Review Fix Exclusive: Francis Mabborang Talks ‘The Rainbow Fish’

Review Fix chats with playwright Francis Mabborang, who discusses his new production, “The Rainbow Fish.”

About Mabborang: 

International performance artist, Francis Mabborang, dedicates himself to the arts – both in performance and education. He joins another production designed for the whole family – this one set to tour schools and, libraries, and arts organizations.

About Plaza Theatricals, Ltd:

Plaza Theatricals, Ltd. Is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to the performing arts. As part of Arts-In-Education Series, The Plaza Organization has delivered the magic of musical theater to students in the tri-state area. In addition, The Plaza Organization features fully-staged productions that features complete scenery, costume, props and sound system in bringing the classroom curriculum to life.

To start the year 2020, Plaza Organization is kicking off the year by staging a small-cast production of The Rainbow Fish with score, script and lyrics by Austin Zumbro, adapted from the international best-seller and award-winning book and illustrations by Marcus Pfister with its sensational message about friendship and belonging.

About the Production:

The Rainbow Fish will run from January 18 – February 26 in Bellmore, Marathon, Leahman PAC, S. Huntington Library, Massapequa, William Floyd, Centennial Hall, Garden City Rec, Queens College, Longwood Library, Middle Country Library, Great Neck Library, Plainview Old Bethpage Library and St. George Theater Staten Island. Tickets and more information are available through: www.plazatheatrical.com or contact (516)-599-6870 or email: plazatheatricals@gmail.com

This small-cast production was originally adapted by the renowned Bay Area Children’s theater and has become a TYA classic across the country. Plaza Theatricals is proud to present Kevin Cusi as the title role of Rainbow Fish, Peyton Bias as Little Fish, Stephanie Lavin as Starfish/Ms. Millow, Lisa Berman as Octopus/Puffer Fish/Hermit Crab and Filipino International Actor, Francis Mabborang as Sardine/Clownfish.

Tickets and more information are available through: www.plazatheatrical.com.

Review Fix: What was your inspiration behind this project?

Francis Mabborang: I got cast for Rainbow Fish Musical a few days after New Year’s Eve. It’s an amazing musical and story, perfect for children as it teaches valuable lessons such as humility, friendship and belongingness. I got my engagement at Laurie Beechman Theater through Shoshana Feinstein’s Famous in NY Presents concert. It’s a perfect time for me to capitalize as I am expanding my presence around the city. Laurie Beechman Theater is one of the renowned cabaret venues around and it also gives me the opportunity to work with Ben Moss who is our Music Director and showcase myself further as I keep on thriving to be the artist that I am.

Review Fix: What?s your creative process like?

Mabborang: I always rely on the material that has been given to me as I believe that is the best place to start: KNOWING THE MATERIAL.

For Rainbow Fish, I got cast for two rolees: Sardine/Clownfish. After our read through of the material, I am already having a sense of who are these characters are. For Sardine, he’s more laid back and street-like as he is described as “basic” – I tend to inject a little Brookkyn accent in there and his posture is relaxed and chill. For Clownfish, he was described as a posh, elite, belonged in upper class type of fish. My mind immediately went to the idea of using a British Accent and his poise is well composed and posture is more upright to indentify his social class. It was quite difficult to find the voices of these characters especially jumping from one accent, mannerism and posture to another but as I get theough rehearsals, it’s becoming easier because of repeating things and with the help of our director, Kevin Harrington.

For Famous in NY Presents concert, I am currently discussing which songs to sing with our Music Director, Ben Moss. I have a lot of songs in my book and when I do cabaret engagements, I don’t want to sing a song that is the same to another show unless the diretors happen to give me the same song. For this engagement, Ben and I have narrowed our song lists to a few real good ones that would ahowcase me better and put my best foot forward and these songs were with me since the beginning for a reason.

Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process/production?

Mabborang: I learned a lot. For both projects, I was brought back to basics in auditioning, preparation and efficiency. I haven’t been auditioning for a while since I got some stuff to do in the past few months such as Fluffy The Pine, A Christmastime in the City, The Panic Defense, etc. It’s refreshing as auditioning, preparation and efficiency is a continued practiced skill. It should be done continuously as it shouldn’t be just a muscle memory. Every audition, material and project is different. If we start learning everything by muscle memory and in fix template, we don’t allow ourselves to learn more, having things authentic and having a default comfort zone because everything is the same.

Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this for the future?

Mabborang: For this 2020, I just wish to continue getting booked for me to slowly progress in my career. Of course, Broadway, West End, Film and a possible music career is my goal but I would like to take one step at a time. Right now, my priority is for me to get my O1 visa by September the laterst as I am in my OPT. 2020 is a full throttle year for me.

Review Fix: What?s next?

Mabborang: Aside from Famous in NY Presents concert and The Rainbow Fish Musical, I am already exploring the playwright road. I have finished a first draft of a play I recently wrote and have shared it with a few collaborators I always work with to hear their thoughts as it is a the first play I have ever written. Once I get the feedback, I probably start working on the rewrites and start pitching it to different producers for me to work with and see how the story plays out on the stage.

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10100 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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