Saturday, May 14, 2005

Barely a week after our major event, the Drama Club is up for another gig. A very short item for the NLB for the launch of its new reading campaign. Am assigning our J1s this performance, though it has come at extremely short notice. What else is new, right?

The job is nothing more than a dramatic reading of a section from "To Kill a Mockingbird," the trial scene, to be exact. The on-site rehearsal is next Thursday, performance the following Tuesday immediately after the long weekend break. Let's see what our new blood can do.

Despite meeting the Club members this morning to seek willing hands to clear the remnants of our set from LT4, only Jaz showed up at the appointed time. There was a long ladder to maneuver between the lights and flybars and 5 wing-obscuring flats to cut down and stash offstage. Between Jaz and me, we cleared the set within an hour, with me climbing up the rickety old ladder and she holding it steady at the bottom. I must say, Jaz is strong for her size. A few more hands might have made the job less strenuous and dangerous, but there you have it. When things are glam, full attendance; but when things turn absolutely unglam, you see lah! Definitely must scold people already.

JY discovered why we usually bowl on Monday nights instead of Friday. The simple reason: no lanes available on Friday night, no matter how ulu the bowling alley might be. Sad because JY doesn't get the urge to bowl very often, so we lost out on an historic moment due to a lack of facilities. Amy remarked that there is a surprising number of Singaporeans who bowl. My take is that as long as an activity can run without experiencing sunlight, moreover in air-con comfort that activity is going to be mega popular. Bowling practice tonight cancelled. Withdrawal symptoms are setting in...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Thanks to Amy we got tix to watch Hossan and Selena in "It Takes 2" at the Vic.

The show was quite a friendly one in which the 2 performers seemed quite at home with their audience. Selena was an entertaining hostess, natural and at ease, as if the 600 or so of us had made ourselves comfortable in her living room. Hossan seemed more practiced and precise with his schtick and perhaps the contrast between the 2 might have made it appear that he was trying a little too hard to get the laughs.

The pacing was easy, just a little hint of racyness and a couple of ribaldries but really nothing to offend anyone over. The duo did their share of poking fun at Aussies, Yanks and a certain Charles and Lady; and added some cabaret singing into the mix. The topics of their patter shifted and varied with smooth fluidity. One moment Selena is discussing the difficulties of finding a good travel partner then switching over to discuss tips for married couples to stay interested in each other. Hossan was in his usual self-depricating persona talking about the differences between guys and gals, to experiences during NSF days (what else do guys talk about anyway?).

As the night went on the talk turned more and more toward local political satire, though again there wasn't much there that all of us in some way or other haven't already discussed amongst ourselves: criticisms levelled against gay parties, for example, to policies over maid abuse, to the Great Casino Debate/Debacle. Humour going along the lines of Mr Brown, et al.

A fun evening out. No new information gathered, same kind of breakfast talk rehashed, but presented by a couple of pleasant comics with a little music and colourful lighting thrown in.

Parking tip: to watch a show at the Vic, people usually park at Parliament House though I stupidly parked at Funan Centre (1st parking lot I came across) and had to walk a bit further. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my parking charge for parking between 1730 and 2230 amounted to only $2. I was expecting to pay a bomb. Don't know what the charges are like at Parliament House, but I doubt it could have been much cheaper.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yesterday the whole college packed up shop and took half a day to support our volleyball teams at the Schools finals. It was the first time in many years that both the boys' and girls' teams qualified and we were quite hyper about that.

At the girl's finals, we sardined out half the TP Sports Hall, while JJ stuffed themselves into the other half. Our opponent's supporters were um... interesting to observe. They were fully into their cheering, coordinated in both voice and movement, and loudly in unison. Their leader was a rather large individual who would not have looked out of place if he wore an animal mascot's costume, a racoon, say, or a rhino. He moved, they followed; he bellowed, they roared as one. Many of our staff were very impressed with their spirit, and indeed, watching them was far more entertaining than watching the game.

What does it take to build such pride in one's organisation? I think it comes when all members equally suffer personal humiliation to such an extent that each individual is glad to pin one's pride on a collective identity instead.

Cheers are embarrassing. They have inane 'lyrics,' the most basic of nursery-style rhymes, and when you shout them out with gestures and other unnatural body movements, other people look at you funny. No individual would dream of exhibiting such behaviour amongst a polite audience, especially if the individual is a hip, cool teenager with a shred of dignity. That is, I repeat, if the teenager is an individual in a crowd of other hip, cool teenagers.

So, personal pride gets in the way of a collective spirit. Take away that pride and then perhaps the group identity becomes all that more important. Cheering, singing, dancing, united teenagers lending full encouragement and focus to their winning team. Yes, our college could not get past their very simple tactic of return-the-ball-no-matter-what and in a contest of not skill but will, we lost the battle 3-2. Our v-ball girls' are runners-up this year.

Our boys' didn't have too much trouble with their opponents, though. A straight 3-0 victory against TJ in a more aggressive match than the girls' game was. Well, maybe not as aggressive as the women's Olympic Beach V-ball matches, and a whole lot less eye-candy, but we won.

After the prize presentation, we filed out of the sports hall. JJ continued cheering as we left. No doubt they would lock up the place when they're done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Life is back to routine now after Drama Night, and thank God for it. It was grand excitement for the last 3 weeks, constantly battling uncertainty, adapting to minor but numerous changes and disruptions to schedule, adrenaline high and high-strung all the time. But that's not me, and not the life I enjoy over a protracted basis. Things are more predictable again, pressure finally easing off a little.

I have evenings to enjoy again, evenings spent by myself and June and pets, or following a varying, spur-of-the-moment agenda as and when I like, instead of adhering to some pre-planned schedule (ironically, one I planned myself) with a final product to rush out. Tonight June and I celebrated my 'homecoming' with steamed crab from our regular haunt. Finally, a proper sit-down meal together to enjoy at our leisure.

Q-tip does not like crab, BTW. Instead of gobbling down the morsel I gave her like she usually does with other table scraps, she sort of trampled it and made a mess of her chair which I then had to clean up with a wet-wipe. Spent the rest of the evening with June and the cats in a mindless stupor in front of the TV. Ah, family life.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Post-production euphoria over the weekend. We put up our show; a musical, as the kids asked for; made them sing and dance, put them in colourful costumes and let them blow the socks off their audience. New standards, new heights achieved for the Drama Club, everyone seemed to enjoy the performance, even Tina's illustrious guests, though there were still problems with audibility, occasional missed cues, unauthorised ad-libs (not usually so much of a problem) and OTT overacting by certain cast members. The dream has reached fruition and it's a great feeling to accomplish a task this scary to this level of success.

Spent yesterday not doing anything constructive for a change. Caught 'Kingdom of Heaven' and it was nice to be entertained passively, just sitting there in my cinema seat, mindlessly sipping on Coke as scenes of bloodshed passed before my eyes. The movie had some nice touches in its focus on the 'kingdom of Heaven' being in reality in the mind and in the heart of every person living. It isn't in the structures we build, nor in the political borders we raise, but in our humanity towards each other, regardless of colour or creed. That's the problem with being NE coordinator. You read NE into anything...

Today, the dream became cold, hard reality. Performance over, it was time to put away our toys. Large, heavy pieces of set carried up several flights of steps to be stowed securely behind the College Hall from LT4. Bits of costumes, hand props sorted into reusable material and trash, then disposed off properly. We celebrated our newly assigned drama (store) room, though the room is diametrically opposite campus from LT4 and with me leading the way for our tired NYeDC members struggling with armfuls of barang, I felt like Moses leading the Exodus into the promised land -- the people kept complaining how far away it was all the way there. Then when we finally reached our room, it was "too small," "too hot," blah, blah. Kids, ya gotta love 'em.

P.S. How close we are to facing death, maiming, dismemberment or disfigurement on a daily basis. On the way up the atrium flight of stairs, six or seven of us schlepping a heavy raised platform back into the classroom where we had taken it from turned a corner too quickly and too abruptly that one side slammed into the steel bannister with a jarring thud. A couple of seconds ago, my left hand was supporting that side and might have been turned to powder if I hadn't just moved it to get a better grip elsewhere.