Friday, 28 November 2014

Nick, The Social Butterfly

Hey everyone! It's the last day of my Perth trip, and truth be told I'm antsin' to get back to KL and get moving on the next project, which will be Zak Zebra's African Safari! Not like this hasn't been a blast, but I've reached holiday fatigue, that sense of tiredness that comes from being away from home (and not actually doing much holiday-esque exploration here) for too long. So tomorrow morning 640am is my flight back to KL!

The past few days this week have been spent catching up with a number of friends. On Monday I met up with Jenny at uni and we discussed a potential project for next year/2016, which I shall obviously update you about as and when it develops. Monday evening was dinner with my dear ol' buddy Stephen at the nearby Nicholson bar and grill, which was a fun-filled evening with idle chatter and gossip, heheh. Tuesday I made a trip up north to Bayswater to catch up with Alex and Mel at last, and we managed to have a pretty good afternoon chatting over lunch, followed by a splash in their pool to stir us out of our post-meal coma! (Side note? It didn't really.) Fun! Here are some pics:

Al and Mel being all soppy over a scrumptious meal.
Requisite pool wefie. Watch where you're stickin' that noodle, Alex!
Awkward requisite pool selfie.
Lopsided photo of two other friends, Aleesha and Joey, who visited
Dunsinane recently though I don't remember exactly which night, arf.
Tuesday night was an interesting one because I decided at the very last minute to get a hotel room in the city for the night for a little downtime, and so I stayed at the New Esplanade, which was pleasant (and, if I'm not mistaken, the same hotel my family and I had stayed in back in, like, 1990 or something, erk!). So that was a quiet but fun night, though I totally forgot to take any pics of the room, so... that's that then, LOL.

On Wednesday I caught up with another old friend, Paul M, in the city, where once again we chatted about everything and nothing. One thing that's interesting about Paul is that he's probably the only guy I've met on a gay dating/hookup website who is actually my friend today. In other words, I've not cultivated a lot of actual friendships from these sites; Paul seems to be the only one, from nearly a decade ago, so our friendship is a testimony that one would actually be able to make friends through this method of meeting. And in case you're wondering, Paul and I have never hooked up, though that's probably veering into TMI territory. Though there was a semi-drunken night one night many moons ago... but that's best left not recounted, arf/oy! Here's a pic of Paul and me:

I have the feeling I caught up with someone else on Wednesday but I can't seem to place who he or she was, if indeed it happened. So... never mind, LOL.

Yesterday was an interesting day. First off, it was the long-overdue reunion of me with my dearold friend Paul G, who I used to hang out with very closely many, many years ago, having done a number of shows together including Richard III, Athena Emu at the Olympics and Captain Quokka 2005! Sadly Paul and I drifted apart partially due to my immaturity in being able to accept his criticisms of Follow The Light back in 2005, which probably gives you a good idea of how long ago we last caught up. We've bumped into each other now and again over the years but because my usually short visits into Perth prior to this one, we'd never had a chance to catch up.

But yesterday we finally met up, and it was pretty awesome, just like old times. We used to hang out at Red Rooster down the road from uni, so naturally we decided to head there for lunch, which was pretty awesome. And even more awesome was the fact that our conversation was actually really positive and encouraging for yours truly, so here's to rekindled mateships and growing up!

Grrr! Arrrrgh!
After that, I headed to Murdoch Uni where I met up with John K, and we headed into Freo (first time in Freo this visit) for lunch (post-lunch in my case) and chit-chats! At the restaurant we bumped into another mate, Quentin, who I'd met last year doing Zak Zebra. Turns out Q was working there and was about to have his lunch break, so it ended up being a chillout and catch-up session with the three of us, which was pretty fun. Here we are, looking snazzy:

Aren't we pretty??
Afterwards, Quentin and I had a beer on our own before he had to head back to work, so I decided to grab a coffee before heading to the train station to get picked up by Beatty for dinner at Berni and Mike's (are you keeping track? LOL). While buying coffee, I ran into another old friend, Jon L, who I haven't seen since 2010, and we managed to have a nice catchup! Here we are:

Still with that mop of hair!
So after that I took a longwinded bus ride to Murdoch Station (longwinded because I opted to get onto a different bus that took a roundabout route, so that I could kill a little bit of time, arf arf) and trained it one stop away so that Beatty could pick me up and drive us to Bernie and Mike's. There I finally got to meet their month-old baby Katie (such a sweetiepie!), and we also had pizza dinner with Carol and Scott in attendance. All in all, a very good time, and it was lovely to be able to spend some time with the tired new parents before I head home. :) Here are more pics!!!

Beattie's a natural with baby Katie!
Me, not so much.
So that brings us to today, which has included meeting up with Jenny again to discuss the abovementioned project-that-shalt-be-disclosed-in-due-course; followed by a quick catchup and byebye with Sarah; then back to Dunsinane for a scrumptious and typically overfilling dinner with Andrew, Tiff and Stephen. Here we are!

Andrew, Stephen and Tiff! Awww!!
Yeah I am!
Whew, I think I've fulfilled my social quota for the rest of the year!

So that brings me to right now, as I'm sitting in the living room having packed my luggage, blogging and contemplating grabbing some shut-eye before the 4:30am wake-up time to the airport. And  so I shalt leave you for now with all these memories and images, and with the hint-hint that there's still more to reflect on in terms of what went down with Extra Ordinary People, and will most likely be posting my next blog back home! Till then... ciao!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Opening, Closing, and Everything Before, After and In Between

Hey everyone, how's it going? So time has zipped by and we've come to the end of EOP, which had its final show last night. You might have noticed that updates have been rather sparse on the show between today and last week, and even the stuff I've put up on Facebook has dwindled a little. Truth is, the process since I've been here has been... let's say it's posed a bit of a challenge, but we'll get to that in due course, when the time is right to expound on it here.

In the meantime, to keep us up to speed with the publicity materials and such that have been going out over the past week, here are two trailers that I put together to help publicise the show. First up, a photo trailer:

Then one with video clips of the cast during live performance:

So the good news is, the show has been a success and everybody who's attended seemed to have love it! In fact, here's a review. I highlight the bit that mentions me:
At Scott [McArdle's] side, composer Nick Choo has put together some fantastic and entertaining songs, and the mixture of the live band and singing provided a professional level of musical theatre performance.
Yay for positivity!

Anyway, so that's over for now; last night there was the cast party (which wasn't without its share of dramas), and today it's been a quiet day just mulling over certain things and recovering from the hangover, lol!! I'll be back soon to possibly put up a more reflective review of everything that's unfolded over the past couple of weeks... but in the meantime, here's to moving on to the next project, which might or might not be a bigger incarnation of the show that just wrapped up!! Stay tuned...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Run-Throughs, Ravenous, Rehearsals and Rants

Hey all! Wow, it's been a fun few days at Dunsinane, even though I haven't actually been doing too much apart from attending a couple of rehearsals for EOP. It's been an interesting process because this is the first time I'm doing a show where I'm actually so hands-off, and it's been a bit of an adjustment for me to accept that it's okay to sit back, relax and let other people manage the work, even if it's not precisely sounding the way I'd imagined it to. In a strange way I'm feeling sorta underused, like, "Guys, the composer's in the house, get some feedback!", but everyone's been so busy and knackered that nobody's really asking me for any advice. Ah well. It's okay, not something I'm gonna dwell on. Here are some pics:

Absolutely no photo editing whatsoever.
Anyway it's been good for the most part. Thursday and Friday there were full run-throughs of the show. Friday night was a minor adventure in itself, but let me get to that in a bit. Saturday was a day off during which I caught up firstly with some of the people from the old Bateman church band: Miller, Dan, his wife Heidy, and Clare and her daughter Ashley, and we had a nice coffee in Bicton. Then they dropped me off at Carol's in Applecross where I finally got to spend time with her and Scott for the first time this visit, and we headed to South Perth for a scrumptious but slightly overambitious dinner. Here are some more pics!

Miller, me, Dan, Heidy and Clare!
With Scotty and Carol with Perth city in the background
Too much food. No such thing?
Carol the pizza girl.
So on Friday after I attended EOP rehearsal, I decided not to stay for the full run and headed back to Tiff and Andrew's early. However, when I got home, I realised that they had locked the wooden front door, which would've been if it hadn't transpired earlier in the day that they'd provided me with a key to the front flyscreen door, with the assurance that the wooden door wouldn't be locked. Oy vey!! So it was 8pm and I was locked out, and here's the best bit: Andrew, Tiff and everyone else at the house were out at a quiz night which they weren't only attending but were hosting. In other words, none of them could come back to my rescue, and they were due to come home only after 10pm! Oy vey, what's a poor Asian boy to do?!

Fortunately I managed to contact a friend and spend some time at his place, to be dropped back at about 10:30pm. Alas, they were running late and still weren't able to return home, which led to me sitting on their (fortunately comfortable) front porch swing, laptop in my lap and connected to an outside power point (providence!), chips and chocolates in my bag (foresight for the win!), watching downloaded telly shows and surfing the net thanks to the home wifi. The only thing that was lacking was warmth: it was 11 degrees that night and dropping, oy!

The Dunsinane crew finally got home after midnight, by which point I was practically frozen. But still, as Andrew proudly declared of my makeshift living space on the porch, "That was quite an impressive setup!" :P

Today I attended a full-day (seven-hour) band rehearsal for EOP, which would've been pretty awesome if it hadn't been ever so mildly sullied by the fact that the venue we were at had barely any air conditioning and it was thirty degrees out! So we sweltered through most of the songs (thankfully there are only 12 of them), and all in all it went pretty well, although (bitch alert!) I'm going to a most unprofessional thing and whinge about my encounter with one of the band members today. Mostly because I've always used this blog as a way of getting things off my chest, and also because, let's face it, not many people (especially those of association) would read this, LOL!! But first, here's a pic:

It fascinates me that our drummer Andrew is able to make heads or tails of my percussive scores.
So today I met a couple of newbies, and one of them really rubbed me the wrong way. It all began when I heard a wrong note this person played, to which I realised I'd probably made a blooper in the music score, so I asked this guy to try another note. "But it sounds right," he said, to which I replied, "No, it doesn't", but wouldn't you believe it, he was adamant it was correct even though it was absolutely clear to me that it wasn't. When he finally tried the corrected note (which sounded perfect), I asked if he wouldn't mind playing that note instead, and he begrudgingly said okay. Like, whatever dude, seriously, what's with the 'tude? This is the same dude who brushed me off, saying he could figure it out, when I tried to help him find his place in the score. Sigh.

Then, at another point in the rehearsal, I proposed that the band ended one of the songs in a particular way that was different from the demos I'd originally created. This fella then went and contradicted me, directing everyone to play it in another way. Now, see, I'm all for suggestions and I'm perfectly content with people saying, "Hey, how about we try it like this", but you don't bloody well undermine what the assistant musical director has just said by making a sweeping directive to everyone else. I mean, I'm the AMD and the freakin' composer for crying out loud!! You've got two people of authority above you in this production: it really isn't your place.

There were a couple more instances that really ticked me off: at one point, I asked if one of the singers needed a cue for her to resume her singing part, and this same musician said it was fine and that it wasn't necessary. Um. Hello? Again, know your place. Know your bloody role. I was so irritated by that point that I was on the verge of telling him off, but I held my tongue so as not to create tension and demotivate everyone in the room; instead, I walked out and went to the bathroom. Grrrrrr.

Then, later, another musician said he had exams on one of the show dates, and I asked him, "Oh, you realise we've got shows that day?", the intention being that if he couldn't make it, we had to either make a contingency plan or at the very least just inform the production team that he wouldn't be there. This same pain-in-the-butt musician then piped up, saying, "Yeah, I think an exam is more important than the show, Nick", in a way that just made me want to smack him. I just sighed and moved on, but naturally I told our musical director about all this, since he knows this dude better and will thereafter be able to keep an eye on things and make the necessary reproachments. Jeez, dude, just... chill, okay? Learn to be a team player and recognise when someone has a little bit more authority and know-how than you. In this particular instance, given my role as the creator of the music, I don't really think I'm asking for much. End of rant.

Anyway, here's a pic of some of the cast during rehearsal today:

They sure are a passionate bunch, aren't they!!
And I leave things on a more positive note with this sneak-peek video from Thursday's rehearsal, with an attempt at emulating a comic-book visual theme, LOL. Enjoy, and if you're in Perth, make sure you get your tickets: we open on Thursday till Saturday!!! Till my next update!!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Down in Dunsinane

Hey all! Some updates. Last Sunday I moved out of the hotel where I'd spent the weekend, had a cuppa coffee with Laughton and then he dropped me off at Tiffany and Andrew's in Canning Vale, fondly referred to as Dunsinane, which is a location referenced in Macbeth, due to the number of Shakespeare-related quotations that are plastered on the walls. The hotel weekend wasn't bad, if you discount the fact that I must've eaten something that didn't agree with me and ended up being kinda indigestion-faux-food-poisoning inflicted and basically have been less than optimal tummy-wise since Saturday night, oy. But anyhoo!

Views of the lovely abode that is Dunsinane!
I'm now chilling out in their games room turned temporary Nick bedroom with pull-out bed-couch (top right in the pic). It's been a fun, chaotic few days as both Andrew's and Tiffany's children are currently in the house, meaning there are five kids in all, on top of Andrew, Tiff, housemate Adam and my good self. It's a Full House indeed, arf!! And tonight as I write this, I've officially been exposed to Ru Paul's Drag Race and been de-virginised (I mention this because, obviously, it might turn out to be a point worth remembering). Oh hey, here are more pics... decals of Bardic quotes!

Behold - thereth lies a randometh Tigger.

Looks like this kitty has found his destiny.
And this is my favourite one - in their laundry room!
More updates to come!! Stay tuned!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Friday, 7 November 2014

EOP: Dancing 'The Dream'

Here's the sneak peek of the cast of Extra Ordinary People learning a new dance routine for one of the songs in the show!

Catch-Ups and a Weekend Treat!

Yo wassup peeps! So it's been a lazy couple of days, but with some good catching up happening. Yesterday, for instance, I headed to Leederville to meet up with my dear old friend Andrea, who was with her baby boy Blake, and we had burgers for lunch followed by coffee and some overly tart lime and coconut tart, arf. So that was pretty good! Then in the evening I headed to Murdoch Uni to catch a little bit of EOP in rehearsal, a clip of which should be uploaded here shortly.

Coffee and tart tart!
Little Blakey!
Me and Andrea!
Today I met up with another old friend, Adam, and we had a good lunch and catch-up with coffee after. Unfortunately he was only able to spare about an hour as he had to work, and I didn't think of taking any pics, so that's that; hopefully we'll meet up again before I head back to KL.

And, to give myself a special treat, I decided to check into a hotel tonight! Actually, the plan had already been in motion weeks ago, haha, but yeah. I'm now at the Citadines Apartments at St George's Terrace, and it's a lovely little studio-like room complete with kitchenette and study area. Here's a pic:

I'll be staying till Sunday morning, after which it will either be back to Lort's and Sarah's, or to another house I go! House-hopping is fun, boys and girls!

Okay, that's about it for now... more updates to come!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Long Live Caesaaaaarrrr!! Salaaaad!!

So yesterday marked the end of Cymbeline, with a pretty solid performance in front of the school crowd (and what a crowd it was, too!). All in all, it was a good show and a pretty enjoyable experience (my first time doing Shakespeare in my capacity of composer). The production, however, was marked by some pretty, um, interesting occurrences backstage, which includes up to six injuries to cast and crew members. But before we get to that: here are some pics!

A very exhausted cast after the show.
Packed to the rafters with kids!!!
So here's the run-down of injury-related incidents:

  • Dude sprains (or maybe it was worse? I'm not sure) his thumb doing something set-related
  • Lead actress slips in paint and knocks herself unconscious!
  • Stage manager slams her leg (foot?) in a car door
  • Chorus member injures her wrist climbing down a ladder
  • Stunt coordinator injures his ankle walking (oy)
  • Same dude who hurt his thumb hurts his ankle yesterday, sits down and gets a seizure. No joke.

So... yeah. Apparently it's all about the curse of the Scottish play: somebody uttered the name 'Macbeth' in the theatre, and it all went to Hades. Thankfully all these folks are doing okay, including and especially the lead actress and the dude of thumb, ankle and seizure, so they'll all be fine, one hopes.

Last night I attended my first cast party in years, and it went as well as you might imagine: it starts off fun, Nick drinks too much, grows despondent, says silly things to certain people inappropriately then leaves in a fug of melancholy. Thankfully I woke up today and went, "Nup, I'm over it", and today was a brand new day.

So I leave you now with official cast photos from yesterday. And I'll be back soon with more updates, of course, including of the next upcoming show, Extra Ordinary People, or EOP for short. Stay tuned!!!!!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Cymbeline: 2 Shows Down, 1 To Go

Hey all! We're almost at the end of the run of Cymbeline at Nexus Theatre, with two shows done on Friday and Saturday, and one more tomorrow for a school audience. It's been running pretty smoothly, and audiences have been enjoying it for the most part, despite its rather lengthy sequences. Here are some pics from the show:

Sitting in costume at my keyboard when the house is live. That
means the audience is in the house. Which means the house is live.
Here's me with a little bit more of mah costume.
By pure coincidence, mah mate Cat and I wore (almost) the same shirt.
Talk about macabre... we've got a dead body backstage. And later on onstage.
Yesterday I attend the first band rehearsal for Extra Ordinary People. It went pretty well, considering the band were working on a couple of new songs for the first time, and I'm pretty sure there would've been some nerves considering the composer was in the room, LOL. But yeah, it was cool, and it was fun getting to know these people who were playing my music, as well as chill out with director-writer Scott for a little while. Here are some pics:

The band with some cast members. Do you notice that it's a composite photo?
Thaaaat's Scotty!
Post-rehearsal dinner at Nando's!
And I conclude with more pics from Cymbeline, these bunch of shots taken by David Cox. Going to sign off now as we have to get up early tomorrow for our final show, but do enjoy these photos! Till my next update... stay tuned!

The chorus
The Frenchman and Posthumous.
Cloten and the chorus.
The doctor Cornelius and the Queen.
And then there's this guy.