Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Short+Sweet Malaysia Festival 2014

My fourth year in the Short+Sweet Malaysia Festival. Does that make me a S+S veteran?

Like 2012, this year I will not be acting in S+S. I think it's about time I try something else, so I am directing for a change. I will be directing a musical "A Woman At War" by Mark Sasse & Laura Danneker and a play "The Surgeon's Creed" by Eoin Carney. This year also marks the first time S+S Musical will be running for 2 weeks with a Gala Night of it’s own. So now there's added bonus to do well.

For The Surgeon's Creed, I am pleased to have Tan Boon Kit & Tan Meng Kheng as my actors. Both of them have gone through some bit of work with Alex Chua and I believe we can understand where I would like to go with this play. It's a good opportunity for me to explore and try some of the stuff Alex Chua had been teaching us all this while. I am confident we can do well.

Click here for the event page

My concern is for A Woman At War, featuring Boon Kit also and Vivian Chan. Man, staging a musical can be so quite complicated, even though it's only 10 minutes. Mark & Laura have provided me with a minus one, but I prefer live music because it simply works better.  As my music director Mervyn L Peters would agree, using live music allows me more creative space to work with the actors. Thus one of the biggest headaches for me was to get my band together. Thankfully, I have wifey to share the headache as I asked her to be my musical director.

I only had a guitarist to begin with and after listening to the music provided, A Woman At War is not going to sound with just one guitar. For the first 2-3 weeks of rehearsal, I had to teach my actors the songs with me playing the keyboard badly. Fortunately, we managed to find a few musicians from church, both SIBKL & Penang church PCC. Last Monday was the first time we got all the band members together.

(L-R) Sean, Wilfred, Daniel & Yuen Thern

We have not quite figured out all the songs yet, but I am sure we should confirm everything by the end of the week. I will back in Penang for the weekend but I leave the music from Act 3(the last act) in wifey's trusted hands. We have more or less confirmed the blocking for the actors and with another 8-9 rehearsals, I think we should be ready by 24 Sept for the opening performance.

Wifey & I also submitted a musical this year as a team. After splitting to pursue our own interest last year(Me with "Goodbye" and she with "What If?") I suppose you can say we're back writing what we're most comfortable with - outrageous comedy. We have learned a lot from our first musical "The Geongxi Is a Vamp" and I believe we have shown improvement with this musical. "300 Million: The Reconceptualization of a Conception" is - what our director Ross Stephenson said - a musical about what happens after sex. I am delighted to have the amazing Shen as the musical director to assist Ross in his directorial debut. On top of that, they have assembled a good cast. It should be fun to watch this one.

Both "A Woman At War" & 300 Million: The Reconceptualization of a Conception" are featured in Week 1 of the S+S Musical, from 24 Sept to 27 Sept. There are 4 other musicals in Week 1. Come show some love if you are free that week. 

I do hope both musicals make it to the Gala Night on Sunday 5 Oct.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Time Flies

Has it been that long? My last update was in November 2013!

So what has been happening since then?

Well, I did a play with EMP and now I am performing in Sinbad at klpac. We will end our run on 27 April and move to Penang where king.  will be performing from 2 - 11 May.

Check out my new look:)

So how has it been? OK, I suppose. It's been great making new friends- that was my main reason for joining this musical. The main issue I have actually is the plantar fasciitis on my left foot. It's not been easy walking & rehearsing barefooted. I am, however, looking forward to my performances in Penang- Will be home for almost 2 weeks! Yay!

If you have not seen the show, do check it out! Tickets are available at klpac box office or online at Ticketpro.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

I Hate Nick Choo

Yes, I hate Nick Choo.

I hate him for the brilliant composer/lyricist/music director he is.

I first met him in 2010, when I attended an audition for "Follow The Light". Though I didn't end up in the production, he had left a deep impression. The songs were beautifully written & very catchy.

Anyhow, that's not the reason for this entry.

I just came back from The Edge, the musical written & composed by Nick. As the story centres around Josh who was about to jump off a building, I went expecting a depressing musical. But I couldn't be more wrong. Nick has written an excellent musical that will keep you on the edge of your seat right up till the end(no pun intended). Though it was around 2hr 30 min, I didn't feel it as it was that captivating. Sure it was emotional but it was mixed with some light hearted moments. Nick, the producers(Dominic Luk & Benjamin Lin) & director (Sabrina Hassan) did a fantastic work with the material & cast. (update: forgot to mention that the set was wonderfully built too)

It was compelling story telling by the cast, each sharing their history with Josh and at the same time paint us the picture of Josh's life and his aspirations. They performed very well together and shone in their own way. If I have to pick my favourite, it would be Tria Aziz who was perfect as Josh's mom. Her singing was crisp & her emotions were so genuine, I can't help but hear and feel every word that came out of her.

It is not to be missed. It is showing now at pentas 2 klpac til Sunday 10 Nov. You will not regret watching this.

And yes, I will continue to hate Nick Choo for a long time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Theatre, Musical & Ministry

Last Monday I just attended a meeting where the long term plan of the church's performing arts ministry was shared. Looks like one exciting year ahead!

If everything works out as planned, right after my performance in A Little Conviction, I will be jumping into it in January 2014, right before I start the rehearsals for klpac's Sinbad.

Looking back, everything sort of makes sense. If this was to happen 10 months ago, I think I won't have much confidence in contributing to this. So now, I eagerly wait for it to happen.

I remember in 2010, I had the idea of taking what I learned in performing arts and put it into church ministry. Somehow I didn't have the opportunity to do it then.  But now I believe my "kairos" moment has come.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Short+Sweet Musical 2013 aftermath

Last week was Short+Sweet Malaysia Musical and  just like 2011, there were 10 musicals competing. Besides submitting a script "Goodbye", I also acted in another musical "Out of The Box".

So how was it overall for me? It was a good experience to be participating again in S+S Musical. Participating as both writer and actor have allowed me to see things how 2 different productions come together. The best part, of course, is to working with old friends and making new ones.


As mentioned before (I think), I wasn't planning to write this year. I am more of the man with the idea but not a writer. I need time for my ideas to grow inside me before I start anything. And even then, I would still need a co-writer. Somehow approximately 1 month before the deadline, I suddenly had the idea of writing a dramatic musical. So I had to force myself to write this.

After taking about 1-2 weeks to write the first draft, I felt tired to compose and so I asked a church friend, Daniel Sim, if he would be interested to compose the songs. At the same time, wifey suggested another friend Kerry-Ann since she has mentioned before that she would like to direct a S+S musical. 

After reading the script, both of them agreed to be part of this and that was how we started. Kerry-Ann managed to assemble her team of people and we eventually have Joshua Gui as musical director, with Safia Hanifah & Nick Davis as our actors. Both Safia & Nick won Special Awards for their performances:)



As for the one I acted in, it was by the same creative group that did last year's "Disorder in the Court".

Terence decided to try drama this year as well. We have been talking on FB chat about what we wanted to do this year and he shared his idea with me. I thought it could be something that suited me. After the audition, I was offered the role of the father. I found out that Lynn Goh, who played Ah Girl in "The Geongxi Is A Vamp" was offered to play the daughter. Eventually a newcomer, Arvin, got on board as the supporting cast, playing the assistant named Chong(don't ask why a chinese name).




The biggest winner of the festival was Nick Choo's "Dreaming Outside The Box". The moment he confirmed his participation, most of us were expecting to see something wonderful. True to form, His team deservingly won 8 awards, breaking Geongxi's 7-award record. While it was a bit painful to see them break Geongxi's record, at least it was Nick Choo and Freddy Tan who also directed Geongxi.



And with that, all the anxieties comes to an end and I look forward to Short + Sweet 2014. What will I be doing then? Most likely, wifey & I will be joining S+S Song (if they are going to keep it) and most probably we will work together again to write a musical. We should be returning to comedy, which I think is our stronger genre than drama. I already have something brewing in my head and this could turn out to be a very educational musical. More on that when the time comes :)

Also, if I am free, I will be applying to direct a musical. After doing numerous plays & musicals, I think it's my turn to shout at actors. Hahahaha!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Forgotten post: Burger Kaw Kaw

Last month we decided to give Burger Kaw Kaw a try since we've heard quite a bit about it. So we went to the SS15 branch.


The place looked simple and there were people eating, but not as packed as you'd see in some other places.

very basic
We ordered what we wanted and was served in a short time. So it's a good place to go if you don't want to wait for your burgers.

Chicken burger
Beef burger
Can't remember the names of the burgers we ordered, but we thought the food was so-so. I was surprised that my chicken patty was deep fried.

How do you eat with triple patties??

So we were a bit disappointed with our food but we spotted a new burger joint just a few shops away from it.







Need to plan for a visit soon!

Friday, June 07, 2013

S+S Malaysia here I come again!

Short+Sweet Festiva Malaysial is about to start again in September and this month is where writers will be presumably rushing to finish their scripts to meet the deadline which is 1 July. Last year at this point, I think we have already finalized "The Geongxi is a Vamp" and hand delivered it to klpac.

This year, wifey most probably will be sitting out, unless she can finish the script/music she wrote last year.  I will be trying out a new collaboration this year with  people I have not worked with before. In fact, I am also trying a genre of musical I am not familiar with. For a change, my script is not a  comedy and it doesn't have any stereotype. I believe that to write a 10 min musical is harder than a theatre piece because short musicals do not have time to establish & develop the characters. Hence, over the last 2 years, I noticed that musicals that did well in S+S have stereotypes, eg. boy bands, chinese prostitute, vampires, lawyers, cannibals, etc. Also, they were all comedies.

I have already completed the second draft of the musical, even though I will be submitting the first draft. The musical will now depend on my new composer & director. They will have the difficult job of bringing the story to life.

So what is the musical about? The title is "Goodbye" and the clue is in the picture below.


I will also be auditioning as an actor for musical and probably director too. Only problem I have with directing is I have a November play and directing in Oct may be a problem for me.

Exciting time ahead again!