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.

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