Taking the “Family” on Stage to the “Family” on the Field
By Coach Mark
Recently, I was invited to attend a play from one of our senior players. A play! I honestly did not know what to expect. The play ran 2 shows for 4 consecutive days in June at the Janet Pomeroy Center right next to the San Francisco zoo. I invited two other senior players to come along, AL and EL.
The invitee, Randall Fung, is a first year football player at Galileo. It will also be his last year because he’s a senior. Randall has been working diligently with offensive coördinator, coach Don, on his quarterback skills. Although Randall has a few essential skills required for that position, his lack of experience is his disadvantage when compared to two younger quarterbacks, a junior (A. Rubi) and a sophomore (K. Nelson). In this predicament is where Randall shines because he knows where he stands as a quarterback and yet, he continues to work hard at that position so that he can be the best he can be. He attends QB meetings and workouts. He will play any position that is needed during practice, like being a fullback at a spring practice. He’s not a complainer, he’s blue-collar worker on and off the field who knows what it means to be a part of a team.
At the play, there were over 100 kids from various summer day camps and guests like me and guests from the Janet Pomeroy Center. So, I didn’t know what to expect until it actually started. I like plays, at least most of them. The last one I saw was “Billy Elliot” in London and thoroughly enjoyed it. “Singin’ in the Rain” ranks as one of my all-time favorite movies. What amazes me are the broad range of talent these things require: acting, singing, and the physical demands of dancing and acrobatics. As a football coach and a weekend warrior, I appreciate the athleticism I see in Gene Kelly’s powerful dancing and the acrobatic scenes in Billy Elliot, especially when Billy bounces off the wall for a flip. Here I am, before the curtain opened, wondering if the Fung family’s play will be elementary and amateur, or will it have a chance to be like “Billy Elliot” and “Singin’ in the Rain”.
The opening act was comical. Randall, along with two other younger actors, had a difficult time communicating while trying to set up for a celebration in front of a castle. It reminded me of the “Make ‘em Laugh” routine in “Singin’ in the Rain” and yes, Randall’s scene made me laugh. We all laughed. We don’t see Randall until the dramatic ending with the battle scene involving two wizards conjuring up warriors and animals to fight. The audience actually jumped when the first explosion went off. Randall was the abominable snowman caught in a losing battle. I was very impressed with the dramatic and climatic fight sequences.
When the curtain closed and after all the kids and guests have filed out, the three of us found Randall to thank him for inviting us. We met the whole family and got a VIP backstage tour from Randall’s uncle. As an art teacher, I appreciated the details put into making the trees and the props. The giant tree at stage right was not a tree painted on cardboard or wood. It had leaves, a trunk that was 3-dimensionally layered with texture, and a branch that snaps in half during the battle scene. Needless to say, the costumes and everything else was just as finely made.
The Trailer (if it there was one)
Opening text: “A new play…brought to you by the “Friends Of…”…a family event 21 years in the making…”
Then a bunch of video clips to fry your brain as loud music plays: “a village celebrating”, “a dance scene in the 1950’s”, “a brother and sister looking for a clue”, “2 wizards dueling”, “animals and beasts fighting”, “explosions”, “more explosions”, “popcorn”, “the ice cream man doing an evil laugh”
A really, really slow video clip: “the evil wizard pushing an ice cream cart”
The big title text read by that movie voice guy: “Mystery..of..the..Wizards!”, “a Fung Family and Friends performance you don’t want to miss”, “starring Randall Fung, in his last performance role before college”, “his dad as the good wizard”, “his little brother as the…little brother”
Ending video clip: “the tiger turning to the camera and growling”
Closing text: “opening in June 2011”
The Randall Fung Interview
GFB: Hey Randall, thanks for coming out here for this interview. You mind me calling you Randy?
RF: Yeah, only my mom calls me Randy so it’s kinda’ weird.
GFB: Ok, sorry about that Randall. You are a senior this year at Galileo, how long have you been in these plays?
RF: Since I was 3, you do the math.
GFB: Wow, that’s a long time! I can’t imagine what your audition looked like. I mean, was it just a lot of goo-goo and gah-gahs?
RF: Haha, I really don’t remember. Probably included a few diaper changes too. I think I passed the interview when I was born into the Fung family.
GFB: What do you mean?
RF: My uncles, Dr. Gordon Fung and Dr. Gregory Fung with their families and friends felt that the values of sharing and caring were worth passing on to the community and the next generations. They wanted to give back to the community that helped to raise them as they were born and raised in San Francisco. The group gathered in a relative’s living room and discussed different ways to present this idea. We felt that a good way is to present a show to the community free of charge.
GFB: That is a noble effort! That’s got to be one of the most productive family gatherings in history. When did it start?
RF: We started our annual productions in 1990 and have continued ever since. There’s about a hundred family members and friends, including the volunteers of Delancy Street.
GFB: The name, “Friends Of…”, is a unique name. What does it mean?
RF: It’s because we perform at different places including Janet Pomeroy Center, so we call ourselves the “Friends Of ‘the Janet Pomeroy Center’”. If we perform at Galileo it would be “Friends Of ‘Galileo’”.
GFB: Ah yes, that makes sense. With school, sports and prepping for this play last semester. Did you sleep at all?
RF: I slept in coach Mark’s art class. (We both laughed.) Just kidding, I didn’t have his class but I’m sure it’s an excellent class. Last semester was definitely challenging, but through the year’s of this experience it has taught me to prioritize my time and to remain focused on my goal.
GFB: Okay, great job on the brownie points with the coach. What were some other challenges besides time management?
RF: What are brownie points?
GFB: You know, it’s like a touchdown but sweeter.
RF: Huh? Must be old-people humor. Well, to answer your question about challenges, the most challenging thing was getting the job done and doing it right; completing a lot of work in a short time, working with other actors to present our lines, and incorporating comments from others to improve, all the while trying to balance my schoolwork.
GFB: That’s a huge load. Do you think our football team can do this?
RF: Yes! Football, like my family’s productions, teaches us to work together to produce the best show we can and to overcome any potential obstacles in a positive way. In football, we review tapes of our past encounters with a certain team to find mistakes and ways to improve. In theater, we also review video footage of our shows from yesterday or the day before, picking at every little hand movement, body posture, and expression that would need improvement. It would be fun if the football team gave it a shot.
GFB: How about inviting 3 NFL players to join us. Who would you pick?
RF: I would choose Jim Harbaugh, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning. Each of these players showed determination, never giving up, and a motivation to improve.
GFB: I see. They’re all quarterbacks. Wouldn’t it be more exciting to have some 300 pound offensive linemen dance across the stage?
RF: Haha, probably but I don’t want to see coach Mark and coach Don end up in the hospital.
GFB: Right, good thinking. How about your kids in the future, will you do the same with them?
RF: Yes, absolutely. I believe this because a person who puts worthy values into action can grow as a person.
GFB: That’s a great quote right there-worthy values and growth. What advice can you give to a rookie, ready to sing and dance?
RF: Be willing to take advice and to be fully committed to doing something beneficial for others.
GFB: So, you did 8 shows in 4 days. What’s next? Hollywood?
RF: No, Hollywood didn’t call yet. We have one show lined up in December in the Tenderloin.
GFB: That’s after the football season. Looks like you can focus on being a football player for now and try to enjoy your senior year of high school.
RF: I can’t wait to get on the field and get better as a player.
GFB: That sounds good. We’re looking forward to seeing you contribute in the football program. Thanks for your time.
RF: Not a problem. Thanks for writing the article.
GFB: There you have it folks! Randall Fung, senior at Galileo, actor, football player, and all-around good guy.
*Randall is the honorary first player featured in what we hope would be a regular column for Galileo Football titled, “Featured Lion”.