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Vincent Chang
Digital Life, The Straits Times
Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

News, Science And Tech

What's in... Adrian Pang's office

Digital Life, The Straits Times | Vincent Chang | Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

Homegrown actor Adrian Pang with his WD My Passport Pro hard drive.

Actor Adrian Pang professes to be ignorant about technology. "I still live in the Dark Ages," he quipped.

A late adopter of the mobile phone, he recalls that his own was "distinctly not very smart until two years ago". He is still getting used to a new Apple iPhone 5s.

But put his favourite gadgets in front of him and he waxes lyrical about how amazing and fantastic they are - without dredging up specifications and jargon.

The Pangs' in-house tech guru is wife Tracie, who comes to his rescue for all tech-related matters, from switching on a gadget to backing up the contents ("90 per cent are family photos and only 5 per cent is work") of his Apple MacBook.

The husband-and-wife team heads four-year-old theatre company Pangdemonium. With a new play - The Rise & Fall of Little Voice - opening on May 2, he is busy rehearsing for his role as a sleazy talent scout who discovers a shy reclusive girl (played by Mina Kaye) with a unique talent for voice impersonations.

Little Voice, which is adapted from a British play, is not often produced, according to Pang.

"We have always loved the script, but there was never going to be a way for us to do it," he said. The reason: it requires a female lead capable of singing in the manner of renowned divas from the past, such as Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland.

He recounts the story of how playwright Jim Cartwright was inspired to write it after hearing British actress Jane Horrocks "messing about with all these voices" backstage.

"Strangely enough, when I was working with Mina a year and a half ago on a show, I heard her messing about, and I was like, oh my!"

Last year was a good year for his theatre company. Musical Next To Normal won the Production of the Year awards from both critics and readers in the Life! Theatre Awards 2014 last month. Pang himself took home the Best Actor accolade for Rabbit Hole, another Pangdemonium production.

"It was a very tough year," he said. "The shows that we chose as a company are not very immediately commercial. A lot of the stories and themes we were dealing with last year were a bit dark." But he believes that those stories needed to be told.

"Awards are the icing on the cake. More important for us, the audience was coming. And after seeing these shows, they were reaching out to us and thanking us for telling these stories," he said.

Despite the increased responsibilities that come with running a theatre company, Pang is enjoying it.

"This is like the daughter we never had. It is really like nurturing a four-year old; every production that we do is like a school project that our daughter is doing," he said.

His two sons, Zack, 14, and Xander, 13, have also performed in local stage and TV productions. Pang jokes that they have been bitten by the acting bug and that he can "forget about them being lawyers or doctors".

"We are not pushing them at all. So if this is something that they want to pursue, then fine. But they see daddy and mummy doing this every day and they know the hours we put in. It's not easy and you will never get rich doing what we do."

You can catch Pang in The Rise & Fall of Little Voice from May 2 to 18 at the Drama Centre Theatre.

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