: I hope that overall, because everyone has worked hard, that the results will be good.
S: Anything else you want to add?
A: I hope I can learn from this, correct my problems, and enjoy what I did well!
Stacey: I'm going to catch Denise while she's trapped getting her hair done for her next show. She has a horrible headache from the head-strings, poor thing. How did you feel about the performance?
Denise: It was ok, except when I kind of crashed into someone. She was supposed to be in front of me, but she ended up behind me, so I was surprised and forgot what to do. But other than that, it was ok.
S: You've done this show before. Does that change anything?
D: I don't really remember much from the first time, so I can't really tell.
S: How often were you able to rehearse?
D: About two days.
S: A bit rushed then?
S: Did you feel totally prepared?
D: Not really, but we knew our parts, because we've done it before.
S: How about the next show?
D: We're just following. That's about it.
Stacey: Lucy, do you want to talk to us for a second? Can you tell us about your performance?
Lucy: it was really confusing, because in the part where we have to turn around, me and Tami didn't know where to go and how to turn.
S: You've done this show before, so did you feel better about it? Of course, it's been a year since the last performance.
L: They changed some of it and I think before it was easier because we didn't have to turn as much or do a figure eight.
S: Did you feel better about this time, or last time?
L: I felt better last time.
S: How about your next performance?
L: I'm really nervous because I'm afraid of stepping on my ribbons. We only practiced three weeks.
S: A little rushed?
S: Here we are, with Becky, Denise, Lucy, and Tami. They're done now! How did you feel out there?
B: It was better than we thought.
S: Which of the two performances are you most satisfied with?
B: We knew the first one, we weren't just following. The headpiece for the second part is really heavy too.
S: Lucy, are you happy it's over or you want to do it again?
L: I'd like to do it again.
S: If you could describe this performance in one word, what would be be?
B: It was fun!
Stacey: Teresa Luk is sitting down with us for an interview. She was in the second show. [Conducted in Chinese] How did you feel about your performance?
Teresa: Well it was the first time, so I was a bit scared. Once I got on stage, it was like I lost all feeling. Luckily, I remembered all my lines.
S: Because it was the first time, did you feel especially scared? How do you think the experience will help you next time?
T: I don't know how I'll feel next time. This time I didn't feel too great; last night I didn't get much sleep, and my mind was a blank on stage. Maybe I was too excited??
S: What was it like working with a pro?
T: Working with a professional, if I don't know what I'm doing, it doesn't really matter because he can lead. I did as much as I could. I knew he would be ok. I didn't have to worry about us clashing.
S: Would you prefer, in the future, to work with a pro or a friend?
T: A friend, because there's less pressure. You don't have to be afraid of holding them back if you don't do well.
S: How do you feel about this performance overall?
T: Ok, I guess. It was just pulled together in time.
Stacey: Here I am with Ho Siu Bo, the star of the day. Becky's sitting next to me for moral support - it's my first time conducting an interview ALL in formal Chinese. I'm kind of nervous! Anyways, here we go! Can you tell us what feelings you have towards this performance?
Ho Siu Bo: This time was the most exciting performance of the thousands I've done. All my friends were very passionate, very happy. Although it was a little hard, I'm very happy.
S: You did four skits this time. Normally when you do full length plays, it's even longer. What was the difference?
H:Very different. For full length plays, you get scenes where you can rest and don't have to be in the scene. In this one I was in every scene. For example in Western Beauty, the scenes are spread out enough that you can take a break. In this one I barely had time to change or anything before getting pushed out again.
S: You partnered with four different females for this show. How did you feel about having so many different partners?
H: Every lady was just as smart. Everything was great. All the four beauties were together; they had everything!
S: Which was your favorite skit?
H: Each one. Each skit had its unique qualities.
S: Did you enjoy working with amateurs as in this show, or would you prefer working with professionals as you did with the Cham Gong troupe?
H: Each method has its own advantages.
S: For example?
H: Professionals can do prepare a full length play in ten days. It's all ready - costumes, music, everything. For this one, we practiced much longer. We practiced seven times and it still wasn't ready. Professionals don't need as much time to get ready. But the four ladies I worked with were pretty good. It ended up going ok. At first they were scared, afraid they would walk in the wrong direction. But everything went smoothly.
S: How did you feel about the supporting cast this time (pointing to Becky)?
H: Great! They put in their effort, and looked prettier than I could. They're young, pretty...
B: Are you saying that just because I'm sitting here?
H: I'd say it even if you were standing there!
S: How about if she wasn't there?
H: I'd still say it!
S: In your last performance, with Veronica, your sword fell apart on stage. How did you react to it?
H: Yeah, the tassel was too light, and when I swung the sword around, the tassel just fell off.
S: Did you feel the performance was rushed?
H: No. I feel that we prepared in time. Everything was just right.
H: I hope we can do this again. I'd like to do it with all the ladies here - the American ladies, the ABC ladies, the ABC Western Beauties.
Stacey: Now it's Kite Ma's turn to be my victim! How did you feel about your performance?
Veronica: Still walking on the clouds.
S: Did you feel the preparations were rushed?
V: Yes, just wish we had more time in training.
S: Did the performance live up to your expectations? Are you satisfied?
V: Yes, I am happy with it.
S: Would you do it again?
V: It depends on what, where, when and with whom....
S: Kite Ma, this was your first time performing as a female. In an earlier interview with us, you said that you preferred the male role because it's easier for you. After a successful performance as a female, do you feel the same way?
V: Again, it depends on what, where, when and with whom.....
S: For your next show, would you like to be female or male?
V: A male with your Mom is most preferable.
S: Do you still like the idea of doing both roles, or do you think it's time to stick to one?
V: I like to be flexible.
S: In an earlier interview, you said that while it's great working with a pro, you prefer to stick to your own friends. Do you still feel the same way?
V: I enjoyed working with a pro too, but he must have good personality, Paul is a good one.
S: You were able to become closer to Ho Siu Bo - do you still consider him a pro, or a friend? Would you work with him again?
V: He is more like a friend now because we start talking things other than opera. I would enjoy working with him again if opportunity arises.
S: Ho Siu Bo mentioned to us that he looks forward to another opportunity to do shows like this again. What do you think about that?
V: He told me he had a great time too, it's his first experience working with non-pros and he didn't expect the outcome could be so great. He said he was very impressed by us and I know he means it.
Stacey: And of course, how could Mum POSSIBLY get away without answering my nosy questions? Hahaha. Mummeeeee, this time, you totally took care of yourself (with the exception of having someone zip up your costume). And you took care of the supporting cast for other shows as well. Not too many big headed shrimp symptoms. Are you proud?
Emma: Of course!! I am only a medium headed shrimp now.
S: Your past two performances and upcoming one (July) have been only singing. Why are you sticking to the singing route now? Do you just have too many pretty dresses and want an excuse to wear them?
E: Yes, I need to show off my regular wardrobe, plus your Kite Ma had my stage head and costume. The audience can recognize them if I do opera shows this year, right?
S: Each time you've performed, you've gotten a headache and had a tight throat. But when you went out there, it's been ok. Why do you think this happens?
E: I don't really have a headache or throat problem; just in case I don't do well, I can have a good excuse.
S: This time was the first time you performed with CONTACT LENSES, instead of going out there blind. Did you like it?
E: LOVE IT! Definitely getting LASIK.
S: Who did you see out there?
E: Laura and Linda telling me to adjust my microphone (laughs), and YOU, giving me a signal to smile and hold my song-book lower so I could show off my spaghetti straps. Unfortunately they were hidden underneath the shawl I was wearing.
S: You have a lot of stage experience. How did this show differ from others you've done in the past? How did this particular stage affect your performance?
E: Actually, this is my second time on this stage, and I was only singing, so I really can't tell the difference (I have to live up to my image, hahahaha, I didn't pay attention to the stage or environment because I was so nervous.) In the past, I went out onto the stage blind, so I really can't tell what's going on and who's there. This is the only time I could see, so I can't compare.
E: In my past shows, most of my roles are tragic. This is the first time I get to be cute and flirt a bit with my "honey," hahahaha.
S: Which do you prefer then, the tragedy or the cutesy?
E: I like them both; I just like being able to master each character that I perform as. I enjoy being versatile.
After the show, there was the customary celebration dinner, compliments of the SF CCC. We went to Sun Hung Heung. The food was unique and quite good; unfortunately there wasn't enough of it! Everyone was only about half full. However, everyone was so high that nothing could quell the excitement of the performers. I was sitting at a table with Veronica, Eugene, Wah Ma, Becky, Mom, Dad, Wong Sifu, and Ho Siu Bo. Henry Tang's wife also joined us. Wong Sifu and Ho Siu Bo had nonstop compliments, and Wong Sifu expressed enthusiasm for doing a similar show in the future, also with Ho Siu Bo. They drank to their success and cooperation.
I love doing this stuff. I think I'm just a really inquisitive person, and like to learn what's going on behind the scenes.
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