PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 11:10pm
With a smartphone and a portable speaker set up in the corner, the leads and chorus of Miss Rose broke out in song and dance before rehearsals had even begun. From their dedication and drive, you could be forgiven for thinking the cast members were seasoned actors.
But they’re not. In an unusual collaboration between Theatre Noir and property agency Swire, the cast of the musical mostly comprises senior business executives.
“Most of the cast members are office professionals,” says Babby Fung, marketing director of Swire. “We have four professional actors in the main cast, and the rest of the players are from industries such as banking, advertising and even medicine.”
This is not the first time Theatre Noir has worked with amateur actors; its annual summer musicals are almost exclusively performed by students. But the company’s artistic director William Yip says Miss Rose is the first of its kind in Hong Kong to be performed by office workers.
“If you like musical theatre, you don’t have to be all trained,” says Yip. “Your passion and power on stage will shine naturally. We’re here to provide a platform for you to shine.”
According to Yip, more than 170 hopefuls showed for the auditions.
“We believe that there are people here who want to do musical theatre, but their dreams have been long forgotten,” says Yip. “Those dreams and passions were pushed aside by the realities of life.”
Miss Rose aims to tell the tales of the people acting in it. “We are telling the stories of these office professionals,” says Yip.
“We even got some of the stories from the cast themselves. So office workers viewing Miss Rose will find their lives are reflected on stage.”
Ronald Chan — a vice-president at an international bank — plays one of the main characters. He has no previous acting experience.
“I’ve always had an interest in performing and singing, but never had training or any serious involvement,” says Chan.
“It’s a great opportunity for someone who works in the corporate world to be involved in something creative,” says Chan. “It’s not every day that I get to participate in something like this.”
Mandy Tong, a member of the chorus, is another vice-president with a multinational. She has similar sentiments. “I want to keep on with my passion for drama and theatre,” says Tong, “I want to give it another chance.”
Tong says that the Miss Rose rehearsals allowed her to recharge after a long day at work.
Chan agrees. “It’s important to have a hobby that you’re passionate about. It makes for a whole new experience,” he says.