Hong Kong Sinfonietta brings cartoon pig McDull to life
Choreographer Yuri Ng plays the plucky piglet in a stage performance that fuses animation and a classical music score to tell the story of character's humble beginnings
Hong Kong's favourite piglet is returning to the stage this month accompanied by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and a real-life twist.
For the first time in the history of the McDull series, the plucky animated piglet is fully fleshed out as a character in the form of award-winning choreographer Yuri Ng Yue-lit (left).
Based on the 2014 film McDull: Me & My Mum, the production involves animated graphics, classical music and a one-man live performance.
"By bringing McDull to life, it opens a lot of possibilities for ways to interpret the story," says Ng, who will be playing the piglet.
"I'm not a mascot, but a human playing the role of Detective Bobby."
Although the dialogue will be Cantonese, language should not be an issue, according to Ng. "If the music, visuals and tone of my voice can convey something to the audience, then maybe it's not about the language," he says.
As a former professional ballet dancer, Ng does not usually use his voice to express himself on the stage, which makes this role unique for him. However, he says that he will instinctively incorporate dance elements when reciting monologues.
"In the course of delivering it verbally, I expect that my body will react which will add another layer to the character."
Ng was chosen by the production's co-directors Brian Tse Lap-man and Alice Mak Ka-bik, who also created the series, to portray the successful detective. As Detective Bobby Mak, Ng will provide narration and voiceovers interspersed with dance and emotional music from the sinfonietta to tell the story of McDull's humble beginnings.
With the multifaceted nature of this production, there were some challenges. "Of course, you have to memorise everything, but you still have fun with it and not just blab everything out," he says.
Although Ng believes children will enjoy the production and "laugh throughout the show", he doesn't think McDull should be only for children. He feels the stories crafted by Tse and Mak have deeper underlying messages that should resonate with the adults in the audience, such as the loss of innocence, the passage of time, regret and unrequited love.
"In Hong Kong, people tend to underestimate children's literature," says Ng. "We think children can only understand simple things, but McDull's story is full of hidden messages that the audience can only understand after they've grown up and experienced life a bit."
Ng can relate to the obstacles that McDull faced in the story.
"I not only see McDull, but I also see myself because we all probably went through a lot of these things as children," he says.
City Hall Concert Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, August 19-22, 7.30pm; August 21-22, 3pm, HK$150, HK$260, HK$380. Inquiries: 2836 3336, or go to hksl.org