50 | Fat Pig.

fat pig

Got up today and immediately felt like something was very, very wrong.

Then I realized, at 10.50AM, that’s probably about the time I ought to be at TYC already. 😥

I may have mentioned to some before that we have no more regular weekly classes, just fortnightly meetings and workshops. I’ve been feeling the pang since leaving class – this whole week I’ve been an emotional trainwreck, then caught a flu bug, and been unnecessarily stressed out by unforeseen circumstances. Sounds like a terrible week, eh?

The only thing I had to look forward to was Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig, produced by Yellow Chair Productions today, to allay the pervasive sense of loss and emptiness that I’ve been grappling with all week.

Anyway, I met Elainn after Korean class today (thanks babe for agreeing to catch this production with me) and headed to Bugis+ where we shopped and had a great dinner at Manhattan Fish Market! She’s like this professional shopping buddy a.k.a friend who rejoices in telling you how ugly you’d look in *THAT*. We arrived at the Drama Centre in the nick of time!

Thoughts on the play as a whole: I felt like I got the gist of the play, but I wasn’t emotionally involved enough with the characters. The accents were distracting, the delivery was not truly “there” and I just couldn’t relate. I felt a twinge in my heart at the last scene, but other than that, all that was left to entertain was the comedy.

Issues-wise, I think more than just the ideals of beauty, self-image and the other issues that the programme said the play would deal with (and it did), I got more insights into love than anything else.

No one can truly answer concretely what is love, but let’s think about this for a second. Is love only between two people? What happens when the outside forces and circumstances that you can’t ignore (i.e. family, friends, society at large) come into play? Who do you listen to and heed? Is love capable of covering anything and everything? Perhaps it is too much to expect love to be able to encompass all the nasty things that can be thrown at two people in a relationship? Or maybe it’s what should be expected? How honest should we be in a relationship to quantify as truly ‘honest’? If one person holds back communicating in the name of protecting the other half, is he right or is he wrong?

The emotional moment of the play came for me in the last scene. I felt so much for Helen as she watched Tom disintegrate before her eyes. How painful it must be to be her in that moment in time – watching the man you love crumble because of issues that you introduced to the relationship, yet not being able to do anything about it.

Overall – a good day spent out with Elainn & boy oh boy I really do want/need to shop. It’s just that every time new shows come up, they are automatically propelled to the top of my wants list, and other things are pushed down again and again. No regrets though!

If you haven’t caught the play, you can get your tickets from TicketMash. 🙂

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49 | Love Life!

TYC lunchThis sinful goodness has been my lunch for past four (or six) TYC sessions 😉

Yesterday was the end of the first term of TYC and boy was it sad. 😦

For the next term we’ll be only meeting maybe once or twice a month? And you guys know I have grown so accustomed to seeing my lovely playwrights every week and I love them to bits and it’s just so heartbreaking! 😦

Anyway, the workload is bearing down, so I guess we all need our own time & space to get our pieces out. Plus I will still see many of them unexpectedly at events because yeah the circle is that small. 🙂

After lunch with the playwrights at Saizeriya (it’s become our ‘usual’) I headed off for Korean and then to Encore IV: Love Life!

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I remember being so excited about this show that early last week I already started posting things like “Can’t wait!” and doing free publicity (not that I mind). Then came the haze. And then TNS decided to cancel the shows.

What made the situation even worse was that people were complaining. Saying that TNS were wimps, that they were making mountains out of molehills, that they were being inconsiderate (without further elaboration). I read the comments and I recall feeling increasingly frustrated at them. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that I had logged off Facebook several times during the haze period because I was so irritated at everything happening on my timeline, but this was a huge trigger. I don’t think TNS was wrong in their decision. In fact, I support them wholeheartedly. If a theatre company, which stands to lose a lot when it cancels shows, can cancel a show for the sake of the audience and the actors, then I don’t think we as an audience should be complaining, should we?

But I digress.

The show was fantastic.

Yes, I mean it. From the moment the lights went down and the actors came singing their way onto stage, I was hooked. The seniors were dazzling. All of them. Everything was so upbeat and jolly I couldn’t help but smile (nearing the end of a 12 hour action-packed day, this is a feat) and I just went into energizer bunny mode!

Encore IV: Love Life basically featured pieces from Haresh Sharma and my friend, Liansheng, and they were all so fantastic. For one, Dondang Sayang was a really good way of starting off the play and it scared me that I could sing every Chinese, Cantonese, Hokkien and English oldie that was played. D: Does that say something about me? Oh, sorry, I got ahead of myself. The core of this play is that all the actors were seniors. Except maybe 2-3? And the 2-3 younger ones, instead of stealing the limelight as I would’ve expected, they pushed the seniors into the limelight instead. Their presence on stage was amazing.

Okay, back to the plays. I remember crying during The Familiar Stranger because it was just so beautiful. There was this line that went “我已经爱上了等待” or “I have fallen in love with waiting” and the tears just flowed. Goodness. Same thing happened for Goodbye and Departure. These were pieces that I think most, if not all of the audience could relate to – the helplessness of a mother whose daughter feels like she doesn’t belong in Singapore, the pain of saying goodbye even if you don’t want to. The most lighthearted piece, The Familiar Stranger, had everyone in stitches. The uncle beside me was literally crying because it was so funny! 

From the above you’ve probably guessed that the production was multi-lingual. English, Chinese, Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien.. they all added an extra dose of warmth to the play. Language is so powerful as a uniting factor.

Headed home after the play and remained dazed for the rest of the night because it was such a big-hearted play. :’) This reminds me more than ever the reason I am in theatre – people are, and will always be at the core of theatre. And to the company who most exemplified that fact by prioritizing people over profits, hats off.

48 | Cacophony.

NOTE: lengthy and wordy post.

I know that this post is going to be controversial, not well-received at best.

My disclaimer would be that this is not a political post, not targeted at anyone. I am not criticizing anyone’s behaviour, but rather looking into how we can improve and move forward together.

———

For the entire period of the haze, I’ve seen people complain. There are those who complain about the haze. Ok, legit. I mean, everyone can do that, right?

But there are also those who turn the haze into some big political failing, or even better, some conspiracy theory.

When the PM issued a statement after his MPS in twilight hours, people said he was “wayang”.
A minister reacted (as any normal human would, and more cordially in fact) to someone using expletives against the organization, people said he had “constant need for affirmation”, “congratulatory tone”, was being “smug and patronizing”.. where? WHERE?!

But my issue is not with what is being said. My point is that we are all so used to the “complain culture” where you complain and everything goes your way.

You know what we really sound like? We sound like a bunch of ignorant, ‘concerned’ citizens. Which, yes, is active citizenship, but I think even the government didn’t anticipate an outpouring of such ignorance.

I understand that it is their obligation since they are in the service, but with the way we are behaving, can we humanly expect them to be the caring, compassionate, loving government we all want to see? I certainly can’t.

I have seen some posts of people who are, let’s face it, not usually such intellectuals, suddenly copying and pasting or liking posts that serve as opposition to whatever is status quo. My question is: why do we all feel so compelled to complain and add our voices to the cacophony, even at the expense of clear thought and sensibility? Maybe it’s the herd mentality, eh? Opposing for the sake of opposing, I suppose, gives you some sort of.. adrenalin rush? Make me understand, people who do this, I really don’t understand the logic behind this.

We are all tempted to complain. It is really so much easier to be negative than to be positive. I think our competitive society also has a part to play in nurturing this “everybody is out to get me” mentality. Isn’t it tough living with that mentality?

Of course, if we assume that these people do indeed have that mentality it is so easy to see the rationale behind their words. It’s said that there are shortcuts in the way we judge people, one of them is by assuming similarity. Could it be that we are assuming that others are similar to us in the way we work? That because we chaokeng sometimes, because we cut corners, or because we scheme for some collective gain, we end up with the assumption that they must also be doing the same thing as us.

And what if they are not?

Personally, there are more than a few times that I want to complain too (and, loosely taken, the term complain can be used on this post too) but I try to restrain myself from making comments about those in authority before I understand the logic and rationale of their actions – out of the horse’s mouth. Why? Simply because they are in that position, that circumstance, and I am not. How on Earth am I qualified to comment? Also, wouldn’t a more productive method be to suggest, to provide feedback (you notice we are never asked to complain or criticize, right?), to seek to understand instead of seek to undermine?

Perhaps it would be more effective and less emotionally disparaging (it might even raise Singapore’s happiness index) the next time we wanted to complain, we took a step back and asked what was happening instead. Probably there will be some who say that they’ve suggested but the government doesn’t want to take up the suggestion, well, that’s the government’s prerogative, isn’t it? You’ve put it out there and done your part, well done. I’m not saying you should leave it to rest, but on the other extreme, not hate on the government. Remember, yours is just one in a pool of 4 million. Maybe it would be better to influence people around you, bring them round to your school of thought, rather than defect on the account of “not being heard”.

But that’s just me, and there are people out there who will not agree with me.

These are the same people who will say I am young and naive and that I have not seen the world.

I cannot tell you how much I hate hearing that because I have seen so many cases where age does not necessarily equate maturity, or experience, but I will admit that I have a limited perspective because it is true, I have not come to a point where I earn my own keep. I guess it is a legit point, but I would regard it as a low blow. Why not try to make me understand where you are coming from instead of saying that I will never understand? It is not unlike explaining to a foreigner how the working world here works, is it?

For the cynics, skeptics, and negative souls reading this and thinking, “This girl is a farce.” I rest my case.

PS: To those who are reading this and taking it personally, I am not shooting anyone in particular (especially if I don’t know you) but if the shoe fits then feel free to wear it.

[EDIT]

20/6 5:51: Look at the comments on this video of the PM refusing to comment on the remark Indonesia made on us! So encouraging. :’) This is the spirit!

46 | Easily Satisfied.

Baby photo 1

I had to start this post with a baby picture that I recently scanned into my laptop. Trying to go through all my baby photos and archive them. 🙂 Ain’t I cute? This is probably the only time where I can say I am cute and not have people call for my demise, haha! It’s Lunar New Year’s eve and I’m clutching a red packet. I have a night light – my favourite – which I used to abuse by pressing incessantly and annoying everyone. That book in the corner is my bedtime story for the night, so now you know where I got my linguistic ability. It was nurtured from a very, very young age. Thank you Mummy 🙂

These few days have been chockful of theatre, theatre, theatre. And I love every moment of it. I realize that in this six months I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into theatre and I’m only piercing the top of the ice.

First of all, I bid a very sombre goodbye to 编剧操练营 (Playwright’s Boot Camp) by 实践剧场 (Theatre Practice) and I must say, the past 4 weeks have been very intellectually stimulating. I felt really empty after it ended because I had no more Mondays to look forward to. 😦 I’m looking forward to the year-end production!

illogic

Secondly, I caught Illogic by Cake Theatre. I’m going to say I liked it and that it was a theatre spectacle but not much more because how do you review something that you do not truly understand? I just sat there and let it wash over me like a wave. 🙂 It’s been so long since I let any piece do that, and it was liberating in some way. I must say this though, Edith Podesta and Noorlinah Mohamed are a lethal combination as actresses.

Had cake after that because.. you simply must have cake to go with.. Cake. 🙂

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My Sacher cake (chocolate w/ coffee)

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Mom’s coffee cake

 ——

Met my SRT TYC playwrights early this morning after a week-long break in which I missed them all to death 😦 I can’t really imagine not meeting them for extended periods of time. They are wonderful company, not just as people, but as deep thinking intellectuals who provoke my mental faculties and use bombastic words like these to crack jokes.

If there’s anything I took away from the dramatized reading that day (even though I’m not going to continue the piece I workshopped), it’s that I now have a real direction to work towards. I feel like that day pointed me towards a certain direction to expand my play. I’m still quite unsure of what genre to write in but we could always experiment. Preparing for the full-length piece in September is quite a stretch though so I shall try my best to rewrite something every week.

During class we were discussing Curry Tales because many, many theatre practitioners raved about this. All of us were intrigued to say the least. Liansheng and I decided on the spot to get tickets for the matinee show. Spontaneous, yes? We like to live youthful.

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I have so much praise for this show!!

Performed by one woman, director of Rasa (UK), Rani Moorthy, it’s about six women and their links to curry. Of course, there are different styles in cooking curry, and each woman’s pot of curry has a story to be told.

From the get-go, Rani Moorthy was a riot. Her wit and comedic style make the play truly entertaining and captivating. Although there were occasional unfamiliar references, they were not hard to understand within context. What impressed me about this play, however, was not just its wit, but also its emotional depth. Rani managed to manoeuvre her way between light-hearted comedy and emotional depth very well. I didn’t feel shortchanged on the emotional aspect as I tend to be with many of such plays. Also, there was a pot of curry cooking for every story she had, so I pretty much had copious amounts of curries which all tasted different and oh-so-good. I’d advise sitting in the front row, though. As Rani herself said, “Sit in the front row, you get humiliated. Sit in the back row, you don’t get food.” Which is the sorrier fate? You decide.

Overall, I really enjoyed today. There’s just something so calming with being around close friends who are introverts (many of them are, actually) and I’ve been stressed out over a few competitions of late. I need to destress!!

Before I begin tearing my hair out, I shall go and watch 爱情限量版 and enjoy a drink.

Cheerios, till the next.

x

Day 1: Cafe-Hopping

Right guys, so Elainn tagged me in this 30-day photo challenge thing, and so here is Day 1!

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Double chocolate muffin with iced mocha from Orange Thimble!

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Chillin’ at Orange Thimble!

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Eyeshadow palette that I gave her. Thanks for the blushes girl! 🙂

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Pretty model! 🙂 #ootd

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Look at the streets of Tiong Bahru! So quiet and quaint 🙂

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Modellain! #pun

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Couldn’t resist taking a few of my own too! 🙂

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Ending off our trip. 🙂

Woke up late again and was late meeting this girl! Nearly tripped over a staircase at Flock going to meet this girl. Had a wonderful afternoon with her and I really love spending time with her! She’s one of the best friends one could ask for. Looking forward to more girl-time with her this holiday!

More coming up tomorrow! xx

45 | 因缘而幸会。

Cr: x

幸福;摸不着 看不到 却如同一条河流到我心中。

就像上边那颗心一样 有了生活中最重要的人陪在身旁,

哪怕黑夜 心碎 痛苦 都能闯过。

这几个月 写作也能算是一种幸福吧,甜中带苦

有些时候是负担 有些时候是发泄

有些时候是兴趣 有些时候是可怕

更有些时候 它是一种幸福。

其实呢,幸福本身能戴着好几幅面具。

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这些朋友啊,他们提供的是伴 x 爱 x 思。

伴就是简单的陪伴 – 人们总是不能或缺彼此提供的温暖。

爱就是我爱他们时的幸福 – 没有界限,没有束缚,没限量的爱。

而思就是思考 – 他们通过讨论帮我整理思绪,让我头脑便丰富了。

我可能没有可能天天看到他们 (看人也会看腻的)

但我的的确确每天都至少会想到他们一次

有时是看到某些东西 某些事物 而联想起

就仅是这样,我都会隐隐约约感到自己在偷笑。:D

我觉得我是疯了吧?我人又没有好到哪儿

从哪儿积的福 让我有遇到这些人的缘分。

我曾经认为幸福就仅仅是开心,被爱,得到某些东西。

但我一直以来都在发现 其实幸福是舍得 ,是能给予别人些什么,

能怎样去爱惜他们。

就是一些活宝啦。:)

44 | Dream Come True.

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1/2 of the SRT TYC Playwrights, from right: Rocco, Luke, myself, Yogi! ♥

Probably since Day 1 of my playwright life I’ve always wanted to be staged. Like, have actors read my script, act it out, have someone leave impacted. I’m still a long way from there, but I had my first dramatized reading today. And while that might not seem like a lot to others, it is to me.

Six months ago, I had no knowledge of theatre whatsoever. In P4, I swore I’d never touch theatre.. and Chinese (that OMG moment when I realize my current obsession is Chinese theatre). In Secondary School, I continued hating drama and loving just the academic, literature aspect of it. Six months ago, with no prior experience in anything theatre-related, only a bunch of shifty awards from essays and poetry and a nothing to lose attitude, I signed up for Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Young Co. Playwriting Programme (henceforth referred to as SRT TYC) and I got in with just a really lousy piece that I would burn if I could today.

Three months ago, I realized that playwriting is a lot more than just dialogue. It’s also technical, it’s personal, it’s backbreaking and most of all, it’s heartbreaking. I don’t know how many afternoons/mornings I just sat alone in cafes writing my heart out, how many times I got backaches from sitting at the computer too long, how many times I would tear up in the middle of the night writing something exceptionally close to heart.

And today, I finally got a chance to have my pieces read by TYC actors, directed by one of the most well-known directors in the local theatre industry – Daniel Jenkins.

The piece wasn’t very good (quite shitty really) but the actors lent life to it and Daniel Jenkins is a really crazy skilled director. I’m not going to even try to tell you how blown away by his directing. Let’s just say it was almost instinctual for him. From the get-go, he already detected the undertones of the play and brought it out of the play. And of course, nothing could have been achieved without the two very talented actors who took it to the stage, Jane and Vignesh! Thank you for making my dream come true. 🙂

My thoughts? I am just a very grateful girl right now, one who started out with a dream, who walked towards the dream, and aided by so many gifted, kindhearted and hardworking people along the way, am actually achieving my dreams. I feel like I’m clutching clouds now, but I’m sure if I clutch enough clouds, one day the sky will be mine. I have never been more in love with theatre, with every part of it – how the whole team works like clockwork to get pieces on stage, the intricacies of script and characters, the way theatre is my refuge and a vehicle of social commentary. Theatre is a unique experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. The moment the audience walks into the Black Box they come in with expectations and the potential to walk out of there transformed forever. Transformed because of your words. Your stories. Your characters. It’s so powerful – that’s why it hasn’t succumbed even though the last 400 years have been continuous technological advancements that might serve to edge theatre out. Its beauty remains resplendent and even better, ages like fine wine. But I digress.

Now I’m just off to enjoy a very well-deserved break from almost 5 full cycles of 18-hour days/6 days a week and also, off to research for new ideas and new plays/poetry on the way! 🙂

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.