Monday, October 05, 2015

Thank you Short+Sweet Musical 2015


That was how Joe described the results before he began the prize giving ceremony for Short+Sweet Musical 2015. Yes, it was that close and our group was fortunate to win 4 awards last night, of which 3 were won by 1 vote.

a cast member asked why I had that look when I went up to collect my prize. It's a rather surreal moment to hear my name announced as the winner of the best director because it's only my 2nd time directing a S+S musical, and I was working with mainly young and inexperienced actors. Also, it was also the first time I win something without wifey.

Anyhow, here are a few people I would like to thank:

God for the people who have guided & helped me for the last 6 years. Thank you for the cast and creative team who have worked very hard to make the musical work.

Alex Chua & Nicole-Ann Thomas for your training. Appreciate the time you have invested in teaching me. I do hope I will get to work with you again.

Wifey & Mei Wei for your valued feedback. It is always good to have a third eye and, in this case, I got 2 great third eyes.

Calvin Terence, Lydia & Kelvin, for your hard work behind the scene. Thank you for trusting me with your work.

Joe & Faridah for providing a playground for me to explore and try new things.

Phoebe & the stage crew, for your support and making S+S Musical a success. Best backstage team ever!

Boy, Amirul, MJ & other tech guys, for the lights, sound & music. Every night, I could sit back and know that I need not worry about anything technical matters at all.

Parents of my under-aged performers. Thank you for letting your daughters take part in this small musical. Thank you for driving them to rehearsals and supporting us during the performances. Your daughters are very talented and I believe you are very proud to see what they have accomplished over the last 2 months.

Grace for offering to be the makeup artist. You have made my job so much easier backstage. Thank you for coming everyday so early and help them get into their characters.

Finally, my wonderful cast. No matter how great a script, how nice a song, it is you who brought everything to life. You have all been amazing. Each one of you played a vital part in making UP ALL NIGHT what it is. I hope you have learnt that the success of a production depends on teamwork and your inputs are very important to the development of a character. I couldn't have asked for a better company.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Short+Sweet Malaysia 2015

Surprise, surprise.

The missus and I did not submit anything for Short+Sweet Musical this year, though I submitted a political parody. More on that later.

One of the reasons we didn't submit a musical was because we didn't really have a good idea on what to write about. We sort of have the skeletons but we got stuck there for a bit. After consulting Nick Choo for his feedback, we decided that we should probably not continue writing unless we have a firm idea on what to do. In the meantime, I also had an idea on writing a song for Short+Sweet Song instead.

After watching last year's Short+Sweet Song and seeing how UiHua trolled the category with his Harry Doldrum persona, I began to think about how I could do something different to make it more fun and less about the competition.

Harry Doldrum in S+S Song 2014

Somehow the thought of a hungry ghost complaining about not being served his favourite food came to mind. I have heard a sermon from Pastor Oh Beng Kee many years ago and there was a point where he mentioned ancestral worship, and how we usually serve the food we liked to eat instead of our deceased ancestors' favourites.

Pastor Oh

So I pitched the idea to the missus and asked if she would be interested to take part. I also mentioned the idea to Freddy Tan and if everyone was okay, we could have a trio. Unfortunately Freddy couldn't commit and in the end it was just the two of us. I also spoke with Jee, a friend whom we got to know through S+S Musical 2014, to be our musician.

In May,I submitted my proposal to S+S organizing committee with just the title "Hungry" and a short description:

"A song dedicated to those who have passed on and yet are held dear in our hearts.  It is a duet lamenting the offerings during the Hungry Ghost Festival. Song genre is Oriental Pop, presentation with harmony and counter-points." We submitted our registration forms indicating that we would be performed as "Hu Ah Yew" and "Soo Fah Nee", since the fun is in singing in character instead of performing as ourselves.

After checking with UiHua what he submitted last year, I wrote a draft to the organizers, just to give them an idea of what we would be covering. It was decided that the missus would compose the song once our submission was accepted.

Early July, the organizers released the list of participants, and we started working again. After a few changes to the melody and lyrics, we finally gave it to Jee with the instruction that the music needed to sound chinese, with guzhen, erhu, etc. Jee was busy with his own gig and hence he would only record the music for us.

We only received the music 2 weeks before performance and practised as much as we could without music before that. In the end, this was what we did.

We managed to spook a lot of people. Even our fellow participants were scared of us when they first saw us on full dress rehearsal night. It goes without saying that we were the forerunners for the Glitz & Glamour award so no surprise when they announced the winners. However, we also took home the 1st runner up award, a first for a performance with minus one music. Before this,  all winners had live music. 

It was a fun experience and I find it easier to make new friends because unlike musical or theatre, there are less people in the dressing rooms. We are happy to win and we really appreciate the help from our arranger Jee who was amazing with the music. Many thanks to the people at klpac for giving us the platform to experiment with this song and providing the tech and stage support.

I am taking a breather this week but still in the midst of preparing my team for the musical category next week. I am directing a few teenagers from my church. I hope they will have an equally good experience next week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Didn't realize I have not updated anything since Oct 2014.

With Facebook, everything can updated immediately without the hassle of  typing out everything. But with Facebook, sometimes I feel the need to self censor. So today I shall put something here that I will not put on my Facebook.

I have started writing again for Short+Sweet Festival and again it will be a collaboration with the missus.

Initially we wanted to split and pursue our own project but I think we're not that motivated to do anything unless the other person applying some pressure. Anyhow, this year we're attempting something different....

No outrageous comedy.

What will it be? Wait for more updates when we have the story fleshed out :)