(+8 GMT) before the undead come to life

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This is douglas lim's 5th posting

Hello. How are you? I am fine, thank you. Don't mention it.

Nice pictures Jia Wei. However, I actually look a lot fatter in photos than I am in real life. Since I'm on this subject, I might as well tell you the whole story.

Once upon a time there was a boy. His name was Douglas Lim. In real life, he was slim and fit - but in photographs, he was chuby and meaty. If you see him on the street, he looks lean and athletic - but on TV, he often appears large and clumsy. Should you chance upon an encounter with him in a club, he would come across as toned and flexible - but should you buy a painted portrait of him, he would appear chunky and...er...and...big. The end.

Well, that was the whole story. Now for some updates of FiL rehearsals. Blocking has been officially set. For those who are unfamiliar with our theater lingo - let me explain.
"Blocking" - A process where the LEAD actors get placed IN FRONT OF the LESSER actors to ensure that they (LEAD actors) can be seen my the majority of the audience who I'm sure are actually at the theater to watch Lazaro (LESSER actor).
"has been officially set" - We have no idea where we should be, at which point in time, doing what. Gavin thinks he knows...but does he?
BUMPER OUT - into COMMERCIAL BREAK 1.
End of COMMERCIAL BREAK 1 - BUMPER In.
He knows. I've seen his little scribblings in his script. He know...too much!
So with blocking out of the way, we can concentrate on performance during rehearsals. Once again, for the not-so-theater savvy, here are the definitions.
"concentrate" - Nod intelligently while Gavin is giving his directions.
"performance" - Nodding (and other gestures like jotting down blocked positions, etc...)
"rehearsals" - Fun, get-together among friends.
Gavin has also started leading warm-ups and introducing focus exercises. "What are these?" I hear you ask. Stay tuned...
BUMPER OUT - into COMMERCIAL BREAK 2.
End of COMMERCIAL BREAK 2 - BUMPER In.
Ok, thank you.

Monday, September 25, 2006

El Coco...

El Coco. That is me. RS

Forgive me for the absence. It has been quite a journey thus far. It is hard to write down feelings and thoughts when time does not permit oneself to.

This journey? It hasn't ended yet. I feel so unlike all of you. You are all weak, so unsure of your lives and thus you deserve not be in this world. Yet, as Cesar Guerrero, I welcome you to my world. Feel free to talk to us, question us, comment on our thoughts. There's no need to be shy about it. Because that time is over now.

Open your minds people. This is the real world. Deaths, murders, rapes. It's all around us. Yet we feel we are immune to it all. Or so we think. We feel nothing until that one day, by chance, we see a road accident and a dead (or dying) body on the road with all the blood spilling on the road accompanied by bits and pieces of flesh and meat next to it. Brain tissue, mostly. Are you the type to stop and look or are you just going to drive away feeling queasy because you just saw a real person dying? And you think to yourselves, it won't happen to me...

This play scares me. Sometimes, I feel it during rehearsals. Other times I'm just downright flippant about the whole thing. Yet, as I've developed and enveloped Cesar as my own, I am beginning to become more aware of my emotions. As El Coco, I have also let some of my aggression out a little more and subsequently have become less controlled (Forgive me for the other night Mary George; I wasn't supposed to strangle you so tight). Yet, I fear Cesar myself. I fear that maybe we all have a little bit of that monster in us waiting to be unleashed.

We're about halfway there. I suggest you watch the play when we do finally get our act together. It's frustrating still when we have scripts in our hands. Although I am also scared of when I do get off book. The aggression. It's being controlled now by the script in my hand. When we're off book? Hopefully there'll be an ambulance on standby...

Cockatoo Diary 2.

We found a colony of geeks / frreaks today. They lived in small little huts on the outskirts of a larger town which we had just razed.

They were disgusting.

I hate freaks. They have no brains. They have no idea of civilized behaviour. They're not human. I believe they should be exterminated. They are an eye sore and the mere sight of them makes my stomache turn and ache.

I asked Cesar if we should raid the colony of freaks but he said to leave them alone for they were not a threat. They did not hinder the revolution. The town we razed on the other hand, were filled with the rich bourgeois that were part of the corruption that is President Perez's regime.

When I insisted that perhaps we should raze the colony anyway, Cesar turned to me very quickly with his right hand raised and looked like he was about to strike me, his eyes looked like they were on fire - staring me down - but then he slowly dropped his right hand to his left hand as if he was trying to hold it down.

Then he said, "Cockatoo, just do as I say."

Cesar scares me sometimes.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pictures!

Nah.












That's our stage manager, Lawrence Selvaraj. He's half Portugese.












Thursday, September 21, 2006

Casting and recasting Frankenstein PT 2

Hello and welcome to the next exciting episode of'Casting and recasting Frankenstein'. I know I said I would get to it after lunch the day before yesterday but life intervened. I can't remember exactly what happened but never mind. The bottom line is I'm doing it now.


To play the role of Camilo Bozuffi, the tailor who strikes up a rather unusual business arrangement with Dr Fook (U-En Ng), I really only had one actor in mind - Reza Zainal Abidin. Prior to this production, Reza and I had worked on a number of things together, both on television and stage, and I am a huge fan of his, not just as an actor but also a friend. Reza is very much like Douglas, in the sense I find it almost impossible not to smile when I see him. Anyway, he agreed to play the role and when I read him with U-En, they both had a very nice rapport with each other. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Reza had to drop out of the production last week. I must confess this threw me for a loop, very much for the same reason I was thrown when Jit and Zahim said they couldn't do it - I just couldn't see anyone else in the role, or more to the point, I didn't want to see anyone else in the role. I considered Ben Tan as a replacement, and even spoke to him about it, but as a fair bit of his stage time would be opposite U-En, that kinda put me off because I was concerned it might smack too much of 'The Homecoming'. And this was already three weeks into rehearsal, I didn't have the time to go out and look for someone fresh. I needed someone solid, someone I could trust to deliver in a short space of time and I needed him now. So I thought about it and called in a favour from a dear friend. I called Ari Ratos.

Ari, bless his heart, has been meaning to take a break from theatre for like, I don't know, the last ten years. But everytime he tries to get out, they keep pulling him back in! (Anybody get that reference? Anybody? No? Losers.) I called Ari up and it went something like this ......

Ari : Hello?
Me : Ari.....
Ari : What do you want?
Me : No, I was just......
Ari : What do you want?
Me : Nothing, I just....
Ari : You never call me unless you want something so what is it?
Me : Ari.....
Ari : Gavin......
Me : I'm in a bit of a fix.
Ari : No.
Me : No what?
Ari : The answer's no.
Me : You don't even know what I'm gonna ask.
Ari : The answer's still no.
Me : Ari, don't be an asshole. I've got a serious problem.
Ari : Someone's dropped out?
Me : Yes.
Ari : And you need a replacement.
Me : Yes.
Ari : No.
Me : Come on!
Ari : Call Ben Tan.
Me : I did. He can't do it.
Ari : Call Lennard Gui.
Me : What?
Ari : Call Mark Teh.
Me : Ari.....
Ari : Mark Beau.
Me : Ari, will you please....
Ari : Call.....
Me : Shut up Ari, you're doing it!
Ari : Ok then.
Me : Great.
Ari : I'll do it but i don't want to.
Me : That's good enough for me. See you Monday.

That's pretty much how Ari came aboard. It sucked to lose Reza but these things happen I guess. At the end of the day, you gotta take the good with the bad and keep chugging along.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had wanted Zahim and Jit to play El Coco and Dr Frankenstein respectively. When they confirmed they couldn't do it, so began the long painful process of trying to think of who else there might be. One day (I can't remember where but I'm fairly certain there was alcohol involved) Rashid asked me why I hadn't considered him for the play. I looked him right in the eye.....and honestly had no answer. I had just gotten so used to thinking of Rashid as a comic performer that I just didn't think of him. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a great idea. Rashid's been doing comedy for years and was really hungry to take a break from that and do something audience's haven't seen him do before. In a strange way, its almost like watching a fresh face. I love watching people work out of their comfort zone and I figured that if Rashid could channel the same kind of energy into this role that he does with his comedic roles, he would be electric. I auditioned him and that was that. Look forward to seeing a very different kind of Rashid Salleh performance next month. Plus I hear he's been pumping up......

Dr Frankenstein was a bitch to cast. I went through the list of names but just didn't feel comfortable with any of them. No knock on their talent or anything like that, I just wasn't confident they 'fit' the role. Then one day, I was walking aimlessly around KLPAC (which I have sometimes been known to do) and saw a poster for an acting class that was going to be conducted by Mano Maniam. I thought to myslef "Of course!! Why didn't I think of him sooner? Mano would kick major fucking ass in the role!!" I called him up and asked him if he would be interested. He told me he would want to see the script and rehearsal schedule before he gave an answer. I was like "Sure whatever, you the man!" Anyway, He read the play, really liked the character but still needed time to think somemore about it. About a week went by and then I finally got an answer from him. He was in. The cast was complete and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. During the first week of readings, I grew to really love Mano in the role, mainly because I could tell that he was loving it and that's something I don't see enough of in this industry. Here was an actor who had delicious lines, knew he had delicious lines, and was hellbent on savouring every word. It was a pleasure listening to him read.

Unfortunately, it never got beyond the readings. A week into blocking, Rashid called me and informed me that Mano had suffered a heart attack. I was floored. I waited a couple of days as I was told he wasn't taking any calls or allowed any visitors. When I finally did speak to him, we talked about his condition, joked around a little and played with the possibilty of him staying on the production but deep down, we both knew it couldn't happen. It broke my heart to have to replace him but there was no way I could, in good conscience, keep him on. The only thing that mattered was that he rest and get well. What makes me smile is although he knew it wasn't a good idea, he still wanted to do it, and I could tell it was just as hard for him as it was for me, and that meant a lot. It meant a lot to me knowing this was a project he really cared about, and I'm grateful for the short time that he was involved. His presence in the rehearsal was felt deeply by everyone and there was indeed a void when he wasn't there. But he's doing fine and will continue to be fine so long as he rests and allows himself the time to get better. I wish him well and regardless of whether he's here or not, he's still part of this production.

I read a few actors to replace him (originally as an understudy when I was still kidding myself that Mano might stay on) and ended up casting Kennie Dowle, who I had worked with on 'Julius Caesar'. He played....well...Julius Caesar. Kennie's been rehearsing with us for the last week and, to his credit, has picked things up very smoothly. I have no doubts at all that he will do the character justice. Its not easy replacing an actor half way through a production. Its not an enviable position to be in but Kennie has genuinely impressed me with how good he's been about it. He's thrown himself into it with a lot of passion and really, at the end of the day.....what more could a director possibly ask for?

Peace.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just in case any of you were wondering what 'rehearsing' looks like....








Our dutch make-up specialist, Rusha, and our make-up artists, Mariana (L) & Carmen (R)

Casting and recasting Frankenstein PT 1

Hey there, Gavin here. As I've done with every production blog, its time to talk about the casting and how all these wonderfully talented (for the most part) people came to be a part of this (so far) twisted experience. I know I'm a little late with this but hopefully, as you read on, you'll get an idea as to why.

My original casting ideas were admitedly, very different from what is now the final cast. As early as June or July last year, I had already started talking to actors about the project. At the time, having just taken on the Director in Residence position at KLPAC, I had a lot of big, lofty ideas. I remember when all the KLPAC staff were introduced to each other, I made this embarassingly moronic speech about how I wanted to introduce new genres to the theatre scene, I wanted to do Sci-Fi, thrillers, horror. They all looked at me as if to say "Sci-Fi? Horror?........fucking idiot." Crazy thing is, I meant every word. I do want to sci-fi and I have plans for a science fiction version of 'Romeo & Juliet' that'll blow your fucking mind, if I'm ever allowed to do it. Maybe I should wait a while till everyone's forgotten about 'Romi & Joo Lee'.......

But yeah, back to casting. Originally I had wanted Jit Murad to play Frankenstein. He was the first actor I spoke to and I think this was June last year, before I had even started rehearsals for 'Double Bill'. We met up for a few beers (I had the beer, Jit's muslim so he drank sirap bandung) and talked about the play and Clive Barker. I also mentioned to him that wanted Zahim Al Bakri to play El Coco, Frankenstein's rival. I've always wanted to see those two on stage together and once I got the idea of pairing them up for Frankenstein, I remained incredibly stubborn about it and refused to consider anyone else for almost a year. But alas, it was not meant to be. With 'M' The Opera, PGL, the running of Dramalab and their own individual careers on their shoulders, they couldn't commit to the project. While I completely understood and respected their reasons, it totally fucked me because I couldn't, for the life of me, think of anyone else. So.....I went about casting the other characters first.....half hoping that I might accidentally discover someone, the way I discovered U-En while casting 'The Homecoming'.

I auditioned people (both new and old) over a span of two weeks in July (officially two weeks. unofficially, I was still casting up until Thursday last week). Mary George was the first person to be cast. It was actually a no-brainer. She was the right age, had the right look and her voice suited the character of Maria beautifully. Plus I had a lot of fun flirting with her while working on 'Double Bill' and looked forward to flirting with her somemore. I like flirting with women who I know will never want to sleep with me......I find it liberating. But more importantly, I wanted to give Mary an opportunity to carry a show. As one of the play's major players and also its narrator, the character of Maria was break that I knew Mary was hungry for, and to me, a hungry actor is someone worth taking a chance on.

Melissa Maureen was the next person to be cast as Veronique, one of Dr Frankenstein's victims and the female element in the play's bizarre love triangle. Melissa and I had worked together briefly on 'Table For Two', some soppy romance drama where I had a guest spot playing Cheryl Samad's loser, hippy boyfriend. Mel and I became friends and hung out for a bit and then, as it sometimes happens, we lost touch. Two years later, while working with Alvin Wong on 'Endgame', he kinda filled me in on what she'd been up to and I remembered her telling me at one point that more than anything, she wanted to do something totally fucking crazy and demented. So I figured......why not? She came in and read and that was kinda that. The two female roles were hard to cast because I saw a lot of actresses, a lot of whom had different things to recommend them. It was a tough call.

Actually wait.....I fucked up. The two ladies weren't the first to be cast. U-En was. During 'Endgame' rehearsals I went up to him and said -

Me : Hey, you wanna do Frankenstein?
U-En : Cannot.
Me : Why?
U-En : Busy.
Me : Why?
U-En : Just busy.
Me : Fuck you la. You're doing it.
U-En : Ok.
Me : Ok.

Pause

U-En : No, really. I'm going to be very busy.
Me : Relax, its a small role.
U-En : How small?
Me : Small.
U-En : Cool.
Me : Awesome.
U-En : What's the character?
Me : Dr Fook.
U-En : I like it.
Me : A chain smoking pathologist.
U-En : I'll do it.

That's how U-En got cast. I know I'm probably going to get shit for casting the same guy who was in my last two productions but you know what? I don't give a shit. The guy's good and fits the role like a glove so fucking deal with it people. Plus, after carrying 'Endgame' and to a certain extent 'The Homecoming' I wanted to give him something where he could have some fun.

Next up was Patrick, who plays President Garcia Perez. Truth be told, I actually read quite a few people for this role and nobody really stuck in my mind. The decision to give Patrick a call was really one of those impulsive spur of the moment things. I hadn't originally considered him for the show. I try not to repeat myself too much with my casting but one thing I realized while casting this show, its that the bigger your cast is, the more glaringly clear it becomes just how fucking small KL's acting talent pool is. We don't have many people to choose from and its as simple as that. And the more I thought about the kind of actor I needed for a character like Perez, the harder it became to get Patrick out of my head. I'd work with Patrick in a heartbeat, any day of the week, so I was thrilled he agreed to do it. And also, like U-En, this was a role I knew he could have some fun with.

I met Rauf Fadzilla at KLPAC where he had come to see 'Endgame'. He mentioned to me that he was a writer and that he had written the 'demon' piece for 'ROJAK!', a show The Oral Stage' had put on not too long ago. I remembered the piece and told him I liked it. The he asked if I remembered him as one of the demons. I didn't remember him but I remembered the demons being pretty freaky so I thought this guy could probably play a flesh eating zombie named Follezou so I asked him to come in and read for me. And Rauf's a small guy so I wanted his partner in flesh eating crime to be the total opposite. He had to be a huge fucker. I've known Bharani for a couple of years now. Didn't know him well but I remembered he was tall as fuck and actually quite gentle which was exactly what I was looking for in Mattos. I('ve said many times that one of the thiings I like about working with newcomers is they don't try to act. They're not trying to give you a performance. Instead they give you something that is very honest and sincere, which is why Bharani and Rauf were cast. They play it like it is. They're not trying to kiss anyone's ass. They make a cute couple actually.

Next was Reuben Arthur, who was recommended to me by Deda at the KLPAC academy. I had never met or heard of him prior to his audition. All I knew was that he had done some church productions, which always scares the shit out me, mainly because the few church productions I've seen......well, let's just say the only thing good about them is the intention. Church productions are like pantomimes without the jokes. (althought I must confess I haven't seen a church production in over ten years so maybe things have changed) Also I started to have nightmarish visions of him telling us we were all going to burn in hell for putting on this show. I'm like "Dude I already know I'm gonna burn, so I might as well put on whatever fucking show I want!" But thankfully, Reuben was not at all like that and seemed to revel in the play's gory glory so he was cast as the Cardinal......cool role. He's having a lot of fun. Hehehehe.

I was having a lot finding someone to play Cockatoo, the loyal right hand to El Coco, the play's hero. Again, I read a shitload of people. There were two people (who I won't name) who read beautifully. I wanted to cast them. They wanted to be cast but ultimately couldn't because of work. This actually happened a few times while casting this show with a number of characters, and as a director who's never cast anything this big before, it was a fucking trying experience. I had read Michael Chen a week earlier for Cockatoo and Lazaro. I was seriously considering casting him as Lazaro (after Na'a Murad, my choice for Lazaro had to pull out) but after losing my other two possiblities for Cockatoo, I gave Michael a call and asked him to come back in for a second audition. Now some of you may read this and think "Wah, fucker only call people after these fucker says no and that fucker says no..." and you'd be right. But that's the way these things work sometimes. When I'm acting and its a role I want, I don't give a shit who was offered it before hand, all I care about is that I'm the guy playing it now. And Michael feels the same way.... I think. If he doesn't, he fucking better. He's proving to me with every rehearsal that I made the right choice. He's passionate about what he does and you can't buy that.

Next came casting the role of Lazaro, Maria's dim-witted friend. Well, I was in a fix and couldn't really think of anyone. One day I was sitting with Douglas Lim over a coffee .......

Me : Hey man.
Doug : What?
Me : Do you love me?
Doug : You know I do.
Me : Do you love and respect everything I do as a person, friend and fellow artist?
Doug : You know I do.
Me : Do you wanna play a role in Frankenstein In Love?
Doug : No.
Me : What?
Doug : No.
Me : Why not?
Doug : I can't.
Me : To busy being SUPERSTAR is it?
Doug : That's right. I'm too busy breaking bridges.
Me : But you'll be even more of a SUPERSTAR once people see the radical change in characters you play. They'll be blown away by your amazing talent and versatility. They'll be amazed that they still want to watch you even when you're not singing about some chick you just knocked up and who obviously cannot afford a proper doctor and who clearly has no respect for a decent clothes hanger.

Pause.

Doug : Ok, I'll do it.
Me : Cool. You know what they say "One chapter closes....."

Okay guys, I'm going to stop here and return to the casting process after lunch. Stay tuned for casting and recasting part 2.

Peace.

This is douglas lim's 4th posting (for real)

This is REALLY Douglas Lim's 4th posting.

I am now a veteran of FiL as I have gone through 3 rehearsals. I had lines in the first one, none in the second and some on the third. I guess it's safe to assume that I spend more time walking up and down the set than actually saying lines...which is good as this enables me to show off my boundless stamina and graceful walking ability.

Most of the other actors can only exhibit their stance and/or voice projection.

I believe that my rehearsal exploits will make for an interesting read but I must take a back seat for now. This is due to the exploits of Gavin (the "director") during rehearsals. As some of the cast members are unable to attend certain rehearsals, Gavin (the "mix blood director") decided to fill in.

He (Gavin, the "pint sized, toy collecting director") played Dr Frank in my 2nd rehearsal. He was very intense and er...intense. It was quite strange because he's the director and is supposed to be WATCHING intense acting, not actually performing intensly. However, he did. He (Gavin, the "guy who scrapes off the batter from his fish and chips, director") was so intense that we could hardly hear his dialogue - thereby missing our off-stage scream cue. This resulted in gaps of silence between dialogues which, I suppose, made it intense.

In my third rehearsal, Gavin (the "Operasi Cegah Jenayah child lead actor) took on the role of Cockatoo. In this scene, he took out a gun and shot flies (lalat). It was very intense. He made it more intense by adding his own sound effects. So basically, you had this guy pointing his finger (disguised cleverly as a pistol) at invisible flies (disguised cleverly as air) while making gun shot noises with his mouth (disguised cleverly as an ugly mouth). The rest of the cast found this very intense...

On the whole, it was a good rehearsal. It was lots of fun watching Gavin juggle his responsibility as director and stand-in actor. He was very good at it. I think the reason is because he's really good at juggling and other acrobatic acts. After all, isn't he Gavin - the "Red haired tumbler".

IntenseIntenseIntenseIntenseIntenseIntenseIntense
IntenseIntenseIntenseIntenseIntense

Ok, thank you.

Friday, September 15, 2006

This is not Douglas Lim's 4th post

This is Fook. Dr Fook.

I have changed the bar-thing at the top to grey. It says 'black' on the settings-thing, but it looks grey.

I have changed it because blue was annoying the Fook out of me. Yes. I was not the Fook I am. I was not even half the Fook I was born to be.

So I Fooked it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Veronique's justice brigade....I quite like that...

As was mentioned earlier, we're about midway through blocking. Its been fun. Gavin's got a good eye for the grotesque. Yum. We've been climbing on rickety tables and walking through makeshift doorways, but with a bit of imagination, it all seems to be coming together quite well. You can almost see the blood dripping off the edges of things.

We also had a photo shoot done yesterday, and if there ever was a more wonderfully suitable black dress for the occasion, Mary was in it. We also have to keep these 'character journals' which Gavin wants handed in every once in a while. I have to admit, I was a bit tardy at the beginning, but once you get into it its actually a lot of fun. But then again, my idea of fun is work.
What a trip.

Since I'm into really dark art (as those who know me probly know by now) you can't imagine how much fun I'm having with this play. Gavin is a kickass director and the cast is da shizznit. The makeup looks awesome and the script is written by CLIVE BARKER!! Waht more could a simple guy like meself ask for.

But seriously. I can tell that this is one of those experiences I'm gonna remember forever and ever and ever *geez I sound like a little girl but yeah I'm hyped and you should be too!!



'It is the last long night of the world....the last...the very last'

Talk about an opening line. From the moment the very first reading with the entire cast concluded, you could see that we had all just come back from an unbelievable ride...
Thru a place both funny and sad and reminiscent of our own world...where monsters and angels
exist and sometimes wear different faces.

The lead character (El Coco), an undead Che Guevara with stitches is principled and deadly...a complex mirror of ourselves.

'I will be human! And you will treat me as such!'

Just hearing this play unfold and seeing the visual layout of the piece is a real treat. The experience is invaluable and I LOVE my character.

The gentleman with a vendetta. My character (Follezou) or Eddie to his friends is one half of Veronique (The Bride of Frankenstein's) justice brigade. I'm good with my hands...I devise tricks...
Mattos, my fellow angel of death likes the meat...
And it's feeding time...

On Rehearsals...

Wow ... including the 'readings' and now the 'blocking' - that's about 14 rehearsals down. As I sit here at approximately 2.53 am, I find myself feeling like time has just zoomed past.

The blog has been a little stagnant lately - for the people who are visiting the blog daily - I apologize for myself - being a blogger myself, I understand how it can be bit of a 'downer' to visit a blog regularly only to find that there are no updates.

Personally, my excuse is, looking at the past post-production blogs (thehomecomingdiaries.blogspot.com and endgamediaries.blogspot.com), there are some really interesting posts there. I find myself trying to come up with interesting stuff for you to read - but I've figured, 'What the heck' - might as well just write whatever lah - after all, that's what a blog is good for right?

Gavin mentioned to me the other day, when he was 'chiding' us actors for not blogging enough - that my perspective as a new-comer to theatre may prove useful to some people who are considering getting into theatre but have no idea what that entails exactly. As cool and fun a play looks, the process to get there is not all 'fun & games' and although to me, this seems to be logical - apparently there are people out there who don't really think so.

I digress.

Ok lah - so I shall begin my two-bits on what rehearsals have been like to moi - a new-comer.

For those of you not 'in the know', Mary George (who plays 'Maria' who probably has the most stage time) is my lecturer. Well, perhaps it would be more apt to say she used to be my lecturer since I have just recently graduated (*phew*). The reason I bring this up is because my character, "Cockatoo" gets quite/very/relatively intimate with her. Cockatoo even calls her a 'whore' and is very blunt when commenting on how good or bad a 'lay' Maria is.

Needless to say, its been awkward namely because - and let me state this for the record - she is one of my favourite lecturers! It's true!

Anyway, because we've only done 'readings' and 'blocking' so far, things haven't really heated up yet. But 'blocking' will be coming to an end soon - so things are gonna get mighty interesting lah (stay tuned for the ongoing saga of the ex-student/ex-lecturer sex scandal ... )

Moving along ... the process of finding Cockatoo (or the process of Cockatoo finding me...) has been a freakin' riot. He's a real cool character lah. The first time I read 'him' during the audition with Gavin, I thought to myself ... "Kewl..."

If you visit my blog, you'd realise that, lately I have become a fan of things like Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN (I've always been a fan of Neil Gaiman) and if you are familiar with James O'Barr's "THE CROW", you'd realise that my blog's motif is pretty much THE CROW. And the reason I like Cockatoo so much, is that he is like a character lifted right out of a CROW comic. The line between Good & Bad is not so clearly drawn. A person who commits heinous acts is not judged immediately. Neither is he justified. He just 'is'.

Cockatoo is beyond insane. He's so insane that he knows exactly how insane he is. He knows when he's doing something that seems morally wrong but enjoys himself immensely doing it because he doesn't care. At least, thats how it seems.

On the other hand, his loyalty to El Coco is unparalled. He believes in the REVOLUTION, he believes that El Coco has a vision and he truly believes in that vision as well. And Cockatoo understands that a revolution is not a pretty thing. People get hurt. Sometimes the innocent. Casualties are imminent. Cockatoo is willing to do all this. He understands that the end may not even justify the means. But it has to be done. And Cockatoo can do it.

I don't know about you, but if I were a leader of whatever, I'd want someone like Cockatoo by my side.

I'm even trying to grow a goatee or something - to look more like the character. I'm a Chinese dude trying to grow a goatee - a big 'no-no' in my books. I scare myself every morning. I'm also letting my hair grow instead of leaving it short as I usually do.

Everyday I read the script, everyday I think about him, the closer Cockatoo is to me. I find myself actually 'being' him when I'm out driving or walking around or lying in bed. Eyes wide and wild, mouth breaking into a huge maniacal grin for no reason every now and then ...

And here's the scary bit - "I like it... muahhahahahahahahhahahaha"

Hey - gimme a break - this is a horror play.

I'm out.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

First Make-up Test.

We had our first make-up session/ poster photo shoot on Thursday. This was our sophomore attempt at REAL stage make-up, (the first being Teddy's beard for The Homecoming..) and I think we really didn't know what to expect. Personally, I was a little wary that it might look a bit gimicky, or just plain silly, like the attempts at building a haunted house during Hari Ko-kurikulum in Form 3. Well, thank god for the pregnant dutch lady! Rusha, our make-up artist kicked off the session with Melissa and 5 minutes into it, I was breathing a huge sigh of relief. Not only did it look great, I even started wondering if it was too little for such a hugh space. So, for the devoted readers of this blog, here's a sneak preview of Frankenstein in Love:


Melissa's tranformation begins...


Rusha hard at work..She's scheduled to pop any day now, so we wish her well!


Voila!Je vous presente Veronique Flecker.


Rauf as Follezou...


..and Gavin likes what he sees.


MATTOS WANTS SOME MEAT.

Anyway, as I mentioned before we also completed the photo shoot for the poster that day. Our new designers Ryan and David are hard at work as I type.....stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cockatoo Diary 1.

I found myself remembering things again the other day.

We had just cleared a whole village made up of people who were not with the People Revolutionary Militia. And if they are not with us - then they are against us. And all those who are against us must fall. Nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of our goal - Cesar's, El Coco's vision.

So there I was, at what was left of the village, skinning a corpse - because I had nothing else to do - and I remembered always being good with a knife, even before I became 'Cockatoo'.

I remembered how I would geld a foal. First, I would speak to it as a Priest would speak to a dying man assuring him that death is nothing to be feared. Thats how I would speak to it - fool it into believing that whats going to happen next will be painless ... and then I plunge my knife in ... it would all happen quick. Very quick. Just a blink of an eye, and I would have been finished while they bring in another foal waiting to be lulled into a false sense of security before I send a piece of cold steel into its nether regions.

I remembered thinking - even then - that it would always be over too quickly. I was always good with a knife.

I remembered all these things and I couldn't help myself but smile ... as I took my own sweet time - skinning the corpse I had in front of me ... just because I had nothing else to do ...

*end*

This is douglas lim's 3rd posting

Hurt...
Am currently cupping my groin as I reel from the LOW BLOW (courtesy of the previous post). Funny how we always feel that by holding an area that's in pain, we can somehow ease it (the pain). I blame Karate Kid for such warped medical logic.
I will be one of the players in the upcoming run of ACTORLYMPICS (6-10 September). It will be funny, hillarious and humourous also (and not to mention laughter inducing). I guess you could say that it is within the genre of "comedy".
Yes, I know that it seems like I'm doing everything else EXCEPT FiL... It's not true. I just read the script again. I even vocalized it. In fact, I'm now working on a THEME TUNE and several short phrases of "conversational music". Lazaro's dialogue bits can be easily rewritten into LYRICS with rhythm and rhyme, finally ending in a "tears de picardie" or a "dante al fine".
I failed music theory...
But jokes aside, I have nothing to say. (Silence) Doctor? Did someone say doctor?
And finally to end, another story with a medical theme. I recently drank soup. I put it in my mouth (via a spoon) and realized that it was too hot (the soup, not the spoon) for my tongue and mouth. So I swallowed it (the soup) as fast as i could.
Now, my throat hurts.

Ok, thank you.

The dead don't stay dead down here.....

Hello all. Sorry its been a while since I posted anything, been busy with stuff. Just got back from Johor where a good friend was walking the plank of marriage. While I sat and watched my friend take the next big step in his life, I couldn't help but be amused with the fact that there I was, humbled and moved by the intricacies of this beautiful, traditional Malay wedding (my first) and yet back home I was directing a horror love story that in some ways borders on necrophilia. Hehehe, life is weird.

As I've said before, I've been wanting to do a horror play for quite some time now. I've loved horror films ever since I was a kid. I loved to be scared and as the years have gone by, I've come to the conclusion that next to comedy, horror is probably one of the hardest genres to pull off. Seriously guys, and I'm talking to the horror buffs here, when was the last time you saw a horror film that really scared the shit out of you? Think about it for a second, I'm sure you'll agree that really scary horror films are far and few in between. Lately there's been some decent ones- The 'Saw' films are kinda cool, 'Cabin Fever' and 'Hostel' were fucked up and from what I hear, 'Wolf Creek' is super scary. But personally, I really miss the classics. Y'know, like 'Rosemary's Baby', 'The Omen' (The original, not the piece of dogshit remake), 'The Exorcist' but having said that, I did enjoy some of the horror that came out of the cocaine snorting 80's like 'Halloween'(The first one), 'Nightmare on Elm Street'(Also the first one), 'Friday The 13th' (Bid titty virgins getting hacked up by a guy in a hockey mask.....what's not to love?) and 'Hellraiser'(Which featured one of the coolest looking screen maniacs ever- Pinhead) If anything killed the respect I had for some of these films, it was the mediocre sequels they spawned.

But where was I? Oh yeah, horror is one tough genre to pull off. It isn't just about blood and gore. Having a lot of blood and guts might gross people out but it doesn't necesarrily scare them. In that regard, drama is easy because most times you're dealing with easily identifiable subject matter. For example, you're watching a play where a father and son get into an argument and the son ends some saying some really hurtful shit to the father, then leaves. We start getting chocked up because we start thinking about something hurtful we might have said to our fathers. The next scene comes and its ten years later and son has returned and the father is dead. Then its all over cos we start getting scared shitless that our father might be dead when we get home so we start thinking about how much we'd regret our foolish words and the tears start flowing. No such scene in the horror genre I'm afraid. And thank God, cos we're not here to make you cry and feel all gooey. We're here to hopefully scare the crap out of you and have you leave the theatre saying things like "Man, that was fucked up!" or "I think I'm gonna be sick!" or "Dude, that chick with all the stich-work on her face was fucking psycho!" or "Fucking 'A', let's watch that shit again!!"

With Frankenstein in Love, what we hope to achieve is a balance between all out in your face blood and guts horror, intense creepiness, macabre humour, subtle drama and tragic romance. Yeah, I know how impossible that sounds but fuck it, you're only young and stupid once in your life. I may not have the balls to do this in a few years so might as well be now. We started blocking the opening scene of the play last night after a week of read-throughs and I gotta say (and Patrick and Michael will second this), you've never seen a play with a opening scene like this. Trust me, we got some crazy, fucked up shit in store for you. I've always believed that the first five minutes of a play is the most crucial. You've gotta make it clear to your audience what they've come to see, you gotta set the tone and mood of the piece. Once you get that right, the audience will stay with it. Of course you gotta make sure the rest of your shows rocks or there'll be hell to pay but the first five minutes goes a long way in keeping them locked in for the next hour and fifty five.......or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass.

We finish off the blocking for Scene One tonight which I'm particularly excited about cos we'll be doing El Coco's (Rashid) entrance. I just think its a really cool entrance. Understated, yet powerful at the same time. You really get a sense of the duality of the character. There's a creepy combination of murderer and saviour with this character that I love. I'm looking forward to seeing what Rashid does with it. And all that aside, I'm just pumped to see Rashid tackle something other than comedy for a change. I love it when actors take on roles we're not used to seeing them do, just makes the experience all the more rich.

Well, that's all for now. I'll be back again soon to give my usual shpiel on how I came to cast the show. Till then, take care.

Peace.

Monday, September 04, 2006

This is douglas lim's 2nd posting

Hello...
I just thought I'd post a more meaningful message after my initial one (which was also meaningful but not fully appreciated).
I also just finished the Broken Bridges run where I was the SUPERSTAR and sang many songs!!!
Ok, thank you.
Humbly yours...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

hello

it took me forty five minutes to remember my username, and then twelve attempts at my password. i'm just relieved i'm not trying to log into maybank 2 u again. but now that i'm in, i'd like to make it common knowledge that FiL would be my first non-amateur play.

i play Veronique Flecker.
she's like Slough in Continual Dew.

Who the Fook

Hello. My name is Dr Fook. My friends call me Fook. You may call me Dr Fook.

I am a pathologist, like they have on the television series CSI. I have seen it. Them. There are a few of them. It is (they are) codswallop. They deal with only one body at a time. They do not know the meaning of the word "catastrophe". I know what it means. It is a very important word. It is Greek. It rhymes with apostrophe, which is similar; only, it is a bit different.

My friend is Dr Frankenstein. He is a Jewish person. He went to Auschwitz during the War. Auschwitz is in Poland. The War was a very long time ago. Dr Frankenstein must be very old, if he went to Auschwitz during the War. He does not seem so old to me. Maybe he knows a thing or two, this Dr Frankenstein. I do not know for certain. I am just a pathologist.

My other friend is Bozuffi. He is a tailor. I think he is Italian. I am not sure. He is very g... I mean, happy. Hahahahaha. That is an old joke I heard from the President. SeƱor Garcia. Many years ago. In London. He wasn't called Garcia then; he was called Sam, and he was a chauffeur. One day, he had a heart attack in the living room. Every one thought he died, but he did not. Anyway, it was a long time ago.

People say I do not like happy people. This is not true. Some of my friends are happy.

There is this nurse in the morgue. Her name is Maria. Why they have nurses in morgues, I do not know. What do they do? Nurse corpses back to health? Maria screams a lot and likes to crawl into her shell. Maria the Shell. Shelly Maria. Maria Shelly. Hahahahaha. I am quite clever. She is not my friend. She is my employee.

I do not have any other friends.

Friday, September 01, 2006

KARIMBA!

I got a kalimba(small thumb piano) in the mail just now. I'm trying to tune the thing. Damn.I play Mattos. In real life I too carry a bundle of tools.

An Introduction.

Hello. My name is Michael Chen. I have been casted as Juan Thomas Navarro or better known as Cockatoo in FiL.

I am relatively new with theatre having been in my very first play (outside the safety of my school walls) in 2003 called "Harakiri". Then I had small little iddy-biddy roles in Joe Hasham's "Julius Caesar" last December 2005 (which was where I met Gavin proper) and another iddy-biddy role in Dato' Faridah's "Going North" last February 2006 ... and now having this kick-ass role of Cockatoo in FiL (which is a much bigger role than the 2 previous and recent roles) - its been a helluva ride.

We had loads of fun today - at the 3rd reading of the play - Gavin told us to go crazy and don't worry about going over the top. It was bloody hilarious! Rehearsals for this play is definitely something I look forward to everyday.

Anywho, I'm humbled and grateful to be in a play with such an amazing cast of established actors. *Turning into sponge mode - to absorb everything I can from this play ...

So there's my brief intro of myself - a proud cast member of FiL ...

This'll definitely be a bloody cool play to watch out for! So clear your calendars for late Oct and early Nov!

Later.