Monday, July 31, 2006

NOW the end is nigh. Not yet... but nearly.

We intended to post short audio snips of Endgame in a lame attempt at publicity. For technical reasons, however, this is not possible (blogspot does not allow non-image uploads) so there goes that blindingly brilliant plan.

As you can see from the lack of posts lately, there has been a lack of posts lately. There are many reasons for this, principal of which is the fact that I have the privilege to work with a pack of lazy, snivelling, scumsucking bastards. So it falls on me to keep the rest of you lazy, snivelling, scumsucking bastards informed.

Here are entries from my otherwise non-existent diary. You may sell any of it (or any part thereof) to Hello magazine, or whatever other intellectually-challenged rag you might find delightful to read:

Thursday 27th July, 2006
REHEARSAL

Opening lines fubar. What the hell. Do I think I am an actor? Forgot a prop, so had to improvise. The last time I improvised was on the opening night of Homecoming when I forgot my first line, in the first scene, of the first act, of the first ever stage production I ever did in which I actually said something. Anyway, that is an old story. Lots of blood under the bridge.

Somewhere along the way we managed to get some semblance of a rehearsal happening. Not good, but still a rehearsal. Then Alvin the Complete and Utter Lobotomised Worm interrupts his line thus:

Clov: Sharks? I don't know. If there are there will be... uh... eh... aiyah... heheh... sorryla... I really need to... you know... like... go." (exits, left)

Wtf. Go? Where? I play a blind person who cannot walk. I face the audience. At this point Clov stands behind me. I cannot see. I don't know what the hell he is doing. Time passes. Nothing stirs. I get up and get my missing prop. I go back to my chair. Time passes... the idiot has gone for a pee. He comes back.

Alvin: Ah... eh... heheh... sorryla.
Me: (continues rehearsal. I know he will be right royally screwed after the run and thank the kind heavens, for otherwise I'd get the right royal screwing for having forgotten my prop.)

Actually I don't remember exactly where in Endgame this takes place, but it reminds me of the time when, rehearsing Homecoming, I said to Thor before the rehearsal:

Me: Oy, old man, have you wound up your car windows? Looks like rain.
Thor: Nyeerwooorrmmd. (Somesuch sound to the like effect)
Me: I'm not joking. The storm's over Ampang. It should hit us in about an hour.
Thor: Nyeerwooorrmmd.

(Rehearsal begins. Act 1, Sc 3.)

Thor (brandishing his walking stick as Max): We've had a lousy stinking whore under the roof all night... er... ah... oh fuck. (Drops stick, gets up and runs down stairs into the carpark because a storm has hit).

Approaching the beginning of the end

Hey guys Gavin here. Yeah, there's no getting around the fact that we've all been a bunch of lazy shits the last week. For those of you that have been coming back to the blog, thanks a bunch. I'll be getting on the actor's asses about being more regular with the posts. The next few days are going to be very interesting so it'll be cool for them to share it with you (in some way or another).

We bumped in (wanky theatre term for moving out of the rehearsal space and into the theatre) Thursday last week. A blessing really to get that kind of time in the theatre. Most times, you're lucky if you can do two runs of the show in the theatre before opening. With this one, we would've had five runs come opening night, which is great cos the theatre is twice the size of the rehearsal space we've been working in. It always feels a little weird when you first go into the theatre because you've gotten so used to working the show in a certain space. Then all of a sudden you've got twice as much room, which fucks with your blocking cos now you gotta re-time your lines with your movement so the pace doesn't lag and you gotta be conscious of your volume and blah blah. So yeah, can get a little disorientating. But on the plus side, it gives the cast and me one hell of a wake up call. When you run a play over and over, night after night, its easy to get stuck in a rut. Bumping in always helps to put us back on our toes. 'Oh shit, I, like, totally forgot people are coming to this!'

We'll be having our full dress rehearsal tonight and the big man, Joe Hasham himself, will be checking it out so that should be fun. Always an education. And I gotta catch up with Mac in a mo while he tweaks the lights a little cos as it stands now, it might be a bit TOO dark haha. Anyway, be back soon. Should have some full dress pics up soon.

Peace.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Wor Chao...

Hey fellas... da mole is finally out of his hole. geez... i'm actually writing this in my snoozy state right now. even the somewhat random arrangement of alphabets on da keyboard is starting to make sense. just like when it dawned on me dat Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds actually implied LSD. and i thought dat Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies were just stuff dat comes out Barney the Singing Purple Dinosaur's mouth. Oh by da way, i'm da Ah Beng playing Clov...

I'm having so much fun in this production dat when Endgame actually ends, i'll be da first to cry like a pansy ass and end up hugging anyone in sight, including da ever-ready-to-salute-machas in da KLPAC guardhouse. i tell ya, the Endgame crew looks like a bunch of radicals who would pull a guerilla on da theatre scene armed with... with... a fluffy dog, a glorified stick called gaff, talcum powder, old school alarm clock, a dude with a perpetual barret or cap and... okay not too much detail now. But Beckett's tough shit, did i spell his name right? it's very very intense. as Gavin would put it, "you'll need a great command of focus for this one..." true dat. it's mentally taxing and it doesn't get any easier with me coming from a very Chinese literate background. U En's my walking dictionary. there were a lot of stuff in da script i didn't understand. in da beginning i just performed based on sheer instinct. guessing what dat Sam dude could've meant with those tricky lines. i mean, i can't be spoutting them lines without understanding them thoroughly. Gavin's great to work with, he made da whole theatre experience feels much less intimidating for me. just like how intimidating lawn bowling is to da old folks and French people. when in doubt, head butt da fucker!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

'There's something dripping in my head'.

Hello people, Gavin here. Sorry for the lack of updates. I can only assume that my actors are too busy learning their lines to post anything. And poor Alvin only has time to learn his lines after 3am cos 'Mumbo Jumbo' is still pretty pumping before then. But that's just on Wednesdays......what does he get up to during the other six days of the week? Its one of those great mysteries......its right up there with the JFK assasination. A lone gunman? Yeah, right. You want the truth, talk to Oliver Stone. That guy knows things.

Wrote my director's notes for the programme yesterday. I have mixed feelings about director's notes. I love the 'idea' of director's notes, that you're given this one chance to speak your mind about the how's and why's of this and that and all the other things that you think might help the audience understand where you're coming from. I for one, enjoy reading director's notes. Sometimes, they're really funny. Especially when the notes include words like - art, artistic, artistry, artful. That always cracks me up. But anyway, I digress. I love the idea. The actual writing is another thing entirely. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy the process of writing director's notes cos it gives me a chance to sort of reflect on the play and what we've been doing and how its effected us and all that but to try and write all this down without making it sound like a prententious wank isn't as easy as you might think. Downright impossible actually, its like trying to say 'no' to Faridah Merican. It just doesn't happen. Anyway, I guess you guys can judge for yourselves.

We'll be running the play for the first time tonight. I'm looking forward to it. Normally first runs are either really good or really bad so it'll be interesting to see how it goes. Before the run, we'll be recording the play (finally), so that should warm the actors up pretty good for the run. Sorry the recording has taken so long. I've been wanting to get some sound bites on the blog for you guys to listen to, and we will, hopefully by next week. We tried to record it last week but we kept hearing the 'Broken Bridges' songs in the background cos they were rehearsing upstairs. So tonight's recording will be done in a proper sound proof recording studio......which I never knew we had, otherwise I would've used it the first time. Y'know those old 'Tom & Jerry' cartoons where a thought balloon pops up above a character's head and there's a picture of a jackass? Yeah, that's how I felt when I found out we had a recording booth.

The actors are really getting into their roles. U'En's portrayal of Hamm is gonna floor a lot of people I think. He's perfectly suited to material like this cos he just has a great apreciation for the language. Plus he's got cool sounding voice. He has the ability to sound menacing and sinister as well as scared and sympathetic. Alvin is a fuckin' riot, plain and simple. His Clov ranges from being painfully funny to frustratingly sad, and by the end of the play, you really feel as though the character has gone through an evolution of sorts. I love the relationship between Kelvin's Nagg and Nani's Nell. I've always had a soft spot for these characters because of the way their relationship addresses the issue of love and loss. There's something both inherently beautiful and heart breaking about old love, because you get the sense that these two people have only recently discovered that they live thier lives for each other, when neither one of them, has much time left to live.

So we've got, like what....thirteen days to go? Can't wait. It'll be a crazy night on August 2nd when the lights go down. I expect to be a wreck.

Peace.

Monday, July 17, 2006

line!

whoa, kepanasan yang tak terhingga. you can even fry an egg on u-en's bald head.

anyways, we're going off-book starting this week. which means we're burning our scripts before the run today, and if we don't remember our lines, all we gotta do is shout out the magic word, and lawrence'll prompt us. come next week, we're burning lawrence, so if we do fuck up then, we jaga-jaga diri lah. heh. which means continuing even if lines are skipped. not panicking when lines are forgotten. knowing what to do when your arse is burning like that. and imagining the look on the gav's face- very the scary.

off to rehearsals now. let's see what happens tonight.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

'are you crying again?'

murmurs. conversation in the dark.
i can no longer see.
voices. in. the. dark.
i miss.
you.
in the dark.
i hear. the silence.
as loud as any scream.
it is in darkness.
i see my soul.
recognition. of. regret.
so much.
regret.
so many. useless. words.
action?
no. not me. not you.
not ever.
i must live.
so must you.
i miss.
you.
i.
you.
forever.
apart.
i.
you.
forever.

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness


Jia-Wei says there are some problems with the original audio tape. Sound levels uneven, reverb, etc. If we can, we'll re-record this evening. So all of you lazy fence-sitting bastards will have to wait a little longer. For the non-fence-sitting crowd, Gavin says tickets are out. Go and buy. Come and see. Live action theatre. Not as seen on TV. No ad breaks. No censor's snips. No mermaids. No giant two-headed alien who is actually Elvis's mother. What more can we say?

OK. Time to go to work. I still have to eat. Theatre doesn't pay. Because of you lousy stinking fence-sitting bastards.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The end is motherfuckin' nigh bitch

Hey guys, Gavin here. The blog has kinda lagged lately so sorry about that. I've been busy with the Beckett Residency, which was great fun. It was a little like being back in school.....y'know, you had the fuckers that were just there because.....well, they were just there la, then you had the swots, the people who always look like their doing stuff but actually they're not doing anything at all (my category ladies and gents) and then they were the suckers who look very calm and serene but behind closed doors are actually going out of their minds cos they doing everyone else's work for them. Nah, can't tell a lie. Great bunch of people, some really talented individuals.

The Residency went on from the 27th of June till the 8th of July, this past Saturday. Thankfully it was more practical than theory. I sucked at school. Acadamia (is that how you spell it?) was never my thing. I remember back in Form 3, while everyone else's parents were telling their sons and daughters to score 8 A's or else, my dad was telling me and I quote - "Just pass! I'm not asking for much, just pass the bloody thing! Please!" I did pass. Although I must confess I remain somewhat baffled as to how.

Majority of the Residency was spent rehearsing for our final presentation which was a performance of six short Beckett plays, in Pentas 2. The plays were (just in case anyone cares to know)-
1) Act Without Words
2) Catastrophe
3) Come and Go
4) Rough for Theatre
5) Footfalls
6) Nacht und Traume

I opted not to perform in any of them and worked on the lighting instead which was very cool seeing as the last time i helped light anything was way back in college when things were still done manually. Now everything's fucking computerized and shit so you got this big fucking control board in front of you, staring you down and you can pratically hear it whispering to you in a slow, Clint Eastwood, type of voice "Go on punk.....push the wrong button......fuck up the cue, then assume the position and prepare for maximum discomfort.....bitch." But luckily Aedin (our lighting desinger who came with Sarah Jane, who conducted the Residency) was very patient with me, so I didn't have to assume the position too many times. But lemme just say.....the tech crew here at KLpac rock, and I'm not just saying that cos its KLPac, they just rock - plain and simple. A note to anyone out there who's even thinking of directing.....treat your crew good cos these people play just as vital a role in making sure your show comes alive as your cast.

But anyway, back to Endgame. We spent a fair chunk of time in the initial stages of rehearsals to really get into the language. As I think I mentioned in an earlier posting, the words are really the star of the play. It was essential that the actors really relished what they were saying because as an audience member, if you're not familiar with Beckett, it is possible to get a little turned off by it because you might find yourself trying to cling to something..... like a plot, and with Beckett, there seldom is a plot. That's not what his plays are about. Its not about sitting your ass down and saying "Okay. I'm here. I've paid for my ticket. Give me a fuckin' show.", so its up to the actors to draw the audience in with the words and to do that, they need to love what they're saying. So we paid a lot of attention to that. Endgame doesn't have a conventional linear narrative, it doesn't have a clever plot twist at the end, it doesn't have special effects, cursing, spitting, violence, sex, drugs or rock and roll. But yet.....I love it, because what it does do, if you allow it to, is it shoves in your face a very scary picture of who we are and the lives we lead. And it manages to do this without resorting to anything familiar, some visual or verbal thing that makes you go "Yeah, I recognize that, I've done that, blah blah...."

I'll give you an example of what I mean: Hamm is the master and Clov is the servant. Now although the two roles are clearly defined and you know you're watching a master/servant relationship, it can be so easily compared to any employer/employee relationship. One of my favourite bits of dialogue in the play is from a monologue that Clov has where he says

Clov : I say to myself - sometimes, Clov, you must learn to suffer better than that if you want them to weary of punishing you - one day. I say to myself - sometimes, Clov, you must be there better than that if you want them to let you go - one day. But I feel too old, and too far, to form new habits.

That monologue kills me every time I hear it because I've so been there before, and I know so many people who know what that feels like......that feeling of being stuck in a rut, knowing you're in a rut and yet not doing anything about it because you feel too far in the game too switch gears, or too tired or too old to start over. This never-ending fear of the future and all the possibilities of failure that it holds. The whole play is filled with amazing moments like this, where you're basically sitting there in shock because of the mirror that is constantly being held to your face the more you you begin to think about what you're watching. Like I said.....I really love this play.

So yeah, once we spent sufficient time exploring the language, next we had to start exploring the relationships and the rhythms of the dialogue. Beckett's dialogue is all about finding the rhythms. He wrote almost as if he were composing a piece of music. You take it up, then down, stay there for a while, let the audience enjoy it, the bring it up again, then down, half way, then back up again........as you can probably tell from my complex use of musical jargon, I'm an accomplshed musical theorist. I'm currently working on my latest opera tentatively titled "What I'm going to do to Michael Bay if he fucks up the Transformers live action movie"

That's all for now. Its going good so far so knock on wood, it'll be an awesome mind-fuck time come August 2nd. BTW, tickets are now on sale......shameless, I know.

Peace.

Interviews & Rehearsals

Prior to the recording as mentioned by U-en below, the cast was interviewed by Sarah Jane Scaife, who was in town from Ireland to conduct the Beckett Workshop at KLPac. Here are some pictures from the interview. Basically the idea of recording Endgame as a radio play came from this interview. As part of the interview, she requested the cast read an excerpt, which went so well that everyone was in agreement that we should record the play in its entirety. As soon as we're done converting it from its orignal DAT format,we'll post a little audio preview.







Saturday, July 08, 2006

The radio show

No one has updated this blog for a while. Gavin is busy during the day with the Beckett Residency, where, no doubt, he is behaving like the lobotomised ape we have come to know and despise. Nani has her stuff to do, whatever that may be; Kelvin has classes (he is a student; we had to order him milk at the pub the other day); Alvin is being perpetually shot. I have been trying, without success, to earn a living; and, for reasons best known to himself, Lawrence has been sweeping the rehearsal room floor.

Anyway, last night the four of us sat around a microphone and recorded all of Endgame, reading it as if it were a radio play. Gavin was gimping around at the back providing the necessary sound effects (by dropping things on the floor, pretending to be an alarm clock, and miming masturbation. You will have to ask him about that last one yourself). Jia-Wei wasn't around, so I'm sorry but there are no pictures. Maybe later I shall try to provide you some chicken scratchings, but to be honest this is rather embarrassing and I'd much rather be playing with my playstation. So there.

Anyway, our friends from Ireland (who are here conducting the aforesaid Beckett Residency) interviewed us one evening for their friends at home, so now the Irish will know what a pack of talentless hacks we really are. I'm secretly hoping that the Taoiseach will declare us Outlaws. It will make my CV look good compared to the crap that's there. Anyway, at some point during the interview we hit on the idea of recording the play. It's an analogue recording, and Gavin has promised to get a digital conversion done. After we do that, we'll post some mp3s here so you lousy lazy stinking fence-sitting Malaysian gits will have a better idea if this is a play you want to see.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rehearsing in the Technical Training Studio...

We've been rehearsing in the technical training studio for about a week now. It's the only workable space other than Pentas 1 & Pentas 2 where we can get a blackout. It was a good time for Mac and myself to gauge how the lights were going to work in relation to the actors and the set. We've been pretty happy with what we see at the moment, which will make the transition into the theatre very exciting.

Here are some pictures from the very first rehearsal in our new space.

















Sunday, July 02, 2006

Nagg

Saturday, July 01, 2006

pitstop

late friday night. me and me script. me and nagg. me getting into nagg. nagg getting into me.

you buncha perverts. i know what you're thinking.

or not? sorry. at this age one still does assume a lot.

i've always thought having a character live within you's easy. no wonder me actors gave me the finger(s) when i directed them a coupla months ago. the idea of opening up (and i mean it in the cleanest way), doing your thing, doing what you wanna do, being as silly as you can possibly be (and you know you can, you wanna), isn't the easiest thing to do either. there's just too much fucking things going on in me head, it's damn hard to concentrate during rehearsals sometimes. you get too fucking conscious of yourself, your head asks a mill and one questions, and this is in a room with three, four people. on august it'd be like, in fronta 100, 200 orang? haaa. someone gimme a paper bag.

but i've been trying to get me groove back. dah lamer tak ber-acting, one somehow crawls back into the shell of comfort, safety. the gav and the bunch, they been encouraging. more time, more rehearsals, the more i get outa me cave, the more i get into me character, the play. two weeks into rehearsals now, and it's gettin there, albeit slowly.

nagg has been, well, challenging. it's not like i can dig up something of me past on being someone's dad; i've been an annoying son to me dad, that i know. the gav suggest i talk to people who's got kids, who's expecting, who's got kids who are grown up. been approaching a few, and it's been enlightening. i mean, i'm usually with me buncha hoots and they're no where as experienced (har har) as these people. and so talking to them, i bring home a thing or two every time, and it isn't just for this production. faham faham la.

how do you think it's like being parents, to have kids, more so when they're all grown up? hm. a toughie.

neways, posters are up, postcards are everywhere, so look out of them.

g'nite.