Saturday, March 27, 2010

A drama Saturday

Mengs and I were at SPoly in the morning attending a dialogue session about Arts Education in schools. It was quite useful listening to other schools share their aesthetics programmes with us. If we are working something similar for ourselves, the groundwork has to start now.

Integrating the four separate drama groups into a coherent college-wide plan should make resource allocation more efficient, but more importantly it would bring in the minority groups -- which are currently operating like drifting satellites -- back into the fold. There's a lot we could learn from each other but because of our discreet programmes we've not been even thinking about coming together to offer a more streamlined, focused and purposeful approach that would benefit the college as a whole. That would be a start anyway.

But the highlight of the morning was the rescue of a little terrier that was clearly lost and panicking on Dover Road tailed by a patient bus driver who gave him a chance to run into the SP parking lot, out of harm's way. I quickly parked and set off with Mengs in tow to look for the little fella. I soon had him in my arms and fortunately he was tagged with his name, address and a phone number which I got Mengs to call. Turned out Netty's owner lived just across the road. It took only a couple of minutes for her to meet us where we were and reclaim her wayward doggie.

My vision of a tearful reunion between a little girl and her lost dog were dashed instantly. The owner (a cute, young expat lady) didn't even know Netty had gone missing and was surprised to hear her dog reported as such. Oh well, at least we averted an unnecessary tragedy for both owner and dog.

Drama rehearsals in the afternoon. RodO came back with a completely rewritten ending to his earlier script. The comedy that we once had has now taken on more serious overtones. Wonder what P is going to make of Drama Night now with all the morbidity and mayhem going on when he was expressly looking forward to laughing his head off the whole night. Um... no answers about that right now.

Evening we went to exercise our new membership rights. Our trainers took us on an intro tour of the different weight machines and ran some preliminary tests on our fitness levels. After the tests and the first two machine stations, Uncle here found himself flat on his back staring at several anxious faces and the flourescent light overhead. My heart is so weak, blood wasn't going into my brain after even that initial exertion.

So now apart from paying for membership, I'm also paying for a personal instructor to help design my body back into shape -- in the personal fitness sense, not the yummylicious vanity sense. Best to take care of the ol' ticker now while I still can, not wait until it's too late to do anything about it. And since I've put down quite a pretty penny on the whole thing, that in itself is the motivation to keep going. Hmm... maybe I can make a claim with the company to subsidise my expenses...? No harm asking.

White Cloud Gang comes to town

Tonight was the annual meeting of Our White Cloud Gang. A sordid, crime-ridden affair it was. We witnessed a Kafka-esque human-to-mouse metamorphosis as the result of a series of betrayals. In the second half, there were several vignettes of other forms of crime such as (deep breath...) gun-running, slave trading (or maid hiring, I couldn't really tell), drug trafficking, sexual harassment, gambling, organized charity, all montaged together from the point of view of a tourist seeing the less touristy parts of town... or a channel surfer clicking through the TV Guide at random (I really couldn't tell).

This year I was unexpectedly bereft of subtitles, so the above was what I could surmise from interpreting movement and set, but the dialogue was way too inaccessible to make sense of, given my grasp of the language. But I guess that was the main problem I had with the proceedings. Everything else seemed to work well: music, dance, costumes, lighting and white-face makeup. Most of all, over the years, they finally learned the value of brisk, precise scene-changing avoiding long blackouts.

One thing I got quite annoyed with was the audience. The house was buzzing with a constant low rumble of distracted chatting. Looking ahead to our own Drama Night, it looks like we'll be facing a similar tough crowd that will not be quiet unless what's going onstage can truly catch its attention and hold it throughout.

A challenge, then!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Such drama

Wow!Pow!Bow! is starting to take shape. We have three short plays so far. Two are angst-ridden teen tearjerkers. The third is a farcical spy movie spoof. Still on the lookout for a couple more plays that might lend a little balance to the evening -- otherwise P's apprehensions might come true: as in every competition year, Drama Night 2010 will be yet another dramatic, dreary, and depressing affair. Competitions seem to bring out the intensity of our deeply buried emotions. Maybe we could benefit from the therapy?

Fortunately, our main feature is an absurdist comedy, heavily adapted from an existing Japanese script with lots of opportunities to exploit for gags galore. But "funny" depends on timing and delivery, and we're making the kids work really hard on that. Comedy is serious business as the kids are finding out right now.

But anyway, it's been good to work with RodO. I can see the gags and I can choreograph them into the blocking, but he knows how to realize them onstage and make them work. It will help a lot when the kids get their scripts out of their hands. When they stop worrying about their lines and stage directions, then we can work on the polish. The sooner, the better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

There's nothing better than ice cream

There's nothing better than ice cream. Except free ice cream! Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's.

Free ice cream was a fantastic prelude to my new fitness routine which I decided would begin today. June and I were going to ask for a free trial class in low-impact callisthenics, but we had such a long chat with the manager of the establishment that the class started without us. We could only content ourselves with staring at the fully-packed dance studio and gape at the speed at which the students were going through their motions.

Undeterred, I signed up for a package anyway, postponing class till the weekend. We're determined to arrive earlier next time. So much for today's fitness routine. We chomped on Kenny Roger's chix and ribs immediately after our most intense ocular workout. What an auspicious beginning to the first day of taking care of our health.

Dropped in on kid bro at the hospital later. He's been in this past weekend with a fever and irregularities in his blood count. He's already been run through a battery of tests but nothing conclusive so far. When we met him this evening, he was lounging around in the hospital Starbucks looking none the worse for wear. So far, the professional advice he's been getting is to watch his diet. Guess there's nothing to worry too much over for now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gift of fish

It's the third week and back to Gift of Love with a new dish to thrill the palates of the aged sick. Actually, it was all June's show today, cooking up a fish curry that drew rave reviews from the crowd. While she was soaking up the adoration, I was back at M2 feverishly grading essays in time for Term 2.

And that pretty sums up the events of this week. Usually, I find ways and means to make the most of the mid-term break. This week, however, was one agenda item after another and I still haven't got everything done that I needed to do.

I doubt I'm alone feeling like this. Everyone I know is scrambling for some deadline or another; everyone is thankful for the week's break because it's a fantastic opportunity to get work done without being interrupted by the normal workday chaos of term time.

Everybody, chorus with me, "I need a vacation...!" OK, enough self-indulgence. Back to work!