Saturday, April 19, 2008

Opening night for NYeDC with four short plays for the price of one ticket.

There's nothing like the excitement of playing to a packed house, and the SRT auditorium was just buzzing with it.

'Admiral' went off admirably, all cast and crew fully backing each other up. Great to see XYan (not in pix) take the lead and work so hard at being such a professional on stage, setting the example for her juniors to follow.

Hats off too, to the rest of the cast who have been likewise working hard at line memory, movement and speech delivery; but most importantly in being so supportive of one another and of the 'Walls' team as well.

Not surprisingly, our audence had a hard time comprehending our abstract piece. I had lots of questions about it during the interval, and I found myself over-intellectualizing our interpretation as I tried to explain it to Lynette and Haze. Even I started getting confused with my explanation after a while, so I just ran with whatever impressions they got from it... which wasn't really that far off. What was gratifying was that they did respond to the little running sight gags we engineered into Kuo's script. Those they got.

As for 'Walls', the audience could better relate to the more realistic presentation. There was little to interpret as it was a straightforward in-your-face portrayal of young people in quite some serious pain.

The audience appreciated the stunningly real explosion of emotion onstage, and it even amazes me that rehearsal after rehearsal, the cast can sustain being the characters they play without degenerating their portrayals into mere 'acting'.

'Walls' is a wonderfuly therapeutic piece for people with psychological baggage.

Drama Night 2008 closes tonight. It's been a memorable run. We seldom say it outright, but we have some great kids on campus.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Forgive the obsession with Drama Night. It's taken over my life this week and I'm exhausted. For the first time, I wiped out at my desk during lunch break, completely zoned out in la-la land. Mel said that even the ruckus she and a bunch of others were making fooling around with a toy lightsabre in the staffroom didn't rouse me at all. I was that far gone.

Full-dress rehearsal went fabulously well for 'Admiral'. As I had hoped, the cast went home depressed last night but returned prepared to take on the new level of performance they'd been challenged with. Apart from a couple of wardrobe malfunctions and a few line gaffes, when they were on, they were spot on. Finally I got to see crisp, clean, coordinated movement, which shows they've been practicing. Very, very proud of everyone involved onstage and off. Only one more day to up the bar just a little higher. They're ready.

Btw, SRT's advertising our show in their eNewsletter. But we now have the enviable privilege of announcing that tomorrow we open to a full house! Both nights are sold out now, many thanks to the college and everyone else who bought a ticket for supporting us!
'Admiral' kids and 'Walls' kids have finally seen each others' plays. 'Admiral' kids are feeling inferior as 'Walls' is quite obviously more dramatic, more heartrending, more colourful, and more meticulously put together. This is undeniable. 'Walls' kids have been at it for much longer. They wrote their own script and based much of the drama on their own feelings and emotions. Their words are real to them, even if the situation is fictitious, and the script calls for full emoting of anger, angst and pain. In that sense, 'Walls' is realistic and direct.

Have to explain to 'Admiral' kids that their play is quite different in intent and form. Rather than emoting, they have to intellectualize their characters' experiences and abstract rather than feel their expression. While the pain is no less real, they have to interpret it through their text and movement rather than through the natural emotional outlets of shouting, screaming and crying. Therefore, their demands are quite different, requiring more control and precision timing to tell their story.

'Admiral' is after all a movement piece, the text seldom matching the action exactly word-for-word. This piece is really going to be tough going for the cast, and for the audience. Considering how far they've managed to come in the time they've had, I'm actually quite proud of them already. But now that they've seen 'Walls', we've raised the bar. Let's see that as a positive, a spur to take our performance up a notch. The time for a quantum leap is here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Edit 01:

Drama Night 08 Rehearsal
Opening week for Drama Night. One last rehearsal on campus, then tomorrow we bump in at SRT. I notice that I haven't got any production pix of Admiral. I've been so busy directing, I've forgotten to make a photo record of the process. Hope Mel is up to holding a camera tonight. It's our last chance to capture our work-in-progress.

Only three more nights to curtain...