Veteran actor a father to his students
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The Dean of Drama at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts is a veteran director and actor in theatre, film and television with numerous awards to his credit. But at the School of Drama, he has acted as a dad to many students for nearly two decades.
'I am most amused to see my students' growth,' smiled Chung King-fai. After graduating from Pui Ching Middle School, he furthered his studies at Chung Chi College and gained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.
'Some people may think that it is impossible to learn or teach acting, because it relies heavily on natural talent, but I disagree. I believe knowledge and accomplishment improve one's performance,' he said, which explains why Chung took a further course in television, film and broadcasting at New York University.
He became one of the founding deans of the academy in 1983 and said he wanted to promote the development of drama in Hong Kong by introducing the Theatre of the Absurd and Broadway musicals to the local audience.
His contributions are impressive.
During his 16 years, many talented actors have passed through the academy's doors. And all of them have been a son or daughter to this distinguished father.
'Look at Chan Kam-hung [famous television actor] and Leung Wing-Chung [famous television actor and DJ], they were so green at that time!' he said, pointing to pictures of the actors taken in 1989.
More than 400 students apply to the academy every year, but only 20 to 25 are accepted. Each candidate is given a preliminary audition. If they pass that, they take a second audition and then a final interview to prove their talent.
The preliminary audition, usually held in June, is made up of two parts. The first part is the presentation of two contrasting pieces - one is the candidate's choice and the other is set by the School. The second part is a song of the candidate's choice.
A couple of weeks later, can didates have to present two contrasting pieces chosen by themselves and provided by the school. They also have to perform a mime and a one-minute talent performance, such as a dance or song.
'We appreciate candidates with talents, but whether they are really good singers or not is not the point. After all, Dustin Hoffman doesn't sing well. However, their will to be professional actors and readiness to work at it for a lifetime is a must,' Mr Chung said.
Candidates' expectations and their commitment are discussed in the final interview.
Chung also said that a potential actor should possess wisdom, the ability to utilise emotion, a sense of rhythm and good movement. And, most importantly, have a sense of the truth.
'Sense of truth means that they have to act with their heart. They have to believe what they are acting is real and also to make audience believe,' Chung said.
Chung said that students wanting to become actors should make sure they are passionate about their goal and be determine to work hard.
He said that they could prepare themselves by watching lots of dramas, reading scripts and taking part in amateur plays to gain practical experience.
'The path of drama is never too easy. Graduation gives you a foundation of knowledge, but it is just the beginning of the journey,' he said.