Artist of the Month- April- Nicole Garbellini West

Recently she has become a power producer of Aurora Theatre putting on plays like Glengarry Glen Ross and Coffee and Cigarettes at the Fringe Club. 
When we first started working together back in the day on Mary Ignatius, Nicole spoke to me about how actors with accents were not really used in the HK scene very often. I think that Hong Kong is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and accents. We should embrace it as part of our talent fabric.  She's one of the most open people in town about wanting new talent. So, if you're new in town and don't know where to get started in the theatre scene she is the lady to contact.  She is super friendly and loves to give advice to newbies in town. She also likes finding new actors to put on stage!
1. Name, Birthplace, Age
Nicole Garbellini-West. Born in Italy on the 22/6. Age? You guess.....
2. How does where you were raised affect your work?
Well, as we all know, Italians tend to be very dramatic and very expressive too. Commedia dell'Arte was, indeed, born there. I have no doubt absorbed the energy of this style of theatre!

3. Where did you train?
I was hired by Teatro Delle Albe to play Helena in Midsummer Night's Dream, back in 2001. I have worked with them for many years, but this was my first professional show performed all around Italy. They taught me everything there, from voice work( gosh, that was tough, nevermind it was in my first language) to body work and physicality. Marco Martinelli, my director at that time, has been a great master for me. 

4. What is your favorite style of ( theatre)? Why?
I love comedies. Even better if they are related to Commedia Dell'Arte. Laughs save my day, make my day, and to make people laugh is one of the best feeling that l can possibly ever experience. My face can confirm this, l have two massive wrinkles all around my mouth from laughing! Ha!

5. What was the best show you EVER saw?
My first choice would be Italia/Brasile: 3 a 2. ( translated would be: Italy/Brasil: 3-2) one man show performed in a super basic space, with nothing but a chair where the actor sat for all the time, and three musicians next to him. Everything was in the actor's voice and his monologue, which was about the final match of Italy against Brazil during the World Cup in 1982. Italy won the game, and the whole thing was huge . Every Italian would know about it. But the show wasn't just about soccer; loads of themes about Italy was mentioned, from the politics to the holocaust. It was unbelievable. 
Another great show l have seen was at the West End in London, a musical called Jersey Boys. The show was about Frank Valli and his band, The Four Seasons. Even though l don't define myself as musical person, l simply loved this one: the music, the actors' performance, the space. The show itself broke away from the usual standards of musical theatre, perhaps that's why l liked it so much.

6. What was the best show in HK you EVER saw? (You cannot say your own.)
I would then say Arcadia, by Orpheus. Great choice of play, great (and of course) right casting, fantastic set. A very well portrayed show. Also, Responsibilities, locally written play by Adrian Tilley and produced by Perilous Mouth, was a very interesting show to watch.

7.What piece of work are you the most proud of? (please include photo, if possible)
Can l include more than one? If so, We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay and Coffee and Cigarettes. Closer and Private Lives made me pretty happy too. I must say l am proud of everything l work on, as it is always an achievement and another lesson learnt, for me.

8. What is your process like?
It changes all the time, according to the people l work with.

9. What is your dream project?
I have so many ideas...l'll keep it as a secret, for now.

10. If you could change one thing about the art scene in HK, what would it be?
Oh, can l change more than one? First of all, the lack of performance spaces, and their crazy rent prices, followed by the lack of rehearsal spaces ( unless one is willing to pay big bucks for it), the lack of support by the Government as far as English Theatre is concerned, and people not willing to cross the harbour to go and see a show. If all these things could change, HK would be a happier theatre city.
Nicole has a show coming up in May; she is producing Talking With by Jane Martin. A great female driven piece that had an earlier preview at her show, Coffee and Cigarettes. If you loved the French Fries monologue performed by Faith Lawson. You'll love this show! More details to come later. Just get in your mindset that May is going to be a fabulous month for theatre in our city!