Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Archive for the ‘Saturday cultural main page’ Category

Lightning strikes Macau for Grease musical

Posted by Kimberly on October 27, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 27, 2007, page 16 (970 words)

Just the word brings up images of pink ladies, a 1948 Ford and blue eyes. The blue eyes belong to Danny Zuko, of course. Who could forget that moment in the movie, when John Travolta turns at the sound of his name and those eyes stare right into your soul before the cheeky grin follows.
Yet, while many no doubt believe that the world-famous, box-office smash starring Olivia Newton-John along with Travolta was the original, this was far from the case.
Grease began as a musical, back in 1971. The current musical gracing Macau’s Cultural Auditorium over the next three nights is an updated version of that, not the movie itself, as explained Director Ray DeMattis.
“The original musical was more like a play. There weren’t musical numbers. There were two people that sang or Danny sang his ballad but there weren’t big dance numbers in the show.
“That’s something that changed from what was first produced in the early 70s to what we’ve been working on in 2000.
He added that the current versions include more dance, with the school dance “it’s own explosive number, even the opening into Summer Nights has a lot more choreography,” not to mention that famous song ‘Beauty School Dropout’ being sung gospel style. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Argentine export not to be picked at

Posted by Kimberly on October 20, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 20, 2007, page 18 (928 words)

Most countries with a rich history seem to have their equivalent of the guitar: with India, it’s the sitar, while Italy has the mandolin and in the case of Argentina and South America in general, there’s the charango.
And when it comes to that ancient instrument, the name Jaime Torres, is without a doubt, synonymous. For one does not appear to exist without the other.
“I know I’m a part of the work of beginning this up again from South America,” he said.
It is through Jaime’s efforts, that the almost forgotten musical instrument has seen a revival.
Of the instrument itself, a ten-stringed member of the lute family, traditionally made with the shell of the back of an armadillo, Jaime admitted to owning many and wanting “to have many more.”
The first historic information on the charango dates back as far as 1814, while in the case of Jaime, he has been playing it since the age of five.
“I have instruments from 1942,” he boasted. In those days, and even earlier, during the 1930s, says Jaime “nobody could identify with this type of music,” adding that if he were to ask for a replacement string for the instrument all he would get in response was a blank stare. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joey, the dragon and the monk

Posted by Kimberly on October 13, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 13, 2007, page 18 (1,021 words)

It’s difficult not to fall in love with the latest work of local artist Joey Ho Chong I, considering it’s based entirely on the idea of magic.
The 30-year-old, who hinted at her age being close to that number, is showing her third exhibition at Creative Macau with the open reception occurring last night.
Asked where she received her inspiration from this time, Joey admits it came from a classical Chinese story, the novel titled ‘Journey to the West’, a tale involving students, magic, a monk and a monkey king, among other highly fantastical creatures.
“It’s a very interesting story the first time I read it and so I did again,” she said adding that she found “lots of special characters inside.”
So she chose three creatures and one human, the monk, to depict her art.
“One character is very wicked, always needing protection from the monkey king,” she said, adding that the story is a true one, about a monk in the Tang dynasty, searching for the holy bible. Read the rest of this entry »

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When pulling strings leads to world acclaim

Posted by Kimberly on October 6, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 6, 2007, page 18 (1,094 words)

In a world where those that hold the strings have the power, Petr Vodicka, General Manager of the Prague National Marionette Theatre is most definitely puppet master.
In Macau as part of the 21st Macau International Music Festival, Petr, who has been with the Theatre for 13 years, knows pretty much everything there is to know about marionettes.
Such theatre has long been a means of enjoyment in the Czech Republic, for at least the past 150 years.
“It used to be performed for children as a theatre whether in the kitchen or on a table. I think it used to be a playmate for children in those days.
“Of course now it’s Barbie,” said Petr, adding that this sort of theatre was never meant for adults in the beginning.
A marionette is the name for a type of puppet controlled by strings, where the operator is hidden from the audience.
Of puppetry, Oscar Wilde once wrote, “There are many advantages in puppets. They never argue. They have no crude views about art. They have no private lives.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Making an opera out of something

Posted by Kimberly on September 29, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
September 29, 2007, page 18 (1,091 words)

The cast of Rigeletto have just two and a half weeks to convince a Macau audience that the Verdi opera is one guaranteed to make a dramatic impact at the upcoming International Music Festival next month.
Judging by the passion and fervour that has been extended to this task by both the actors and the crew, they have nothing to worry about, despite this being the first performance of the opera in Macau.
Julie Edwardson from Opera Australia has been given the job of Revival Stage Director for the opera and admits that they only have a single day off, the one before the big performance, in which to rest.
“I’m used to four weeks in Australia to put on a revival [and] it’s double cast as well,” she says, but adding that everyone had been “really fantastic to work with.”
It’s not as dramatic and worrying as it sounds though, given that “everyone who is performing the roles have done the roles before so it means that you can take short cuts in terms of analysing text and things like that,” she says.
With a cast that encompasses some 16 countries, it shows an incredible diversity. Read the rest of this entry »

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