Thursday, June 29, 2006

More happy snapshots





P/S we're about to hit our 300MB image quota... I think. So fast one meh?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Poster is out

As you can see in the sidebar, the production poster is out. Done by Mr Isma Yusoff. It should soon start cropping up in the usual places. Seedy bars, nice family-oriented bars, Irish bars maybe, public toilets etc. Not very sure where to put Beckett's mug now.

Monday night's rehearsal was a fancy thing. We moved to the technical studio at the rear of the building. It has no windows. Walls all painted black. The move was intended to help establish Brechtian design methods (recommended by Jia-Wei and Mac) in which director, actors, and designers work in close partnership throughout the entire rehearsal process. Gavin has said somewhere in this blog that this effectively takes theatre back to its roots.

We began Monday's rehearsal in total darkness, with very little to suggest a scene except whatever we had in our heads. We had props per stage directions (e.g. Hamm's chair, Clov's ladder, and a few other things) but that was it. The idea is this: We begin with nothing. If, halfway through the rehearsal, we find that we need to pluck a pheasant, then we wouldn't pretend to pluck a pheasant, or mime plucking, or do one of the hundred things we would normally do. We'd go and get a bloody pheasant and pluck it.

Brecht had very political ideas about how this is supposed to work, and I'll leave the design aspects to Jia-Wei, but the effect of this approach -- and the rehearsal made this made clear on Monday night -- was to focus our attention exclusively on Beckett's words and their delivery. The word "prop" can mean "support", which in turn implies "crutch". Take away the crutch and the actor is forced to find some other way to do his or her thing.

The blackout set a very sinister atmosphere entirely absent in our previous readings. Speaking for myself, I found in our early readings that Endgame came over as a very pathetic play -- i.e. in the original sense of pathos, pity -- despite Beckett's intention to communicate the bleak annihilation of meaning and what happens when words survive that annihilation. More of this later, if ever.

The early readings, which took place in full light, always had the sense of "readings". I.e. say what you will about Method and various theoretical codswallop (uh, I mean "ideas") about "being in the scene" etc., we were ultimately just actors reading lines. I believe that, however hard you work towards erasing your own personality and replacing it with your character's, some trace of you remains. This has to do with light. I'm about to start talking our of my arse now.

I read somewhere that Da Vinci always began a portrait with a black canvas because he believed that the human soul was ultimately a dark creature. Removal of light from the rehearsals put in my head the idea of the destruction of that aspect of personality. Eradication of Jedi, say, and rise of the Sith. On Monday night, everything became instantly creepy -- not so much in the sense that a hantu was about to pounce on us from the dark corners of the studio (though I admit there was a bit of this) -- but more in the sense that the people I had been working with weren't really people after all. They weren't actors either. What they were I can't imagine, but whatever they were they didn't mean me well.

"Hah," you say, "this is a pack of lies designed to boost interest in the bugger's play."

Well, suck my thumb. But there is something very odd about this whole business.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

When there are no more cameras...




...we take pictures like these.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

'what is it, my pet? Time for love?

Assalammualiakum, selamat sejahtera, hello, vanaakam, sastrikal, nie how... It is I Sharifah Amani binti Syed Zainal Rashid Al Yahya here, or better known in this production as Nell... When Gavin called to ask me to do this play I really didn't know what I was getting myself into... "Abenda Samuel Beckett? Siape tu?" I wondered. Gavin had said something about it being absurd and from then I knew I wanted to do it. Hehehe... so I met up with the mat salleh/cina at Bangsar Shopping Center. We talked kejap then he pulled out a part from the script. It was about three pages I think. Then dia suruh saya baca. So saya baca. The text macam mana sikit I baca pun straight away you can rasa the lawak and sedih. I enjoyed the words so much I told Mr. Yap that I wanted in. The next day it was Borders to the rescue. Gua lompat dalam tempat tu asking for anything and everything they had to do with Samuel Becket. Dah jumpe gua lepak kat cafe jap nak baca lah the whole play because I had only read three pages of it. I wanted to know more about my charector Nell and what else she has to say or what else she does... What I found out was very, very shocking. It turns out those three pages that I had read with Gavin at BSC were.... well interesting.... "Bangang Punya Gavin Yap!! Cepat betul!" I terjerit kat the cafe. Hehehe... But as I read on I fell more in love with the words. The man's a genius. I will never get a chance to deliver lines like this in a movie. Not in a milion years. This play is something so far away from what I know. It's going to be a challenge and I love it! Bring it on, Beckett!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

End of part

We have just finished the first round of blocking Endgame. I am dying, having had to run Hamm's last soliloquy about five times tonight. If Gavin had said: "Let's to that again" I'd have used his own focus exercises to summon just enough energy to strangle the bastard. More of this later. But just to satisfy you buggers, I sit here at 1am telling you a story you probably won't read anyway.

Most early critics of Endgame seem to agree that the play is meaningless, and that its point is meaninglessness. Many admirers of Beckett say that he systematically, ruthlessly and heartlessly goes around dynamiting whatever sacred cow dung we worship in order to show the thing for what it really is: cow dung. In other words, Beckett's worshippers believe that to appreciate Beckett as much as they would like, you'd need a DPhil in critical theory, aesthetics, and collective wanking. Mostly, I don't disagree, except for the last bit. (Before you Beckett worshippers sue me, read that sentence again. The devil's in the syntax.)

My problem is this: Endgame breaks my goddamn heart. How can a meaningless play about meaninglessness do that?

What the hell. Am I doing something wrong? Am I reading my own narrative into a play which purpose is to destroy narrative? Or has our understanding of the world changed so much in the last 50 or so years that what was intended to make no sense at all now makes not only perfect sense, but hits us where it hurts?

Endgame, the way I see it, isn't an intellectual play that appeals merely to the mind -- although it once might have been just that. Tonight's reading hit at least one of us in the heart. It damn well hit me too.

And I was reading the bloody thing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Nearing the second round......

Hey there, Gavin here. Just trying to sort myself out before tonight's rehearsal. If all goes according to plan, we will have completed the rough blocking for the play by tonight. It'll be a late one cos we've had to combine tomorrow's rehearsal with tonight's cos Alvin dumbass Wong waited till yesterday to tell me he's got a shoot going on tomorrow. (just so you know Alvin, if you're reading this, feel free to talk shit back at me.....of course that's means you might actually have to post something here.....) After that, we'll be moving rehearsals into our tech training room so we can start experimenting with different kinds of lights.(I expect some really cool pics to come out of it) As Jia wei mentioned in an earlier post, we're attempting to do something a little different, in regards to the set and lighting design. I'll leave it to her and Mac to to explain the details (they're better at it, you see) but in a nutshell, our goal is to keep everything as practical as possible.

Whatever set or props are on stage will be there because the actors need them and no other reason. And similiarly with the lighting design, although I think I'll wait till next week before I go into that. Who knows, we may discover half way into next week that nothing works, our ideas suck and we need to change everything. So yeah, like I said, I'll wait. I love this approach though cos it kinda feels like we're taking theatre back to its basic roots, back to the old idea that all you really need to put on a show is an empty space and a couple of actors. It rare that you get the chance to do a show this way nowadays so we're all very excited about it. We hope you guys will feel the same way.

Rehearsals so far have been interesting, some good, some....not so good. But as I tell my actors, that's what rehearsals are for. Good to get all the crap out of the way now, so we can start focusing on the good stuff. Probably one of the most fun aspects, for me, in doing a play like this, is that it really feels like we're all discovering and figuring the play out together. We all kind of jumped in together at the deep end with this one. None of us was what you might call a 'Beckett expert' prior to embarking on this journey so to see these guys take to it and not allow themselves to be discouraged by it has been a major source of inspiration for me. Then again, it is early days.....

But I'm looking forward to tonight. Tonight, we'll be covering some of my favourite lines in the play. Take a look at these lines and tell me it doesn't make you go "What the fuck...." (just so you know, these lines are all from different sections)

Hamm : I'll tell you how it goes. He comes crawling on his belly -
Clov : Who?
Hamm : What?
Clov : Who do you mean, he?
Hamm : Who do I mean! Yet another.
Clov : Ah him! I wasn't sure.

and

Hamm : I want to hear the sea.
Clov : You wouldn't hear it.
Hamm : Even if you opened the window?
Clov : No.
Hamm : (violently) Then open it!

and

Clov : If I don't kill that rat he'll die.

and

Hamm : You weep, and weep, for nothing, so not to laugh, and little by little.....you begin to grieve.

What do you think? Pretty fucking trippy, eh? One of the things I love most about the approach we're taking with this play is that Beckett's dialogue is the star of the play. Like with the set and lights, the actors are only there because they need to be. (I mean, they have to be good also la but you know la what I'm trying to say)

Peace.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nell and Nagg Rehearse for the Camera.

So, I've been dropping in on rehearsals, usually with my camera to document the rehearsal process for this blog and for design reference purposes. For Endgame, Mac, our lighting designer and myself have decided to take a very different approach. In keeping with the Beckett spirit (I use this term very loosely...) we have decided that the design of the set and lights will be one that develops along with rehearsals. In other words, the blocking will decide where things go. This is based on the desire to create a set that facilitates Beckett's spoken imagery. Everything on the set will be effectively what the actors need to help them tell their story. Why we've decided to do this, I shall leave it for another post.

The wonderful thing about watching rehearsals through a lens is that more often than not I catch the actors with a certain twinkle their eye. Sometimes contemplative, sometimes tickled. I think they are enjoying his words very much.















the gav, the beck, the nagg

am hoping it's still not too late.

so, um, hullow. i'm kelvin, and i'll be playing nagg, hamm's father. the gav called me a couple of weeks ago, said he wanted to try me out for a part in beckett's. i remember reading 'bout him (the beck, not the gav) back then in my theatre history module, but that was about it. then i found out that pinter (who wrote the homecoming which the gav directed also) was a friend of the beck. i caught it, and liked it. then the gav called me back for a second read. and i got the part.

the gav kept on stressing that this particular beckett play isn't easy to do. i couldn't agree more. on the night when he handed us our scripts, i skimmed through it, didn't understand a thing. then when we read it together in klpac the day after, i still didn't get it. so what did i do? panic la! i knew i could google the play and have it entirely explained to me online, but somehow it defeats the purpose. no syok that way.

we've been in rehearsals for almost a week now. am finding bits and pieces here and there. things are adding up slowly. i doubt i'll get all the answers by the time the production ends, and i think that's kinda the point. that's precisely why plays are written, no? so we'd keep on asking and inquiring and finding answers. ha, you guys are gonna have one helluva time. tickets on sale already ah?

will talk about my character later. have a good one.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

.....already the sun was sinking.....

I sit and wait, for what, I'm not sure. All around exists nothing but darkness. I can't see. I can't remember the last time I could see anything. I struggle to remember what the sun looks like, or the moon even. I remember being given a toy car as a child. I remember dropping it from a ninth storey window, wishing that I was behind the wheel as it plummetted down to the cold, hard earth. I remember wishing for death, or at the very least, a horrible day. The kind of day that beats you down and leaves you for dead, leaving you no choice but to step outside yourself and take apart everything that is wrong with you, until nothing else is left but the useless shell that once looked a little like you, or someone like you. Was it ever you? Who's to say? Who knows who they really are anyway?

In my mind, I see myself burning. I'm tied to a chair. I can't move or scream. I just burn. Over and over again. Two feet away from me lies a fire extinguisher. I can't reach it. I don't even try. What would be the point? I close my eyes and wait. I wait for the flames to do their job. I wait for death. But it doesn't come. Just pain. Nothing but pain.

As the last breath leaves me, God grants me my wish and I remember the sun. Its beautiful. A beautiful memory. Only a memory.

Welcome to The End.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

First Rehearsal..



















Blocking, Day One

First blocking rehearsal last night. Good rehearsal, although it was somewhat amusing to find myself remembering first blocking rehearsals from previous productions thinking "Why the hell is he always looking down? Doesn't he know that.....what the hell....oh, I see. He's looking at his fucking script!" One good or bad habit (depending on how you look at it) I have as a director is that I'm constantly visualising stuff in my head and in my head nobody's holding their fucking scripts!! Ah, what joy! What fantasy! (Firstly, I just want to make it very clear that I only have these thoughts when I'm directing and, when acting, I am guilty of exactly the same shit. But c'mon, you know what I'm talking about, right? The thought of going clubbing is always more fun than the actual going......ok, I think I may be in the minority there.)

Where was I? Oh yes, rehearsal. There is nothing in a Beckett play that doesn't have a reason for being there. His stage directions are incredibly specific. There was some discussion as to how faithful we should be with the stage directions. Should we follow it as closely as possible? Say fuck it and do it our way? Find a middle ground perhaps?

Personally, I feel there's isn't much point tackling writers like Pinter or Beckett unless you're going to adhere to the genius of their work. Their plays are considered masterpieces for a reason. With The Homecoming, we strayed from the stage directions quite a bit but as that was a familiar, living room environment, it was easier because although the play itself might have been a tad off center, it was grounded in a reality that we could all recognize. Endgame, on the other hand, exits in a different reality. Beckett's reality. I know that sounds wanky, I'm flogging myself mercilessly as I write it, but I don't know how else to put it. Beckett's plays depict the world in a way only he saw it. So to do Beckett, you have to leave any preconceived ideas you may have at the door. Otherwise you'll hate him and hate yourself and not understand why and hate everything else because of it. And then you'll die a slow, miserable death courtesy of Kakiseni.:) (A joke people. Please put the phone down. Its not worth calling your lawyer.)

So what we've decided to do is remain faithful to the broad strokes of Beckett's directions (we'll be faithful to the big stuff and play around with the small stuff, if the opportunity presents itself.....oh, who am I kidding, we'll probably change all of it, kidding) and to put our creative mark on the characters and the relationships between them. When it comes to stage presentation and movement of characters, Beckett is pretty clear about what he wanted. What he has left open for us to play with is everything in between. The relationship between Hamm(U-En) and Clov(Alvin Wong) for example. Yes, we know they are master and servant. We know they are stuck together in this room. We know they have been together for some time. But the complexities and subtleties of their relationship are more or less fair game. Imagine, if you can, being stuck in an enclosed room with someone, outside exists nothing but death. Imagine the bond that you might share with someone in such a situation. You may hate them and love them somtimes, but wouldn't you also grow to need this person more and more with each passing day? Don't you think, in many ways, you might come to see this person as the only real thing you have left? These are a fraction of the questions we have to ask ourselves to in order to create a believable relationship between these two men. I'll be working with Nagg(Kelvin) and Nell(Nani) tonight so I'll wait till tomorrow to talk about their characters.

So yeah....blocking......I didn't really say very much about it, did I? Oh well, never mind, you're getting off light. It would would have been dull as fuck if I had made a post saying '.....and then I had Alvin move two inches to the right. I told him to stay there until U-En had finished his line. After that, I told U-En to smile here because I liked the look of it, after that I asked Alving to walk seventeen steps to the left while picking his nose......' Asleep yet?

Talk again.

Peace.

...

You know what gives me the absobloominlutely bleedin shivers? That little kid Clov sees out of the window towards the end of the play. Hamm can’t see a damn, so he doesn’t matter. But what does Clov see? Remember Mammon from Constantine? Well, kid Mammon. Skin scorched grey, black. Peeling off in places. Hanging like a rag in others. But enough remains for you to know that it was a kid. Is a kid.

Head slightly tilted, hungry eyes. Dragging a leg. Eyeball bulging. About to burst. Right arm extended, hand curled in a twisted gesture of possession, supplication. A long-nailed, stumpy fingered paw. Tongue wrenched out. Single sharp simple tooth. Unspeakable, unspeaking.

You do not know what it is about to do. But it is about to do something. It wants to say something. You cannot hear it. But you know it is trying to say something. To you. You loathe it, fear it, but can’t take your eyes from it. It has seen you. You are hidden behind your window, but it has seen you.

It is coming.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pictures!

Here are some pictures from our photoshoot on Thursday. Some of them were taken by U-En when I was busy dumping talcum powder down Alvin's back. (I'm sure he will explain in due course.) The shoot went smoothly and I think the poster is going to turn out really well!













Friday, June 16, 2006

Casting Endgame and some other nonsense

And a big thank you to Mr U-En for that little bit of insight into Beckett. Yeah, Pinter and Beckett were buddies. If memory serves, while I was reading up on Pinter during The Homecoming, I found out that they used to send each other their works in progress and give each other notes. Apparently, there was one play that Pinter sent to Beckett. The play had already been finished and I think was about to go into rehearsal. Anyway, Harry and Sam were gabbing on the phone when Harry asked Sam.....

Harry : So, what you think of that play I sent you?
Sam : Its alright, its alright.....but...
Harry : But what?
Sam : Well, there's this one speech......it just doesn't work for me.
Harry : It doesn't work for you?
Sam : It doesn't work for me.
Harry : What do you mean, it doesn't work for you?
Sam : I mean it doesn't work.
Harry : Well, I don't have to listen to you.
Sam : That's right. You don't.
Harry : So....so, maybe I won't.
Sam : Then don't.
Harry : I won't.
Sam : Fine.
Harry : Fine

* This conversation actually took place, although as you might have guessed I'm totally making up some extra bits because.....well, because I feel like it. Natch.

Anyway, Sam gave Harry his two cents worth and that was that. Then a couple of weeks into rehearsal, Harry called up the director of the production and said....

Harry : How's everything coming?
Director : Everything's coming along fine....except....
Harry : Except what?
Director : Well, there's this one speech.....
Harry : Dump it.
Director : What?
Harry : Dump it. Get rid of it.

And that, as they say, was that. True story. Pinter never mentioned which play it was and the speech was never seen or heard by an audience. I don't know about you guys but I've been really curious about which play it was. But anyway, our man Sam hit the nail right on old Harry's head so rest assured....we're in good hands. Oh yeah, quick change of topic - we had our photo shoot for the Endgame poster and postcard last night and I gotta say, this is going to be a kick ass poster. Jia-wei (who is back at set designer and yes, will be talking to you guys about that) took some pictures of the shoot which should be posted up here within the day.

So...yeah, I was gonna talk about the cast. U'En's already given himself an adequate introduction so I shan't waste too much time on him. I wasn't thinking of casting U-En initially, not because I didn't feel he could do the role justice or anything like that, quite the contrary actually, but because I always start out with the intention of working with a fresh cast. I didn't want to re-use anyone from the Double Bill or The Homecoming. But what can I say? When someone's right for a role, there's no point being an asshole about it, so I bit the bullet and brought U-En onboard. He was the first actor to be cast, not in Endgame but 4:48 Psychosis. We were at a seedy bar, drinking beers, talking about the more important things in life like how Marvel better not fuck up the Silver Surfer movie.

Me : Hey fucker.
U-En : Ah.
Me : You busy in August?

Drunk U-En shakes head.

Me : So you're free in August?

Drunk U-En nods head.

Me : Okay, cool. Wanna do another play?

Drunk U-En nods head.

Me : Its about depression and suicide.

Drunk U-En smiles.

To make a long story short, as you know 4:48 got shelved, and Endgame became a priority. It just so happened, (whether the gods were involved, who knows) that Endgame also had a role that U-En was perfect for, Hamm the master, so we were off and running.

Alvin Wong is an actor that I've wanted to do a play with for a long time now. We've done some TV work together but nothing in theatre. Everytime I ask the guy to do theatre, he say he not free, too busy whoring himself out to Astro. FYI, if you don't know who Alvin Wong is, aside from his notable work in TV shows like 'each other', 'Table for Two' and (get this) 'Homecoming' (the chinese drama), he's also the guy from the Astro ad.....y'know the one with the guy sitting between his mom and girlfriend and he's all upset cos the chicks are hogging the remote? Well, that's him. As an actor, I've always found his work impressive. He has the ability to play both larger than life as well as subtle, which is a skill not all actors have. Whether he's playing comedy or drama, he always plays for the truth. And in my mind, I just knew that he and U-En would be a great combo, a salt and pepper combo any mental patient could love. I got the two of them together for a reading (at a bar of course) and the chemistry was just there. We talked a little about scheduling (because with Alvin, you always gotta fucking talk about scheduling) and in the end, I basically told him I wasn't going to take no for an answer so he didn't bother trying. Two days later, Alvin was in. We had our Clov, Hamm's servant.

For the roles of Nagg and Nell, Hamm's parents, I had decided very early on that I wanted to cast the parents younger than the children. The main reason for this was because when I read the play, I couldn't help but feel that that's how they were treated and in many ways, how they talked and behaved. So I thought 'Fuck it, why not.' It'll probably piss off a couple of purists but so what? U-En put it best one night when he said "Beckett would call you a pussy if you followed it to a tee." And I was like "Fuckin'A right bro!"

Kelvin Wong first came to my attention a couple of years ago when he reviewed 'Wish I Was There', a play I had written, for Kakiseni. I remember this because we met a short while after and talked about the review a little. He told why he wrote what he wrote and blah blah blah and then I didn't see him again until he was, along with The Oral Stage (a ensemble theatre group Kelvin put together along with other like-minded students) getting ready to stage 'Rojak!' After that, he came to see The Homecoming, we talked a little after that and after The Homecoming closed, I went to see Rojak! and chatted with him again. I told Kelvin what I thought of the show,so no need to get into that here. He didn't act in Rojak!(he co-directed with Patricia Low) but Faridah mentioned to me that she had seen him act and that she thought I should consider auditioning him. I did and found my Nagg.

Last but not least, Sharifah Amani, who is playing Nell. Watching Kelvin and Nani as Nagg and Nell last night......if we do our jobs right, their relationship should melt and break a lot of hearts. They both bring a sense of innocence to the roles in such a way that you can't help but feel for them. I'm gonna have a lot of fun with this cast. I think. Nani really only needed one thing to be casted and that was she needed to be available, and she was, so there. There were a couple of other young atresses that I was considering but Nani just felt right. She's just an amazingly gifted actress. I loved her performance in 'Sepet'. It made the film for me. She brings so much honesty and truth to the roles she plays and I needed someone like that to play Nell. Also, I had great fun throwing her about as Hamlet and wanted to abuse her somemore so this was perfect.:)

That's all for now. Should have some pics up before the day is out.

Peace.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Me to play

Hello. This is U-En. If you remember me from the Homecoming blog, you'll remember that I sometimes get a little tipsy and then I ramble on and on and on. Anyway, I play Hamm in Endgame. I'm not about to wait for the long-haired weedy git (i.e. Gavin) to give us all proper introductions, so I'll tell you a story. (The rest of the cast will join us soon and I shall duly shut up.)

This year is the centenary of Beckett's birth. A contemporary of Joyce's he was an Irishman who lived most of his life in France. He won the Nobel in '69 and died twenty years later. That much I got from some articles I have lying around.

Now for the human-interest story.

I first came across him at University, where, to impress a very beautiful woman, I went to see a straightforward production of Godot with her at the Union. The woman was partly Irish and partly Goth. She had big, um, eyes. She was quite passionate about things in general. Actually, I am a bit unclear about whether or not she was the woman in question. Anyway, to make it short, I went, I saw, and then I went home. I thought the two fellas in Godot, Vladimir and Estragon, could go on waiting for all I cared.

What I learnt subsequently was that Beckett wrote stories as well. I llked these. Partly because I felt that reading Joyce was the literary equivalent of being covered in soft fuzzy crap, and partly because Beckett plays with language the way a cat plays with a mouse--not to show how clever he is (like Joyce) but simply because he's a cruel bastard who wants to kill you slowly.

Very well. The first and last play I did was with Gavin (chronologically speaking, that is. You work out the grammar for yourselves); namely, Harold Pinter's Homecoming. This is what Pinter says about Beckett:

The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don’t want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him.

He’s not fucking me about, he’s not leading me up any garden path, he’s not slipping me a wink, he’s not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he’s not selling me anything I don’t want to buy — he doesn’t give a bollock whether I buy or not — he hasn’t got his hand over his heart. Well, I’ll buy his goods, hook, line and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty.

His work is beautiful.


I like the bit about leaving no maggot lonely. I am a lonely maggot. I like being a lonely maggot so fuckoffandleavemealone. But lonely maggots have unmaggoty hearts, in case you didn't know and

Where was I?

Tonight we had our second reading of Endgame. Of course, it's early days and we're still trying to figure out how the play goes but I have good maggoty feelings about this. I'll leave it to the others to say more. Assuming they get round to sending me their email addresses so I can sort out this blogger account business.

Ah. How the hell do we get one of those hit-counters here?

... hit counter thinggie is there, but there is an ad thing. We will have to live with it. Now... let's see how embarrassing this proves.

Discovering Endgame

Unlike The Homecoming, I'm afraid I don't have a humourous tale to tell about how I stumbled on it out of nowhere like a fart in the wind while pinching off my daily loaf.......y'know, I have no idea why anyone would ever call me crude.....anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, no funny story.

Originally, I had planned to direct '4:48 Psychosis' by Sarah Kane, a beautiful piece of theatre about clinical depression and suicide. It was gonna be all experimental and hardcore, I was really excited about doing it. Then Joe and Faridah approached me and asked if I would consider doing a Beckett play. Now, prior to this the only Beckett play I had read was 'Waiting for Godot', which I liked but not enough to wanna stress myself out directing it. So I pretended to all agreeable and said that I would look through the other plays and see if there was any other Beckett play I liked.

I went through the complete works and frankly, just wasn't into it. I mean, they were good plays but I just couldn't connect with them. Maybe it was the fact that I already had other plans, or maybe I felt like I didn't know enough about Beckett to really take the search seriously. Maybe I said yes to stall from ultimately saying no. Yeah, maybe.

I talked to Joe and basically told him that I hadn't made my mind up yet but that I really wasn't feeling it. He nodded, told me to go with my gut and that was that. A couple of hours later, I started thumbing through the Beckett works again and started re-reading Endgame. And for whatever dumbass reason, I shit you not, the second time round, it totally cracked me up. I left it for a day, then went through it again, and this time it made me cry. In the office. True story. No one saw. Thank Christ.

The more I read it, the more I related to it on a personal level, very similar to how 4:48 Psychosis affected me the first time. It hit home on a lot of feelings I have towards life, love, family, the fucking world. Another thing that really attracted me to the idea of doing it was that I had no idea how I was gonna do it which totally freaked me out and turned me on at the same time. And it also happens to be Beckett year this year so what the hell! That's how it happened, and so here we all are, back at the deep end once again, where the water's warm, and the sharks are waiting.....they're waiting.

Be back in a bit with stuff about the cast.

Peace.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The beginning of the end...

Good evening people, Gavin here. I'm sitting at my pop-culture whore of a desk at KLPac mere hours away from my first rehearsal for Samuel Beckett's Endgame, the next play I'm directing. So yeah, right now I'm just sitting here......just sitting....wondering what the hell I think I'm doing trying to tackle Beckett but that's normal.

Anyway, here we are with another production blog. I've decided that I'm gonna do this for every production I direct cos its just such a great way to connect with the audience, to give them an insight into what we're doing and the why's and the how's and all that other arty crap that some people find interesting.:) For those of you who enjoyed The Homecoming production blog, you can look forward to more of the same with this one. Only this time, its a whole new show with a new cast (except for U-En, c'mon I hadda bring Lenny back!). Rounding out the rest of the cast is Alvin Wong, Kelvin Wong and Sharifah Amani. I'm pumped about this show and I expect it to be another funny, trippy fucked up experience for all involved, especially the audience.

That's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow to talk about how the first reading with the cast went, how I came to discover the play and how the actors got cast.

Peace.