Thursday, July 14, 2011

Madame Butterfly too!

Hey Chia!

Such a lucky girl!!! Flowers from home!!! =D I think it's wonderful that the flowers they had chosen for you were so similar! It means that more than one person thinks of you as bright, sunny and fun! Well, that's what I think of when I see you and when I see those colours!

Oh my lordy! Madame Butterfly is the first opera I saw/heard too! And, I love it too!

I was in year 3 when my Dad played it for me. He then took me to His Majesty's Theatre in the city. I remember that we walked down an alleyway and through a side door. We then entered this room and I saw all these girls around my age, sitting all pretty in their dresses on the floor. I had no idea what was going on, but for some reason I thought we were late. I didn't even get a chance to sit down with those girls. As soon as we arrived, this man who was addressing the girls pointed to me and asked me to another room where another girl was. I thought I was in trouble for being late. It was only after the man dismissed the other girls did I realize what was going on. My Dad had brought me along to try out for a role!

So me and the other girl in the room ended up performing for the whole season.  We were makos during the wedding scene. But it was super fun! I loved it! I remember having to leave school early, then Dad or Mom would drive us to the train station and we had to walk to His Majesty's. I remember being worried for my Mom and Dad, because they would go home, and then come back late at night, and I was always scared that they would get mugged while walking the streets at night, in the City alone. You have to remember, back then, anything passed 7pm was late for me, and I rarely went to the City.


I remember not liking orange juice at the time, but the lady that looked after the child actors would offer us only orange juice or cold milo. I thought cold milo was weird, and so I chose the orange juice, which I learned to like. Eventually, I ended up trying the cold milo; and oh did my eyes light up!

After having our drinks, I remember that I would be taken to my dress room, and I would put on my white socks and wear these black thongs- I remember them being uncomfortable between my toes. I would always need assistance with my kimono. I would be spun around when they tied my obi, and when they stopped spinning me, I felt like a delicate butterfly. The kimono was so soft and weightless. I remember the lady who minded us saying to be careful not to spill our drinks on the dress because it was silk. I only knew about silk worms at the time, so I was confused about how the worms were able to be turned into such beautiful dresses.

I also remember one time being in the main dressing room, and the chorus ladies were doing their make up. I remember thinking "wow... they have those cool mirrors with the lights around them like in the movies! They are super stars!" And for some reason, I started singing the song "Do-ri-mi" from the Sound of Music (which I had already learned off by heart), and one of the ladies said "Oh! So very good!" and she started singing the song with me. Ah-hah... they were very nice ladies to humour me.

Oh side note- The only time we had full make up was for the dress rehearsal where the promotional photos were taken and the first show. I remember that because my Mom would always say to me when it was her turn to pick me up, "they never do your make up as good as the first few times. Ask the make up lady to do it nicely." I didn't ask of course, because I was too shy to. But looking back, its probably more practical to only do full make up at those times, because the audience is too far to see all the details.


One of the strongest memories that I have, is associated with the music. I remember me and the other mako, would stand and walk with the chorus ladies when they sung the song that led Cio-Cio-San out into the wedding. They would start singing the beginning part of the song behind the curtains. I remember that me and the other mako would started to sing loudly with the ladies. Their voices were so loud, that even when we tried to sing, we couldn't even hear our own voices! We obviously didn't know what we were singing, as it was in Italian, but we remembered the sounds and notes after hearing it over and over again during rehearsals.

I can't describe in words at what part of the song that we would make our way onto the stage, but its the part when Cio-Cio-San would start singing with the chorus. If you played the song, I could tell you exactly when! I actually only remember my first performance because... haha- I messed it up. I was the mako that led the progression, and on the last rehearsal, the director (he turned out to be the man that had chosen me and the other mako), changed the path that I was going to take. For some reason, when we started to walk out onto the stage, I was unsure which path to take, and I couldn't find the director. Was I to cross the bridge and the stand to the side of the path, or was I do the changed direction and cross the bridge and then walk to the front? I chose the old direction and just hoped I didn't mess up. Luckily, the other girl followed my lead, and so did everyone else. 

My teacher at the time, surprised me and came to watch my first performance. She waited for me till the end of the show, and told me how beautiful it was and that I did a great job. I told her I made a big mistake and explained what I did wrong, but she said that she didn't even realise it, and that I did the right thing by not stopping- the show must go on!

Me and the other mako stayed on stage for just the wedding part. Until the Bonze came. For some reason we were told by the director to act scared, and then run off stage when he appeared. Because we were told to act scared, I ended up being actually scared of him. I just remember him booming out "CIO-CIO-SAN!" and then start singing really angrily. I would also see Cio-cio-san's face and the reaction of the chorus who were all upset... Looking back now, I am sure he was actually a really nice guy.

Haha. Oh noes, I remember having a crush on Pinkerton. He had this crooked nose, wavy blonde hair and was in a sailor suit. He had a nice smile. I don't know why I had a crush on him. Perhaps because Cio-cio-san loved him. But I remember that at the last show, I was sitting on the couch in the back stage waiting for the show to end, and he walked passed me and the other mako and smiled at us. He then went away, and then came back with choc wedges. CHOC WEDGES WERE AWESOME BACK THEN! So I think I fell in love with him even more.

But yea. That's all that I can remember from that experience. All I have now, is a poster, a photo and the music. I lost the program!!! I wish I could find it! 

This is the poster which now hangs on my wall. Dad had told me to get the poster signed by all the actors (It took me forever to get the courage to ask for it) and the lady who looked after us ended up getting posters signed for all the children actors:

My signed poster
And, this one promotional photo of me walking across the bridge. I wasn't in an important role, so I was lucky to even get this photo, even if it is with my head down.

The chorus (Cio-cio-san's friends) and the Makos

I really wanted to see the ballet which was being performed by the Australian Ballet! But they never come to WA! =( You can see more info here

But yea, I will always enjoy Madame Butterfly. The opera is beautiful, the story is beautiful and the staging is beautiful.  I hope you enjoy seeing the performance for a second time!!

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