(+8 GMT) before the undead come to life

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remains of the day

Post-mortem time. I am the pathologist. So there.

Time of death was around 2300hrs last Friday. I can't tell you what the cause was. It certainly didn't make hordes of beautiful women embrace me and say how very much they were impressed; although it did one, and to her I am very much indebted. Unfortunately I can't go any farther than being indebted. This is a sad, sad world. For me, anyway.

So much for the post mortem. That is the director's business anyway. What I can tell you has to do with some very special people. Without them there would have been no show, good or bad:

You. The Audience. Frankenstein is not a conventional, "safe", play. Thank you.

Lawrence Selvaraj. SM. He gives as good as he gets, sometimes. One cannot blame him; he is underprivileged. Lawrence has saved my pitiful arse in the past. He continues to do so today.

Michael Chen and Melissa Maureen. I know few people as hard-working and as professional as these two. Note "people", not "actors". I don't know many actors. I know plenty of people, unfortunately. I think most people are idiots. Not these two. I know this because I loiter around them in the backstage corridor because of SHAME. It is partly true. I also loiter because I am usually still sleepy around sundown and can't move any faster. But SHAME is the main thing.

Paul Hasham and Tora. Builders. These fellows should set up their own construction firm. Mat Salleh and Bumi. Sure make money one. I am a chinaman. I know about these things.

Lim Ang Swee. Lights. Even in the rare event when this grinning bugger fucks up, he fucks up spectacularly. Like the charge of the Light Brigade. Haha. Or Tchaikovsky's 1812 performed by rabid armpit-scratching monkeys in a room full of Catholic schoolgirls. You know it will obliterate you, but still you want to be there.

Maria Pilar Juste Ballesteros. ASM. 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... Sadly, I did not get to impress her with my atrocious knowledge of mediaeval Catalan love songs. (Ojos claros y serenos, ya que ansí me miráis, miradme al menos, &c.) I regret this. It might have given us something else to bet on.

Zona Also known as Midnite Lily. Thanks. Again.

Wah Keng Hyen. This soundboard man came up with not one, but two of the most creative excuses for snafus I heard during the production. 1. "It's a 6.3 versus 4.8 problem", (numbers to that effect) and 2. "It's a phantom clip." My thanks for Within Temptation.

Loo Jia-Wei has designed all three sets I have been involved in. While I have many regrets about my own judgement, I have not had even momentary reservations about her work. I played a small role in Frankenstein; but I walked around on the stage every night before we opened, as I have done with all your sets. Thank you.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Approaching the End.

Tonight's the last show. Geez. I'm already missing it.

Cockatoo is a real gem of a role and I'll always remember having been given the opportunity to play him - even if I wasn't first choice *grin*.

Playing along side the likes of the cast of this play and having so much to do has been very nerve wrecking. One the one hand, I feel like I'm in good hands because it is so easy to act with such an experienced cast. During some rehearsals, it feels like they are carrying me and I'm just riding the wave.

On the other hand, the pressure of wondering whether I'll fade away into the background when I act along side them also preys on my mind at times.

But all that being said, I've learnt so much in such a short period, I hope it all stays with me. Thank you's are due to Gavin for spending extra time with me to help me develop and do justice to Cockatoo. Rashid and Douglas are constantly offering me much appreciated and extremely useful tips that have been put to good use (I hope). Patrick has also given me a lot to think about with the 'little things', things I think I would probably have missed about Cockatoo. Mary, for not treating me like her student *lol* (in case some of you missed it - she was my lecturer in college). Kennie for giving me a lot tips too - especially when it came down to looking more like a soldier handling guns and even lacing up army boots. U-en for always referring to me as an *actor* making me feel less awkward and more at home. Melissa and Ari for just being so cool with me. And of course Rauf, Bharani and Reuben: the other new fellas with me sharing the *heat* after some bad rehearsals!!

I was also Jia Wei's Production Assistant on this play and I did quite a bit of running around - sorting out costumes and props and such. It was a lot more of a challenge than I think I was prepared for. I hope I was more of help to her rather than a nuisance. *Grin*. So, Jia Wei, thanks for being patient with me.

Actually, that should go to everyone, thanks for being patient with me. :)

After tonight, I'll have to say a little farewell to the man that is Cockatoo. He's a really good guy if you give him a chance. He does not desire to be liked. He does not yearn for any sort of attention. He does not want to be a hero. He just does whatever he thinks he should be doing and makes no apologies for anything. He's a guy who's been dealt a lousy hand and wants desperately to make the best out of it even if the best is out of his grasp.

Is he really any different from the rest of us?
I hope I did him justice.
I'm out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

This is douglas lim's 8th posting

This will proably be my last posting for this blog. This is because the figure 8 is actually the symbol for "infinity" turned right side up. It is also because our run ends in two days.
What does one feel at the end of a "run"? Well, the obvious answer is "tired" and so I will give you the non-obvious answer: "pineapple".

I know lots of you are wondering, "How do actors prepare for a play like FiL?" In this final entry, I hope to show you what goes on 1 hour before SHOWTIME.

1st till 3rd minute.
BaBaBaBaBaBaBa(repeat)CaCaCaCaCaCaCa(repeat)DaDaDaDaDaDaDa(repeat)FaFaFaFaFaFaFa(repeat)GaGaGaGaGaGaGa(repeat)HaHaHaHaHaHaHa(repeat) etc...

4th to 15th minute
To begin at the beginning(repeat) It is spring moonless night in a small town starless and bible black(repeat) The rabbits go fishing in a slow black crow black boat(repeat) Town clock etc...

16th to 23rd minute
I slit a sheet, a sheet a slit(repeat) Beneath a slitted shit I sit(repeat) I shit a slit a shitty sheep beneath a ship of sheeps a sit selling sea shells on the sea shore(repeat) etc...

24th to 30th minute
I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son(repeat) I'm sitting plucking pheasants till the pheasant plucker comes(repeat). I'm not a pleasant fu**er I'm a Fu**ing peasant's son, I'm sitting on a slitted pheasant till the rabbits go fishing(repeat) etc...

31st to 38th minute
Racist?(repeat) You call me racist?!(repeat) Your grandmother taught you to be decent but men of the cloth are prosecutors(repeat) I can't hear you!(repeat) etc...

39th to 44th minute
BaBaBaBaBaBaBa(repeat)CaCaCaCaCaCaCa(repeat)DaDaDaDaDaDaDa(repeat)FaFaFaFaFaFaFa(repeat)GaGaGaGaGaGaGa(repeat)HaHaHaHaHaHaHa(repeat) etc...

45th to 55th minute
Gavin : How are you all feeling?
All : Yeah!
Gavin : Melissa, you need to be careful with your new car.
Mel : Yeah!
Gavin : Rashid, Ari, Kenny, Rueben, Rauf, Bharani, Mary, Patrick, U-En, Michael and Zombies, have fun and really explore but be careful not to damage Melissa's new car.
All : Yeah!
Gavin : Douglas, you were GREAT!!!!
Doug : No-lah.
Gavin : No, really!
Doug : Ok.

56th to 60th minute
HaveagoodshowHaveagoodshowHaveagoodshowHaveagoodshow
HaveagoodshowHaveagoodshowHaveagoodshowHaveagoodshow
Haveagoodshow Yesssssahhhhh!

SHOWTIME

Friday, October 27, 2006

Opening Night......

Hello everyone. I know I've been somewhat negligent with the blog this time around and for that, I apologize. But you see.....when you're spending most of your nights huddled up in a corner, shooting up smack, in a small dark room with bad plumbing, accompanied by a huge black guy named Daisy.....well, let's just say its hard to get to a computer. And Daisy sold my laptop cos we ran out of smack so.....yeah, sorry.

We open tonight, in about 8 hours. U-En had mentioned in an earlier post that I would probably start off this post with something like "It has been an amazing journey...." Well, I have never been one to intentionally dissapoint my friends so here goes......

It has been an amazing journey.......happy now? Huh? Happy now fuckhead? It actually has been quite a ride. Its been a real 'yo-yo' experience. There have been some amazing days and some truly fucked up ones. This has proven to be the hardest thing I have ever attempted as a director, which has led to it becoming both one of the most torturous and rewarding experiences of my professional life. I don't know what you guys are going to think of the play. Its not like anything you've ever seen on the Malaysian stage and I'm still trying to figure out if that's ultimately going to be a good thing or a bad thing.

Its difficult to sit and write about this one because over the last couple of months, its become such an all-consuming experience that I haven't trusted myself to write about it objectively. I can say this much though.....I have been blessed with a great cast. One of the things I love most about directing is watching my actors discover things.....watching the growth from first reading to first run to first night has been a treat and I can't wait to see them share with an audience what they have shared with me. Jia-Wei, a woman who will never be happy with anything she does regardless of how fucking cool it is, so let me just say that if this set doesn't receive some kind of nomination or something.....then there's something seriously wrong with the world. Master-Builder Paul Hasham has brought her design to life in a way that only he can. And Lim Ang Fucking Psycho Swee's lights are.....well.....there are no words. You gotta see it for yourself. And we got a kick-ass horror sound design courtesy of Michael Thomas that gives me chills everytime I hear it. Ok, ok......objective, be objective......

That's really all I have to say for now. If everyone performs the way I know they can.....we're gonna have a fucking great show. At the end of the day, the only reason to stage anything is so it can be shared with an audience. And as frightening as that may be for me right now, I can't wait for it.

See you tonight......tomorrow......and tomorrow.....and tomorrow. The dead are waiting.

Peace.

We open this evening

That's all I have to say. Gives me a thrill to say: Eh, we open later today.

I am sleepy. See you later. Haha. Maybe.

uen

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

we open soon

I know what Gavin will say in his next post. It will begin like this: "It has been an interesting journey for me" ... Note that the elipsis is outside the quote mark. He likes epic words like 'journey' and has a habit of writing a great many of them, hence my bringing up this point of grammar. Actually, there are three points of grammar, if you go in for these things. People like Thor Kah Hoong do. Sadly.

I have trouble sleeping at night. So I shall beat young Gavin to his game and say this:

It has been an interesting journey for me. I am very new to acting, and am still convinced that I am not an actor, but an idiot. People like Gavin sometimes disagree with this painful piece of self-assessment, but I think they are idiots too, so no harm done.

Nevertheless, I have had a great time with two miserable buggers, to wit, Patrick Teoh and Ari Ratos; and I have had the honour and privilege of meeting some very talented people who are actors. Miss Melissa Maureen Rizal, Mr Dowle, Mr Michael Chen, and whatisname the fella with the beret who mops the floor.

Now, what Gavin normally says in his fifth para is: "This play will blow your mind."

I am not entirely sure what he means by the verb 'blow'.

Ah, I have suddenly discovered that I have work to do tomorrow. The problem is "tomorrow" has become "today". So more later.

Goodnight (morning) flesh.

uen

Continuation

It is 0215, 26th Oct. 2006. Again I can't sleep. No, not 'again'. Still. Anyway, to continue.

This play will blow your mind. It is an ambitious creature. So many things can go wrong, and, according to my friend Murphy who has some laws named after him, they will. Another thing Gavin likes to say in his fifth para is this: "It has been a humbling experience".

The line between humility and mortification is very fine. Reputations can be broken by this play. Any play, for that matter. But I don't have one to begin with, so it doesn't matter to me. This begs a question. I have to ask myself why I do it. The thrill of prancing around in public like an overcooked sausage (assuming overcooked sausages can prance around in public... it is late. My similes are weakening)? No. Not likely.

The Great Art of it? No. Not that either. Don't have a rat's arse to give about that. The wish to have the one most beautiful and intelligent woman in this transitory middle earth come up to you and coo "Oh, what a lovely performance. I love you with all my heart and soul"? No, that has not been my lot.

So why?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cockatoo Diary 3.

I saw a man beat himself to a near death today. He was hitting himself with whatever he could reach - everything from sticks and stones to his own fists and even flinging himself against walls and the ground.

Apparently, his whole family had just been murdered and he just went mad.

But watching him abuse himself that way reminded me of my own little memory - of when I was a mere child working at the ranch that I spent most of my formative years on. I was an orphan child and the ranch owner took me in as an errand boy.

The rest of the help who were much older used to pick on the smaller ones - like I was when I was just taken in. We were made to do all the jobs the older ranch hands were too lazy to do. And if anything wasn't done, we'd get the blame. I was beaten constantly as punishment.

It happened so much, that for a long time I was actually scared.

One day, I knew that the ranch hands were coming for me. I was sick of being afraid. So I stripped myself of all my clothes. I grabbed a whip and started whipping myself. I smashed my head against the walls. I flung myself onto the ground.

I felt numb - which was good. Because I wasn't afraid anymore. It was a liberating feeling.

By the time the ranch hands got to me. I was bleeding all over. Cuts and bruises covered my entire body. There I was, standing naked and grinning at them. It was the first time I ever felt so powerful. The ranch hands just looked at me, unable to say or do anything. And then they just left me.

They never laid a hand on me again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This is douglas lim's 7th posting

Ah...the 7th posting. You all know know what this means right? It's QUIZ time. FiL is a play with lots of words which form lots of phrases which form lost of sentences. Tt's quite dense (in terms of words). Personally, I like words. The only problem is, you can only appreciate a group of words if you understand the meaning.
Thus I have included this QUIZ for potential viewers of FiL. It basically gives you a sneak peak at some of the "killer lines" that will be heard during the play. But more than that, it makes you think of the explicit and implicit meaning.
To cater to our all post-SPM readers, the QUIZ is in Multiple Choice Format.

THE QUIZ

1. "There are monsters out there tonight, roaming around, looking for love. And when they find it...endless night." Why is it "endless night" when monsters find love?
a) Monsters take a long time to climax during love making.
b) Something happens to the Sun at this time.
c) "Monsters" is a metaphor for "Mat Rempits" and "Endless night" means a night in the lockup.
d) Dunno, Dun Care!

2. "He cut them up, made new children - endless combinations. Day old babies with horses' heads." What other "combinations" could there be?
a) Cows with horses' bodies (aka as a real skinny cow)
b) Snakes with a politicians' head
c) A Chinese comic actor with Johnny Depp's sex appeal (aka Douglas)
d) A "Dunno" with a "Dun Care"

3. "If I'm excrement and you're less than me, what does that make you?" Answer this question.
a) Urine
b) Peter Andre
c) Fart
d) The liquid shit that pretends to be fart until you let one go and shit yourself.

4. "Once they get their hands on a wet, sloppy fish, there's no stopping them. They just go beserk. Start pulling off its skin, licking it all over - " What fish do you think this is?
a) Siakap
b) Koi
c) Bawal
d) Ikan Bakar

5. "You'll never be human. Look at yourself. You're a walking cemetary, a paradox, a contradiction." Is this a wise thing to say to a monster?
a) No
b) No
c) No
d) Dunno, Dun Ca-ARRGGGGHHH!!! Help Me!!! Somebody Help Me!!!!!

6. "Health is an appalling betrayal, you're right." What the hell does this mean???
a) Something to do with insurance.
b) The doctor always says that it won't hurt...then he pokes you with a needle and IT HURTS!
c) Your cholesterol is low, your BP is stable and you're fit...but you're ugly and no one loves you so you commit suicide.
d) It means that the guy that said "health is an appalling betrayal" was right in saying so.

7. "You want some Beaujolais (wine)? It's not a particularly good year but it goes with anything." What is the perfect food pairing for Beaujolais?
a) Satay
b) Roti Banjir
c) Maggie Goreng
d) Dunno, Dun Care. Yaaaammm Siiiiinggg!!!

8. "My back feels as though it wants to split. And my face gets tight, as though someone's pressing on it from behind." What could cause such symptoms?
a) Back and face desease
b) Too much I-Gallop
c) Owing some gangsters a lot of money
d) Beaujolais and Roti Banjir

9. "I disgust myself, I hate myself, stealing from the dead." If not the dead, who should we steal from?
a) The paralyzed
b) The blind
c) Gavin Yap
d) The government. They started it!

10. "The fire is on the stairs." What does this mean?
a) Fire is a dynamic force that can go up and down.
b) Stairs are flamable.
c) It's getting hot in here so take off all your clothes.
d) Use the lift.

For answers, check with Gavin.

Ok, thank you.