FYiP 2017. 

(Post-show and just a gathering of reflections made.) 

I have never really had the task, and privilege, of having to create from scratch. As a young performer, I usually get projects with ready scripts and become a pure actor in terms of my role. Within that scope of acting, is my freedom. And this time, it is almost like I had so many things to think about; so much control and unfamiliar spaces of exploration. 

It is a luxury, in certain ways. Theatre is severely beautiful but in the world of economics, it is close to impossible to create original work all by yourself. 

It boils down to funds, connections and the themes you choose to present. Venues are expensive, even if you choose to work with minimal props. How are you planning to fill up the seats? Publicity, sponsors and having to prove your worth to paying audiences?  And of course, you have to pay your crew and your designers, especially on a very professional platform. 

We should not perpetuate the cycle of starving artists when we are in the field ourselves. It is almost hypocrisy. 

So this chance to present something in my voice, under the school’s wing, has been the greatest gift to me. This has been an experience to remember. I think, I grew the most during this short term of ten weeks or less. 

Having to put a script together and picking a topic from the millions out there, was the starting point. Spoilt for choice but limited by time and resources, I had to take something and stick with it. There is no time to hesitate and be fickleminded about. 

Time was always ticking. And going off in my mind every now and then. 

At this point, I want to thank every single person that opened up to me and sat through personal conversations. Inspirational and raw in their own ways, it sparked my determination and my own commitment to dig deep into my experiences. 

It has been difficult and despite warnings that it is going to be an emotional journey, stubbornness is always a strong suit of mine. For better or for worse. Hahaha. 

Some days, I read the script and end up crying by the second page. Other days, I simply get by. 

But I am so thankful for my guides – my teachers and the handful of my close companions. It is a wonder that I got to where I did with my work and how I managed to be vulnerable about something I have held onto so tightly so long. All the encouragement, problem solving, going deeper into the text and forcing the performer to emerge, breaking down this wall of distance and working the space, the physicality of body and still being supportive despite my consistently shit insomnia and attendance. 

I don’t talk much, and most days, I try to disappear in school as much as possible. But I have been reminded of kindness and that relationships go beyond what might occupy my mind 24/7 and kill me slowly. 

And with this work, thank you to everyone that turned up, got tickets or sent me notes to lift me up. I might not be the most visible or the hand that reaches out often enough to upkeep friendships, but all of you do mean a lot. So thank you, even though it will never be enough for all the support all these years since my decision to pursue theatre. 

I am touched, and happy that I finished what I wanted to do. And glad I had people with me, throughout. 

I am going to zone out for a bit now. Will post more of my thoughts when they come to me. xx

Pepeha. 

(Small assignment for voice work in the previous assignment. Thought it would be good for me to revisit and think about this once again. Might have a different version by the end of the year.) 

  

The FMSR brought faded ghosts to Singapore. 

My skin – the mountain of my being – was Block 422. 

The Singapore river is the blood running through my veins. 

My ancestor has a name too sacred for the undeserving to know. 

Christina – Mother of rain clouds and 

Vincent – Father of soundless rain.

And I.

Dawn – the invisible sun. 

V. 

(Written a while back to a friend after she shared a part of herself with everyone. It’s very simple and thinking about it, it might sound a bit silly. But posting it here is probably mainly for documentation purposes.)

The tiny frail hands tick on 

From lines to a number, From ticking to a song

But who is to say that you took too long 

All of our hearts beat different

From rhythms to orchestra scores, From patterns to blood-lined lace

We are gifts planted – here – to find our place 

Emotions come and go

From spoken words to the unsaid, From love to unearthed fears

Life will always have its laughter and its tears 

Your story is yours to tell 

From memories to current affairs, From thoughts to beautiful dreams 

Only you can coax the voice out of the heart’s unguarded seams 

The tiny frail hands will tick on 

From January to December, From the first day to the last 

But our open arms will always be here; Love will never come to pass. 

One Semester.

With the fatigue slowly fading away and the stress of the daily grind minimising with every blink of the eye, it is easy to say that everything was a great and wonderful learning experience. But I am pretty sure it wasn’t as easy to say these words just two weeks ago, or even one.

Seeing things in hindsight is like filtering a photograph through Instagram – only the pretty sides go through. All cotton candy and fluff. But I guess fluff is nice to look at.

I am glad that I made it out alive without pulling myself apart emotionally, physically and mentally. Close though, but never jumping off the cliff. I am glad that I am still intact with a head on my shoulders, feet on the ground and a heart in my chest. I am glad I am still me – despite the growth and the inevitable changes in my person, I am still comfortable in my skin and loving who I am.

It has been difficult.

For me: The lack of sleep. Missing my friends beyond school. Rushing from place to place. Skipping meals. Meeting deadlines for articles. Arguments born of misunderstandings and lack of respect. Work, work, work. Clashes in information. Condescending voices shutting me down in my head. Having no energy for things I used to make time for. The injuries and falling ill.

For others: Dealing with rejections on meet-ups and plans. Disappearance of my presence in lives, generally. Listening to my meaningless bullshit thoughts, bitching, complaining and the negativity that seeps into my blood every now and then.

Change after change after adjustment after compromise after change. Repeat.

There were bright things to put a smile on my face. Of course there were. It is all in the little things, like the ITI cats around campus, classmates getting me lunch, having an iced milo to drink, classmates laughing at and supporting each other, feeling like I did good work or waking up on the right side of bed. Or just counting down the days. Or spending quick meals with the boyfriend.

But I am not going to lie to myself that every day was rainbows and unicorns and ice kachang.

Anyway, I would not be surprised if the whole cycle repeats itself for the up-coming semester, but I think it is easier to convince myself now that I will not die in the process since I emerged from this one alive.

Stronger, more ready and more willing to trust.

After all, this is what I signed up for and I will finish what I started. I never asked for easy. I am young and if I do not push myself to the limit for my training, then when will I ever?

But now, I think I really deserve a short break.

On another note, thank you to everyone that has shown me love, kindness, care and concern over the past semester. I have been lucky to have all the encouragements and messages left at my door step to remind me how beautiful sunlight is when shining from the inside and why I am doing what I do.

Thank you.

First Week. Second Term. 

I shall type a short post since I am currently at work with an empty studio space surrounding me.

It has been a long and tiring week for me. 

Be it at home or at school or even commitments outside of school, everything just seemed to make the days drag on for so long. Even going out to spend time with friends become a slight chore. 

The days start too early and the nights come too late, even though I am still facing the same 24-hour cycle as before. Strange how tiredness makes me view time so differently each time I open my eyes to a new day. 

And I have been thinking about this tiredness. Is it the echoes of my bones? Is it the working of the muscles? Is it the mechanical beating of the heart? Is it the lack of energy in the spirit? 

Or is it just the mind playing its dirty tricks on me yet again? 

I am not sure if there is only one answer, or all of the above. (Not that getting an answer is all that important at the moment.) 

Maybe it is because I was put into situations where I am made to grow up fast and really start confronting the things I have been avoiding almost all my life. 

Maybe I am relearning how to love this skin that I usually do not even recognise as my own. 

Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

But I am so glad the week is almost over. It has been good, don’t get me wrong, but I am still glad it is over. 

Here’s to hoping that the sunshine will seep through this skin of mine, so that the days to come will be brighter and happier. xx 

Cloud Messenger (2014).

Cloud-messengerI was really nervous and excited at the same time to be able to catch this graduating showcase by the final year ITI students.

It was a great experience for me and since I am thinking of pursuing an education with them, it was a show that I told myself that I must catch. Watching the showcase was an eye-opening experience for me and made me feel more prepared for the decision I am making for my possible future.

(Well, my gap years have to come to an end somehow right? And I am really looking forward to getting back to school again to meet new people, learn and just gain anything and everything I can.)

It is always good to know a bit more.

The set was well-used and interesting. Everything was simple, functional and creative – the use of blinds, wheels and the way projections were made onto the set. I loved how everything was used and how some were rather unconventional and the audience had to be able to imagine together with the cast.

And can I just say that I liked how everything – set and costumes – were in white and blue. Very pure, clean and simple yet striking colours in the black box. There was a lot of play on texture, shapes and lines, which was really nice and visually interesting for me. I like looking out for the details and the subtleties, so I found that engaging.

But the devising and the text stood out the most for me.

I do not really know how to describe it because the piece felt like a very personal experience for me and I cannot seem to be able to justify what I felt in words alone. For me, the performance was more like a glimpse into the performers’ worlds. You get to know parts of their realities, laced together with their sacrifices, past and their hopes for the future. You listen to their songs and together with the words, there is a layer of longing and love.

It felt very real.

The physical language and the way their voices threaten to crack occasionally when they are opening up to a new group of audience members for the show. It is like they keep baring their souls to people that come for the show again and again and again. It was a new level of vulnerability I think and it was really emotional. Towards the end, I eventually started tearing up as well even though I tried to hold everything in.

Lastly, the use of the various languages was really beautiful and a joy to experience. Really.

Thank you for engaging me in such a personal, raw and honest piece of theatre on a Saturday afternoon. It was one of the best decisions I made for the past week.

Thank you.