Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Plugging the Light!

Check in on the FTL blog for new pics, including of the costumes, and a new demo of Mary's love song Beautiful Child! http://followthelightmusical.blogspot.com is the place to visit, in lieu of frequent updates to this blog, heheheh! We open in a couple of days, boys and girls! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How do you make a bandstand? Take away their chairs...

Hey all! Just about a week till opening night of FTL, so updates will be (and have been!) sparse, I'm afraid! Still, please keep on checking back in on the FTL blog to see what we're up to. It's just recently been updated with more pics and info! In the meantime, I can't resist posting up these pics, which are also on the FTL blog, of yours truly and our awesome band for the show. What I love about these shots is that they were spontaneously snapped (i.e. the photographer yelled, "Change!" and we had to change our poses impromptu) - and yet we all ended up looking like the cast of a sitcom about some rocker wannabes, arf arf. Click on these pics for bigger views... and if you haven't bought your tickets for Follow The Light yet... well, what are you waiting for??

(From left: Ming, Joe, Justin, me, Isaac, Ryan and Kevin)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Rehearsals, Neighbours, Perthlings and Smartypants

Hello, all! Just some quick updates. Today, Wednesday, was a public holiday, so we had a long, long rehearsal from 10am to 5pm, oy vey!! But it's all out of necessity, since we open in literally two weeks' time! Yes, it's all very, very exciting, but also tremendously terrifying. Still, as the lovely Jenny de Reuck, theatre professor and my former supervisor from Murdoch Uni, says, it's all part of the journey, and a lot will happen in two weeks: "Trust that it will come together," she advises, speaking from her decades of experience as an artist and director who still, even today, has sleepless nights and anxiety attacks two weeks before opening night. So yes, it's all words to live by. Or at least "play" by. Heh.

So yea, 10am to 5pm. An interesting thing: today my housemate Chan Ghee mentioned that he overheard our singing. I asked, "Oh, you were downstairs?" And he replied, "No, waiting for the elevator on the 11th floor." Oy vey!!!!! I guess we should be tremendously relieved that none of the neighbours have complained (apart from a minor instance last Saturday, when a security guard told us to turn it down a notch as they'd received a gripe from an unhappy resident) so far!! And what with our band rehearsals - drums, keyboards, guitars, bass roaring away in the living room every other day... we should count ourselves real lucky, shouldn't we?? Man. I suppose now that I've gone and blogged about it, I've jinxed it. Oy.

Oh, yeah, speaking of Jenny - Jenny was in town tonight! Yes, in KL! After rehearsals, I headed off to Bangsar Village for dinner with her and Murali, who had just flown in earlier from Perth, and we were joined by our good friend Meng, also a former Murdoch Uni student and theatre fella. Had a lovely dinner and discussions on the future of Children's Theatre as a cross-cultural, international project. I won't give too much away too soon, but let's just say Meng and I, as "ambassadors" (used a tad pretentiously) for Children's Theatre in Malaysia, are excited by the prospects of what 2011 and beyond might bring. But first, I have a Christmas musical to attend to. So... step by step, eh, folks? ;))

Finally, I leave you with this rather humorous email exchange between me and my mate JD, who's playing second keyboard for the band. He mentioned a "pick up" in the context of band rehearsals, i.e. "I won't be able to attend that rehearsal, unfortunately. Also, I don't return until late Thursday night, so I can't do a pick-up on Thursday. I could, however do pick-ups any other night of the week (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat). Just let me know." So I replied, "Sounds good. PS: What's a pick up?" Cue his emailed response, sometime later:

"ha....a pick-up could be, I think, one of at least 4 things.

1. an electronic transducer that, when connected to a musical instrument, enables the musician to filter an acoustic instrument (such as a guitar) through an electronic sound system

2. a truck with an open back. used for hauling cargo such as lumber, bricks, hay, manure, motorcycles, etc.

3. a sentence or phrase used by men in Western culture to pique the interest of an attractive woman when first meeting. Usually a humorous or flattering conversation starter. In rare instances this is also employed by women, with similar degrees of success.

4. a practice, rehearsal or other event that was not originally scheduled but was added at the last minute out of the perceived necessity of having more opportunity to work."

What a smartypants. :P

Okay all... that's it for now! Keep checking in on the FTL blog for updates (and tickets are on sale now... so what are you waiting for??). Till next time...! ;)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

And So We Unveil...!

Hey everyone! Just a quick note to say the FTL blog has been updated and revamped, so please check it out when you can!! In the meantime, here's the final poster/publicity design for the show! Click on the images for bigger views!

It's so much more different from the 2005 version, ain't it?? This time around we wanted to capture more of the fun and whacky humour in the show, so this is what we've come up with! It's all very, very exciting (and exhausting) at this stage, but we can't stop now... opening night is in about three weeks!! Wish us luck!!! And please do visit the FTL blog for more stuff, okay?? Okay!! Whoohoo!!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Let It Be As You Have Spoken!

Here's an exciting FTL-related update: a new demo from our production, featuring the talents of the awesome Juwita Suwito, who plays Mary! It's also up on the FTL blog, of course, but I couldn't resist sharing the recording here, too. (The FTL blog has also been updated with new cast bios and other stuff, so go check it out, k!) Without further ado-do, here it is: Be It Unto Me, performed by Juwita. Enjoy! ~N

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Day of the Puppy Psychosis

Nick's back in the house! Whoohoo! Okay, let me tell you what happened last week, on Thursday. I call it the day of the puppy rescue, a.k.a. the day Nick sort of went a little bit psycho. I was walking out of my apartment building when I heard some yelping noises from the bottom of a steep slope that leads down to the foundations of my building. It's a little hard to explain, but basically the pavement outside my building runs alongside an embankment that steeply descends into a "valley" - this valley being filled with garbage, foliage and weeds, and it's where the foundations of my building stick out from. It would be a lot easier if I'd taken a photo, which I might do... but anyway. The point is, I hear a whole lot of yelping goin' on, and I can't help it: I have to find out what's happening.

So like a superhero I start to make my way down the embankment, hiking down slowly, finding footpaths etc (it's not that steep, really!)... and when people start staring at me, I convince myself to keep going by thinking, Imagine you're on stage, and that's your audience, arf! Thankfully that worked, otherwise I would've chickened out for sure. So I finally reached the very bottom of the slope, and I found, to my dismay, three puppies, trapped in a drain half-filled with mud, struggling and whimpering and shivering as they attempted to get out, to no avail.

Unable to bear it, I fished them out, and then I wondered what to do. Long story short (too late), I called my good friend Nic, who's an active animal rescuer (see this tragic story), and left the puppies to dry off while I climbed back up to the top to wait for her to arrive. When she finally does, the three muddied puppies had recovered from their shock and had clambered into the foundations of the building. Here, I have to try to describe it again: the foundations are holding up the driveway to my building, so it's like a bridge, and under this bridge, among the pillars, is a while lot of rubble and pipes and stuff. And wouldn't you know it, these puppies had crept their way into the nooks and crannies, and were now terrified (despite the rescue!) of us human encroachers.

Nic and I soon discovered there were seven puppies in the foundations of my building, and we managed to grab three - the other four were too far deep in their hiding places. By this point I'd informed my mum of what was going on, and by the time we got the three puppies to Nic's car, my mum said she wanted to take a look at them. So we drove over to my folks' house, and my mum oooh-ed and awww-ed at our little furry rescues, and promptly decided that perhaps we, the Choo family, should keep one. Next thing I know, I'm driving to the vet with a single puppy out of the trio, and the vet's giving her a clean bill of health, and I'm taking the puppy back home, wondering if this is a good decision since my dad would surely be against us bringing a new pet into the home with already two grown-up dogs who don't get along.

Well, things were going rather well (despite my mum's insistence that we'd brought home from the vet's a different pup from the one she'd ooo-ed and awww-ed at) until my dad returned from work. True enough, the man threw a hissy fit. When he blew up, I blew up too, and I got majorly pissed off by his childish behaviour, lashing out at us and muttering ridiculous things under his breath, storming up the stairs and slamming doors, all the while realising that I, too, was acting kinda childish in response. I ended up yelling at him, for once in his life, could he just talk to us instead of hissing, spitting and walking away?! It's as if his own family members are such a bane to his existence that the very notion of having a calm and rational discussion with us eludes him!

Cue Nick's moment of psychosis, when my father's inability to communicate his feelings properly and respectfully made me resent the many times he's failed to communicate with us, his family. He seems to have a good relationship with his friends and colleagues at work, and it pisses me off big-time that he doesn't ever really talk to us. And from this, it triggered off feelings of resentment that he's never supported my music/theatre career, and how he has this majorly annoying tendency to put up walls whenever we bring up a discussion topic that he's not in favour of (such as aforementioned music/theatre career), and how he always shoots us down when we express our hopes and desires. I remember him scorning my passions once, saying it would never bring me money, as if he's done so well with his bloody finances! (So whose bloody big idea was it to send me away to Sydney at 18 on a music scholarship? Was that just to ease your financial difficulty?!) Then there was my suggestion that perhaps we should explore opening a laksa restaurant to carry on the legacy of my grandparents who used to sell Penang's best laksa. The old man's response? "Cannot lah!" Subsequently: silence. No discussion. No thought or evaluation. Just a complete dismissal before the seed of the idea even had a chance to take root. For once, can't you support us? Encourage us? Jeezus!

And while we're on the subject of finances and passions, let's not forget the numerous times he's asked me to get a "proper job" (once barely a week after I'd left my previous job with the website) so that I can help pay the house mortgage to ease his burden! I'm sorry for being oblivious or whatever, but I'd truly appreciate if you didn't suddenly bring it up with no prior indication that this was what you expected of me, and in that obnoxious tone of voice, as if my decision to pursue the arts is such a disappointment to you! See, even as I'm typing this, I'm feeling enraged all over again. I guess there are some real issues here.

The point is - on Thursday night, because of one little puppy (and yes, I understand that we did make a spontaneous decision without confiding in him, but really it's only because we knew he'd react in this fashion, except perhaps not with such intensity and immaturity as he wound up demonstrating... it's a fukkin' self-perpetuating cycle of non-communication and resentment!), it opened up a whole ugly can of worms, resulting in me venting inappropriately on Facebook. I've since erased all those messages, but if you were one of those who saw them, then... well, this is why. And yes, my anger was out of proportion to the issue at the moment (i.e. the pup), but... I dunno what happened, I have no idea where all that rage came from... and yet I do, because it's the same rage that has caused me to have dreams, on multiple occasions, that I'm yelling at my father for not being more supportive of the person I am and the person I want to become.

By no means do I want anyone to think I'm being an ingrate. But I'm a bloody thirty-year-old who has his own desires and plans for the future (plans, incidentally, that could possibly wind up making me more money than I would in a "regular" job, did you ever stop to consider that?), and even if my plans are not agreed with, at the very least have the decency to listen and try to understand my point of view. It's a matter of respect. There comes a point when children learn they don't always have to respect their parents if their parents are incapable of respecting them as grown-ups. I'm sorry, but it's true.


Back to the pup. First mistake: naming her. Once you name something, you grow attached. And that's what happened. I've always been fond of the name Ashley for our next dog, and when the vet asked me what the puppy's name was, I said Ashley. And so Ashley it was. Then we brought her home, and thus began the sleepless nights for yours truly (who spent nights in the house despite the conflict) and, more pertinently, for my poor mum, who's looking after the little one as if it were a grandchild and not an animal (another can of worms there, let's move on). Over the past few days dad has been quiet about the pup (despite his vehement swearing on Thursday that "I want nothing to do with this!" and "Throw it away!"), so hopefully... I don't know... maybe... I'm praying we can keep her. We'll just have to see, I guess. Meanwhile, Jodie and Chloe aren't exactly being welcoming to the pup either, which is possibly another reason why this might not work out in the end; Jodie's largely ignoring her, and Chloe, being the neurotic canine that she is, actually runs away in a panic when the little pup tries to approach her. Oy. We all have issues, don't we? Like doggy, like owner.

To end this really long blog post, here's an unresolved epilogue: the remaining four pups are still down in the "valley", and just today I went by to leave food and water and saw Mummy and Daddy Doggy, who kept their distance and barked at me. The pups must be at least a couple of months old now - they're at the teething, explorative stage - so I'm thinking that they're doing okay. Nic and I do want to come back, hopefully by this week, to try and rescue the remaining ones... so we'll see how it goes over the next few days. In the meanwhile, lucky Ashley is safe and sound, well fed, nourished and nurtured back at the house, and she's sleeping with soft toys and warm cloth, mmmm, bliss. Here's a pic:

Awwww! Ashley!

Oh well. I'm off now. FTL opens in a month, and we've got a bucket load of stuff still to be done. This morning I had my first rehearsal proper with the band, and I'm optimistic this show is going to rock! But more on this later (on the FTL blog, most likely)! In the meantime, I'm going to try to calm down, breathe, rest, and exude positive energy even though I'm a natural pessimist who has fukkin' daddy issues. Grr. Till next time...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Oy, Is It November Already...?

Happy belated Halloween! Here's a pic of some chocolates that my dear friend Zal shared...

More updates soon, I promise! ;)