Friday, October 28, 2011

S + S Theatre: LIfe Decisions

My involvement in late October's S+S Theatre can only be described as "full of drama"- I got in, I pulled out, and I got in again. Hmm... This could be a long story:)

OK, let's start from S+S Musical. The moment that I saw that my part in "Tweet About It" was a small one, I had hoped for something meaty in S+S Theatre. I could then have a bit of fun in the musical week and do more serious work in theatre. After all, I wanted to do something that is totally not me, so that I could learn and be a better actor.

I was very pleased to find out that I had 2 offers after the July audition and one of them was BB's "Life Decisions". The script was read in June's Baca rehearsed reading at The Actors Studio and I had a good idea what the story was about and what inspired her to write the grim tale. After reading the 2nd script, I picked "Life Decisions" which required me to play an senior business man who staged his own suicide to frame his enemies. Because I was busy stage managing Cartoon and also "Tweet About It", I was very diligent with "Life Decisions" - I started memorizing the lines from day 1 I confirmed my participation and within 2 weeks, I had memorized all my lines.

would you kill yourself to get back on your enemies?

Complications with the play started when I discovered that the director is based in Penang and would only be coming in early October to rehearse the play. To make things even more challenging, up till late Aug we still had not found a female actor to play the assassin. The director also had his own unique concept on how he wanted the play to be. I felt that I really needed him to be here in KL to guide me.

After he found the actor for the assassin, the director basically asked us to meet on our own to rehearse and he would come later to clean up the play. After meeting with my partner, I discovered that she was going away for 3 weeks in September! How are we going to rehearse then? I was beginning to doubt if this play was going to work.

All bruised

Then things sort of got to a point where I did not want to do the play anymore when the female actor pulled out from the play. I decided to pull out too and suggested to the director to assemble his own team in Penang instead.

And so I put my time and effort into "Tweet About It" and I had fun with the team. However, I was still not happy that I did not get to do something dramatic. Towards the end musical week on Saturday afternoon, I found out from BB that the Penang director had pulled out too and she was getting Nicole Ann Thomas to direct the play. They were also looking for a new cast. Inside, I was thinking perhaps I should "apply" to rejoin the production but I was already busy with the Malaysian Girls rehearsals too. I tried not to think too much about it then.

Conversation between Lee and Tevy

The event that helped me make my decision to rejoin "Life Decisions" was the S+S Musical competition results - wifey won the award for best female lead for her role in "Oriental Takeout". Like I said earlier, as a husband I was very proud of her achievement but as a fellow actor I was envious of it. It was not like I wanted to win the best male lead award as well but I was lamenting what I could have done with "Life Decisions". So within 24 hours I texted BB and asked if they had found anyone to act and offered myself. BB informed me that she would let Nicole know and it would be the director's decision to take me or not.

Fortunately for me, by the next day BB informed me that I was back in "Life Decisions" and we had less than 14 days to put up the play! Nicole managed to get one of her friends Hazlin to play Tevy. Hazlin is a very experience actress who sort of retired 3 years ago after getting married- I would later find out that I watched her performance in "The Odd Couple" back in 2005.. Another one of those "I-can't-believe-I-am-rubbing-shoulders-with-performers-I-used-to-watch" moments!

Regret? Fear?

Under normal circumstances, it would be alright to prepare for this play but with less than 14 days before tech run, it appeared to be one heck of a challenge for everyone! I am usually nervous when doing saomething new but I was really SUPER nervous with this one. I must thank Nicole and Hazlin for their guidance and help in this one. This is the first time I am playing someone older than my actual age. I already don't behave old for my age, what more now playing an Ah Pek?

Slowly, with Nicole, I managed to discover who Lee was for myself and began to become older. I still feel that I have not "aged" to the level I needed to be to play Lee effectively for the performances, but I was moving in the right direction - at least I don't sound like a youngster:)

"Is it selfish to want to die?"

To cut the story short, we managed to stage "Life Decisions" with less than 10 rehearsals and I must say it was tough and yet rewarding to see how far we've come. Our opening night performance was shaky at best, but the subsequent shows we got better. In fact, I believe our 3rd show was our best effort yet - I could sense the uneasiness among the audience watching the drama unfold.

Now that we are into theatre week 2, we will have to wait till this Saturday night to find out if "Life Decisions" will be picked for Sunday's Gala Night performace. If we make it, we'll definitely give our best effort to make this a play to remember. Unlike most S+S entries, it is not a comedy and it requires a lot of work to make the play believable. I do hope that we had managed to do enough to be selected:)

Update: We got in!!! We're performing tomorrow at Gala Night! :))))

"Tevy, what does your name mean?"

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