My Big Gay Italian Wedding
For director Wendy Herbert, staging Anthony J. Wilkinson's
My Big Gay Italian Wedding offers an opportunity not only to present what she believes is a very funny play, but also to put a spotlight on an issue that she thinks has not been sufficiently widely discussed in Hong Kong: gay marriage.
"I think it is an important global issue, but the play is also a lot of fun, and it is probably a little bit different for Hong Kong," she says.
Premiered off-Broadway in 2003, the action is set in New Jersey, and concerns the comic complications attendant on an Italian American named Anthony Pinnunziato trying to marry his boyfriend, Andrew Polinski, in the face of various obstacles put in the couple's way by - among others - Pinnunziato's mother and a jealous ex.
The play is not easy to stage. The cast is a large one for the spaces in which it will be performed: first at the newly renovated Fringe Club and then for one additional performance each at Hemingway's in Discovery Bay and at Grappa's Cellar. "We have a cast of 16, which is a large number and presents certain issues, but nothing we can't handle," says the director.
Herbert stresses that sexual orientation was not an issue in casting and although some members of the cast are gay, both leads - Michael Rogers and Lester Clark - are straight.
"I've not actually worked with either of them previously. I had seen Lester in a play before, and then he came to our auditions, and I was delighted. He's very, very good," Herbert says.
"Michael Rogers is new to me entirely and he is so right for the role. I needed a couple of really strong guys. The play is very funny, but I didn't want it to be stupid or farcical."
Tickets are selling briskly, hence the additional performances.
Herbert promises an entertaining evening. "It's a fun play, whether you are gay or straight, or care about the issue or not. It opens up the subject in an easy manner."
WAG Productions' My Big Gay Italian Wedding,
Sept 25-29, 8pm; Sept 29, 2pm, the Fringe Club, HK$250, inquiries: 2521 7251. Additional performances: Oct 5, 8pm, Hemingway's Discovery Bay, HK$250, inquiries: 2978 8855; Oct 7, 8pm Grappa's Cellar Jardine House, HK$250, inquiries: 2521 3322