Preview-Don Yuan-Aurora Theatre


By: Meaghan McGurgan

Don Juan has been a popular story for centuries and has been adapted many, many times. And of course, everyone has met someone like Don Juan, or at least someone who would like to be like him. So, the play is drawing on something everyone knows. Our version is meant to be light -- it's primarily a comedy; plus it draws on a lot of local material. I expect audiences will go away thinking "I know someone exactly like Don Yuan."- Peter Gordon

Fans of last year's Duetto will be happy to know that beloved local actress/director Nicole Garbellini and playwright/author Peter Gordon have teamed up for another modernized opera project. Don Yuan is a delightful adaptation of The Rogue Of Seville or in the original Spanish El Burlador De Sevilla by playwright/monk Tirso de Molina. You might also know this story as Don Giovanni/ The Barber of Seville/ The Trickster of Seville/ The Stone Guest/Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre, or the most recent adaptation Don Jon starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. Don Juan is one of the most iconic characters in literature. He has been adapted by hundreds of playwrights and taken on by many composers over the years, most famously Byron, Moliere and Mozart; Peter Gordon was all too happy to take a Hong Kong spin on this infamous playboy.

The play describes itself as such: "Donald Yuan (Don to his friends) has led a life of tearing through elite universities, fast cars and women (fast or otherwise). Ollie, a minder assigned to him by his politically well-connected father, is reduced to keeping watch while Don adds another notch to his blog. But Don Yuan's life has caught up with him, and now he's in court to answer for the consequences of his behaviour. Three women who know him all too well are witnesses for the prosecution. Don's past comes back to haunt him, in more ways than one."

Mr. Gordon is a big fan of making opera and other classic stories accessible to people of all backgrounds. He enjoys exploring these timeless tales and exposing them to new audiences. “These are great stories,” he says. “People have been watching them and laughing at them for centuries. By updating them and resetting them locally, they take on a new life.”

Don Juan is a very well known character in theatre and opera. So iconic that he became a slang term for "womanizer".  When asked why Don Juan is so prolific,  Peter Gordon states: "Don Juan is one of those very few characters, like Don Quixote or Faust, that have come to embody something universal. So we also have "Faustian bargains" and "tilting at windmills". But Don Juan is the only one of these based in relations between the sexes and so it's hardly surprising that he's the one which has entered daily language to such an extent. The psychological part of the answer is that the character must touch something rather deep inside a great many people."

There is a cast of many colors taking parts in this production; you'll certainly feel HK's melting pot when you look at the stage. Ms. Garbellini is a big fan of multi-cultural casting and working with new faces. Although working with people from all over the world can be a bit of challenge, as people have a myriad of acting styles, she enjoys learning from them and making the rehearsal process a collaborative experience. "Our cast is a mix of background and nationalities: we have actors from England, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Spain and Sweden. It is great to bring such diversity together in Hong Kong and to have a script that allows us to do that. We have worked on blending all this diversity together, trying to maintain its unique essence. The play is an ensemble piece and, like all the pieces of the sort, it requires focus and pace from everybody at the same time, all the time."

The production has received the support of the Spanish Consulate-General and Spanish Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Dante Alighieri Society. Juan Morales, who has been coordinating the involvement of the Spanish community as well as advising on the literary underpinnings of the play, hopes that this production will help expose Hong Kong audiences to classic Spanish literature. Many people don't know that Don Giovanni was originally a Spanish piece written by a monk.

Don Yuan is playing at the Fringe Underground Theatre from June 4th through 7th at 7:30pm. There is also a matinee performance on Saturday at 3pm. Tickets for this production are 220HKD with additional discounts for students, seniors, persons with disabilities and Fringe Club members. It's being recommended for ages 8 and older. Nicole recommends the show for children and families as it's a fun way to expose kids to opera. We've had a chance to read the script and there's no language or content that would offend little ears (although there is a sequence where Don Yuan gets sent to hell that might be a bit disturbing to very young viewers).

For more information about this production, click here.


No comment at the moment.

Post New Comment