Monday, 29 September 2014

Strays, Rehearsals and What Have You

Some highlights of the past couple of weeks include visits to the theatre:

Week One of Short + Sweet Musical at KLPAC!
(I'm in Week 2!)
Pan Productions' The Last 5 Years last Friday!
Lately a pack of stray dogs has been lingering in the neighbourhood, much to the obvious chagrin of the neighbours. Despite them being an issue, I still feel sorry for them. They are, after all, just doing what their instincts are telling them: that they need food, and water, and shelter. So I put this little doggy bowl out for them to drink from (courtesy of my beloved former doggies, Jodie and Chloe):
I'm close to befriending the Alpha of the pack, which I've named Alphie (see what I did there?). I realise, of course, it's not a good idea to name a dog when I've no idea what the future holds for it (not sure if we can adopt, and until we figure out whether we can, what if something happens to him?). But hopefully there will be a good outcome from all this.

In the meantime, the rest of the week has been one filled with scoring and rehearsals for this week when we debut Cartography of a Relationship at KLPAC. Sorry for the randomness of the pics below; I can't be stuffed putting them in some sort of chronological order, arf arf:

Post rehearsal coffee and dessert (pre-dinner!) after tech run today.
Earlier in the week, Ida went on Capital FM to promote the show!
(Well, it wasn't specifically for that purpose, but way to use an opportunity!)
Rehearsal at my place earlier in the week. 
Bump-in and tech run at KLPAC today.
Not a posed shot. Heh. Duh. Obviously it is.
Ida encouraging Sam and Dennis to go for it, for the
sex scene in Cartography. Oh, have I mentioned it has a sex scene?
The good news is, the abovementioned sex scene in Cartography appears to have been well-received. So... fingers crossed it will go down well (heh!) with audiences during the proper runs. We open on Wednesday till Saturday, and hopefully Gala Night on Sunday!! Stay tuned for more updates... and the outcome!!!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Audition Notice!

Coming in 2015, boys and girls... the Malaysian premiere of this little show!


At rehearsal for Cartography this morning (Monday), at my cousin Andrew's place (which, incidentally, was formerly my place, before we moved, heh). First full ensemble meeting, one week before we're due to bump in at the theatre. Wish us luck, boys and girls!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Festivals, Rehearsals and the Centipede Saga

Hey all, what's been happening? I'm back into the swing of things following that depressive downturn a few weeks ago. Last weekend (one week ago from right now), I got together with my dear frineds Aaron, Safia, Siti and Freddy and we managed to put on two pretty cool performances of my ten-minute piece Dreaming Outside the Box at the Yayasan Sime Darby Festival at KLPAC. It was a lot of fun, even though we were performing it pretty "stark", with zero make-up and costuming; pretty much just a concert version where the performers stood and sang in front of standing mics, accompanied by yours truly on the keyboard.

Despite some noise issues as there were many other artists and performances going around at the time (including a drumming performance right at the same time as ours!), the audience seemed to really enjoy it, thanks in most part to Aaron and Safia's awesome blend of voices. I also managed to conduct two workshops on musical writing, though those were pretty sparsely attended. But all in all, it was a very positive and enriching experience, so I'm glad I managed to pull it together and do it!

Here are some pics from the weekend; if you're already following me on FB and Instagram, you'd likely already have seen these:

The rest of the week has been a whirlwind of scoring for Extra Ordinary People and writing original songs for Cymbeline (both in Perth), as well as scoring and rehearsing Cartography of a Relationship, my entry for Short & Sweet Musical for this year, starring the fah-bulous Ida Mariana!

What are we up to, eh?
So here's a funny tale-in-progress. Well, it's not so much funny as it is pretty creepy. I was in the bathroom last night, doing what you do in bathrooms, when I looked down on the floor and saw, in the far corner of the room, a centipede: one of those red, scary-looking monstrosities with a hundred legs. I immediately thought of pummelling it, but I looked around and saw nothing I could do it with (save a shampoo or soap bottle, but did I really want those smeared with bug guts?!). So I hurried out of there and... Oh, it's funnier if I just post the series of Facebook posts that I've been putting up:
Centipede in the bathroom. One of those poisonous, hundred-legged montrosities. Didn't have anything to kill it with. Ran out of bathroom, shutting the door firmly behind me, and ran down to grab ... something... alerting dad to the situation. We ventured back up, looked cautiously in the bathroom, did a lot of splashing and poking around, but... It was gone.

My question now is: WHERE IS IT?!?!?!?!?! ****screams!!!****

Is there anything more disturbing and insidious than the realisation that there's a centipede hiding somewhere in your bathroom - having to keep your eyes on the floor at all times, only to wonder if it's somewhere on the walls or the ceiling; perhaps snug behind the sink, or in the crevice behind the bucket in the corner? Maybe (jeezus) it's hiding behind the toilet tank so that when you're seated it could come crawling out and onto your back... or worse -- arguably much, much worse -- what if it had scuttled its way beyond the lips of the porcelain bowl and was hiding somewhere under the rim???!


In the latest exciting instalment of the Centipede Saga, I found myself apprehensive and unable to fall asleep, finally dozing off at 5am only to jerk awake in a cold sweat every so often with the irrational fear that it had somehow found its way out of the bathroom and was going to wind up on my bed among the sheets. ‪#‎drama‬
Thanks to the Centipede Saga, I've now resorted to showering with my glasses on. No 100-legged creepy-crawley is going to creepy-crawl up on me, I tell you solemnly! 
In other tremendously thrilling news, thanks to the Hunt for the Centipede, I've only JUST discovered there's a water tap under the sink in my bathroom. I'd turn it on, but it means sticking my hand under said sink (where said Centipede might be gleefully lurking). And then my brain conjured up the image of me turning the tap on only to have Mr Centipede come OUT of it -- and thus concluded my investigation of the water tap under the sink in my bathroom. 
Oh, Centipede, thou art [...] the bane of my existence. But as long as you don't become the PAIN of my existence, I think I'll call you Sandy. 
Why did Nick avoid the toilet? Because the centipede.

get it? get it??? 

According to the internets, tea tree oil is a natural centipede repellent. According to [...], mouthwash will stun them.

Subsequently, my bathroom doorway is now lined with tea tree oil mouthwash. 

I'm like McGyver.

As I was copying-and-pasting all this, something just rustled in the room behind me. I'm now officially freaked and paranoid. Why?! Dear Lord, why?!?

To be continued!!!!! (Or hopefully not!!)

Edited to add latest post:

Sandy... you will not hide from me forevah!

Or if you *are* going to, please, make sure it's just that: forevah!

Friday, 5 September 2014


Hey all. Whew. I'm just coming out of a particular depressive past couple of days, and it's been really difficult. A part of me wants to identify, publicly, the trigger points, but another part of me thinks that such honesty would probably be frowned upon and would make me enemies. But let's just say that seeing things on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like about other people's big musical theatre productions has made an impact on my mental-emotional well-being. I've been working hard at trying to be happy for other people's accomplishments, so I'm not sure how much of a "bitchy jealousy" thing this is... but seeing other people's successes reinforces this notion (real or otherwise) that I'm not, and I wish I were, and yet a part of my brain tells me it's all pointless now, you'll never get there. And obviously it's not something I want to think or feel; it just happens. On most days, I'm able to fight it off and erect a wall (hehee erect) and keep all these thoughts at bay... convince myself I'm mature and supportive and all that... on bad days, like the past few days, I just crumble. Like an apple. Crumble.

I don't know. Even thinking about all this now makes me want to cry, so I'm going to stop dwelling on it and end this post by simply copy-and-pasting what I wrote on Facebook a few days ago. I wish I knew how to cope with this better. It's not as if I haven't tried; I've been mindful of this irrational sense of rivalry and competition and envy and resentment for years, and I was just starting to take pride in the fact that I (thought) I'm a much bigger person now (un-physically speaking) than I used to be. But maybe I'm not. Maybe I'll forever be this petty and destructively competitive, and it will be my own downfall. Who knows. The worst part is, I don't have many friends here to convey this to. I've got, two, three close friends at best who are outside of the industry, and who for the most part already know that I struggle with this (but mayhaps I shall seek their counsel once again). The rest are in the arts industry. Which really puts me at a very difficult, precarious position. So.... I dunno. Honestly. It's all very draining.

What was I saying? Oh yeah. Copy and paste. Here it is:

Thinky thoughts on a melancholy day. Some might call it an exercise in self-pity. It probably is. I choose to call it an overtly critical exercise in self-reflection... and writing practice. I know I should be going out there, selling myself, interacting with other artists, watching and supporting other people's work... but the truth is, it's really hard for me. It's hard for me to meet new people and have to try to tell them what I'm all about, when I'm constantly fighting to believe I'm worth something, that I'm good at what I do, that I'm worthy of being invested in. It's hard for me to watch and hear of other people's successes and not feel self-pity and sheer soul-sucking sadness. And when these feelings come up, I end up criticising myself, calling myself immature and pathetic for not being able to be emotionally mature and to be sincere in my feelings for others, and it all becomes resentment and anger and spirals downward from there. 

So that's why I don't do interact with you as often as I should. I should be out there, mingling, meeting new folks, selling my works and my talent, supporting others. But at the back of my mind something goes, "You'll never be as good as these people, so what's the point?" (and yes, I know, that ISN'T the point; it's NOT about "being as good as someone else"; but if depression affects self-esteem, then one way of measuring self-esteem is in relation to others, is it not? Maybe. Maybe not. I dunno.) 

My friends in the arts industry (especially locally) - I'm really sorry. I want to support you. I want to be happy for you, and I am. But it shouldn't require so much effort for me to go out. It shouldn't require so much effort to just sit and enjoy a show. So if you don't see me there, it doesn't mean I'm not glad for your achievements, it doesn't mean I don't support you. It's just that I'd rather try to stay away from things that trigger off negativity in me, as much as I don't want it to. Sadly, there's no "off" switch. Or if there is, it's kinda stuck in the "on" position and I'm pushing at it with all my might, trying to click it back to "off", straining and sweating and sobbing (oh I is such a drama queen). It really shouldn't require that much effort, and it's unfair (to me) that it does. 

In the long run, I'm not sure what I'm going to do, or what this means for my position in the creative arts industry. As it is, I'm already feeling that I actually don't belong; that I'm on the outside, watching as others flourish, wishing I could be part of it all and yet, thanks to my own mental-emotional state, unable to fully feel part of it. I feel, after all these years, that I merely have **acquaintances** in the arts industry, and just a child's handful of actual friends. (That said, I *DID* run away and cut ties sometime back, so it's all very confusing.) And yet I realise that, unless I make the effort to go out, mingle, participate -- I will always be on the periphery. But see above for why I find it really difficult to do that. It's a self-destructive cycle. 

That said, the most difficult things in life are the ones worth doing. So... I dunno. 

I have projects on my plate, both locally and abroad. And I'm proud of them, I am. But it takes a lot out of me to juggle these things, and to keep feeling motivated, and to fight off thoughts of, "What's the point?" That's why, if you ask me what I'm up to these days and I seem to shrug off my projects, try to understand: I'm not disinterested. I'm just exhausted. Not exhausted by these things in and of themselves, but by that FOG of ... struggle, melancholia, negativity ... that ENVELOPES these things. It's absofuckinglutely draining. On a good day, I'm able to put up a wall to fight it off, treat it like it doesn't exist. On a bad day, like today (and recent days in general), the fog seeps through the cracks. Heck, the fog is pea-soup thick, viscous, suffocating, almost physical, and it doesn't so much seep through the cracks as it does force its way in, pushing the wall right over. Okay, this metaphor isn't really working. 

Today, I feel like I can't do this music/arts thing full-time. I know, it's only been a year. I'm probably being too hard on myself. But I don't think I have it in me. I don't know if I want to do this much longer at all. Yet if I give it up, what do I do? Go back to editing, writing, being a journalist? The thought of that sucks the life out of me too. So what do I do then? Where do I go? 

Meanwhile, don't even get me started about my personal life, my spiritual life and my self-image. I struggle not to feel like a failure on all fronts. (Okay, I should compartmentalise, but if there's one thing a depression-sufferer knows, its that depression destroys the boundaries between one problem and another.) I'm approaching my mid-30s, and it's hard to feel like I've really made something of myself. Some of you know about the issues I face with family, with money, with independence, with health. It's difficult to perpetually have to fight off thoughts of these various fundamental aspects of my existence -- career (floundering, directionless), social/romantic life (virtually nonexistent/entirely nonexistent), self-image (loathsome, physically hurtful), spiritual (years of deep-rooted jaded resentful conflicting Catholicism) -- and not want to just barricade myself in my room for the rest of my life. 

Awright, before anyone says it, I'll pre-empt you: "Yes, there are people worse off than me." There are people happier than me too. That's neither here nor there. This isn't a macro exercise. It's incredibly, incredibly micro. Some of you might say: Wow, this is new information, we had no idea. Some others might say: Dude, you've been spouting this kinda crap for months, years now. Do something to change things. I hear ya. And if I had the inner strength to change things, I would. But right now I don't. Just let me say these things so that I have an outlet for expression. Thanks for understanding. 

Whew. I feel better now, having put my thoughts into writing, outside of this noisy brain of mine. I probably should just delete this, or maybe just save it but don't publish it publicly on Facebook. But here's the thing: I don't really care right now. So judge, don't judge; support, don't support; block, don't block; comment, don't comment -- it's all entirely your call. (That said, fair warning: whichever comment rubs me the wrong way, I'll delete). Thanks for reading. And I hope you managed to appreciate my effort at keeping all this darkness somewhat light and tongue-in-cheek. 

Lots of love, ~Nick