Sunday, 19 June 2016

beasts and feasts

Glad to have some chill downtime amidst the insanity of post-production blues and the ever overwhelming amount of thesis work to do. 

Met up with dict and lina today (side note: we don't really have a group name; I mean our whatsapp group title is called "Brunch with Shannen" but I usually affectionately refer to them as the Weirdos) racxiu wasn't around but we suspect she has whisked herself off to Bintan. Nevertheless, we met up for some healthy brunch at Rollie Ollie's but negated all that healthiness by binging on chocolate matcha cake and blueberry cheesecake from Cedele's. We were up to no-good silliness as usual because we went a bit bonkers thanks to Urban Dictionary:

For instance, it defined Benita (dict) as:
"a small hyperactive indian child who moves her hands a lot when she speaks. She has a passion for Edward Scissorhands and enjoys the Sims. She can talk to birds and speaks very, very fast. People enjoy Benita because she is Indian"
I.e. "Oh my she's acting like a Benita today", "Oh golly she's doing a Benita"

Who on earth comes up with this kind of stuff??? It is rather detailed. But we must admit that there is some truth to that statement cause our Benita does move her hands a lot and she does enjoy the Sims. I reckon the author of this Urbandict post have great talents in naming people - just like how your parents used to find wizened old Chinese (wo)men to calculate your Ba-Zis to determine a suitable name, the modern millennial can now turn to Urbandict. 

While we were at Cedele, this young girl was making strange screeching noises which sounded like "Nyet! Nyet!" and I may or may not have loudly exclaimed that she was making Russian noises to the weird stares of her parents but I mean that in the best way possible. At least she was exercising her right to say no. 

We decided that we were having too much fun so we decided to convene again at night. But first, I had to head off for an audition in Geylang. It was at some dubious looking factory building and I was apprehensive. G says I'm being unfair because if this was a abandoned factory building in Tiong Bahru I would have thought it cool and hipster. 

After that I excitedly went over to dict's place to meet Doodle. He is a Corgi who sprinkles fur wherever he goes and enjoys biting people's toes and feet when you are a guest of the house. dict and I decided to be productive with our time and exercise. I suggested some activities but she insisted I do the following workout:

Dict and I were completely wiped from doing two of her abs workout. It was pretty intense because we just did abs exercises for about 20mins straight. One of the exercises is called "Earthquake" and it's literally meant for your abs to tremble and shake from the agony. Dict says I must challenge myself to do the ABOMINABLE ADOMINALS exercises in the future. I don't know if I want to because Cassey just can't stop talking about inane stuff whilst doing the exercises. Then again, I can't hear her through the pain. Though I must admit that I much prefer those kind where they yell motivational phrases at you angrily, with people in the background struggling in the same exercises they are purporting. 

Lina was taking ages to come so dict and I ordered in some cheap and really tasty pasta (yay deliveroo!) and played neopets to while away the time. We actually planned to paint each other but we were caught up with eating Blackball and watching Youtube videos. By the time we wanted to start, it was already 10pm!!! So we were deciding if we should Beast instead.

I don't really know how to explain what Beast-ing is. Incidentally, we were watching a cartoon episode of Madeline that offered an approximately 22min long explanation of what Beasting is.  

The short explanation is that we draw something and turn it into the most ugliest, unrecognizable form ever. We decided to stick to the prompt of drawing ourselves. We only had 10 mins before we had to go so here's all we did:

the original

Lina's Beast: Portraiture of 3 friends & a self-portrait

my re-imagination of us as fruits

Dict's beast was irrelevant to our prompt so it has been disqualified from my post. Interestingly, lina loved my beast and insisted that I make a career as a "talented fruit artist" - I'm not sure what that entails. 

Anyway, it was a really fun day and it was so enjoyable meeting so spontaneously! It has been really hard meeting up because of our conflicting schedules and I haven't had the chance to catch up with them when they came to watch Long Weekend too. I'm leaving for Europe soon so hopefully when I'm back, and when racxiu magically appears from wherever she is, we'll be able to pole dance/cosmic bowl/picnic at bot gards/go fishing/other weird stuff!!!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

a long weekend

And there we have it, the end of Long Weekend - a month-long production hustle as part of the inaugural 20-something theatre festival. It literally just ended a few hours ago and yet I'm already feeling the post-production blues. 

I believe in this production - to give a voice to the marginalized LGBTQ community. This play, is a heartfelt one written by Kenneth and I hope we have done it justice. In the midst of preparing for this show, my eyes have opened wide to the struggles and the issues being faced by the community at large. Through Long Weekend, I hope it reminds people that we are more similar than we are dissimilar - that the human condition is a universal one and we partake in shared experiences such as joy and loss, regardless of our sex, gender, age, sexual orientation or religion.

Btw, this is my first PAID acting gig - I've been paid before doing dramaturgy but I've always been doing non-paid acting gigs for stage and film. I used to think that remuneration didn't matter because I'm still new and I want to improve myself so a good learning experience felt like enough of a payment. But there's this sense of legitimacy which comes with paid work of productions that I believe in- a sense of 'hey, I'm doing good work' and I'm being recognized for it. It's a cheap thrill but one that anchors me during times where I doubt myself of being able to make a living in the theatre industry. 

I was so nervous auditioning for the role, I spent hours prepping for it in my car/in the shower/in my head because I wanted it really badly. I didn't care if the honorarium was $100 or $1, I just wanted to be able to say 'I got paid for doing something I love'. When I was offered the role on the spot, I literally screeched and hugged the director, Mitch (who probably thought me mad). 

Flashback to when I was 17, and I was finally found the courage to let myself try drama. After the many years of secretly performing monologues in the mirror at home when nobody's looking, I finally found the courage to walk up to the director of Night of Laughter in ACJC. It was off-season for bowling so I told her very frankly that I will commit my time to it; that she should audition me and give me a chance. She auditioned me on the spot and I got the role. My first role was Bill #3 in Sure Thing by David Ives. A small role but a big step. I haven't looked back since. 

From just performing to random handfuls of people, I have now performed in a production with sold-out shows and garnered good reviews (see here & here). Each small step I've taken have led me to come so far from when I first started. I know that I have so much more to learn, so much more to improve but now and then, it is amazing to see the significant changes to me as an actor. 

For those who know me personally, it is very common to hear me whine incessantly about how I'm afraid of the year from now because I have to make the choice if I want to go down the road less travelled or take some other "safer" route. It has been a dilemma that I've struggled with for years on end. Do I go to law school or do I commit to my craft as an actor? 

After this production, I realized that this is a choice that I cannot make; it has been made for me. I NEED to be in theatre - whether I can make a living out of it is another question but I feel so drawn towards this field that there is absolutely no way I can give it up. This enlightenment hit me randomly yesterday after our show. Despite just being part of an ensemble, and only being on stage at certain scenes, I had some audience members who told me that they loved my energy and enjoyed watching me on stage. Truly, these comments are much treasured, a reminder to keep striving to be a better actor. 

 One of the biggest takeaway of this production is, of course, the newfound friendships I made with the cast & crew of Long Weekend. We saw each other so frequently! We hung out after rehearsals, attended Pink Dot and watched shows together.

I'm sorry I didn't make hand-written cards! Somehow it didn't feel like goodbye and I thought that I will probably see you guys again anyway (lol) But here it is anyway, in a dedicated blog post:

To Kenneth,
You are a fabulous playwright - in more ways than one. Thank you for letting me be part of the opportunity to see your play come to life. When you announced that you got selected for this festival, I thick-skinnedly (sorry not sorry) asked you to keep me in the loop for auditions. I actually thought you wouldn't (I mean I only met you once randomly), but you did and I really have to thank you for sharing the audition details to me. 

To Mitchell,
Of course, thank you for casting and directing me! You remind me of a talking, walking University essay but you have a lovely voice so I always listen intently HAHA, but seriously, I love that you direct with heart. I'm sure you have had many sleepless nights pondering over your directorial vision and hey! It paid off! Thank you for always clarifying my doubts and answering my inane questions about anything and everything. I learnt a lot from you! I will wear white t-shirts more often too. 

To Terry,
Goldfish! Thanks for the good chats in the car on the way back from a long rehearsal. We didn't even know each other's name when we first met but we hit it off anyway! You were the first person I talked to in the production and I was so glad to have somebody I could talk to. 

To Juni,
Wtf you do not look your age?! I'll miss your youthful exuberance during rehearsals - it's very contagious! You are always bursting into the room in a song! And your voice is hella awesome. I'm so glad I got to hear you sing live during Pink Dot! 

To Tasha,
O M G I'll never forget how we totally flunked Normal's audition together and how Huzir, Claire and Faith probably thought we were both friends and auditioned together when we didn't even knew each other back then. You are so lovely, I can't describe it - like you always have this brightness that you bring around with you? Let's do theatre mods together next sem!!!

To Mario,
I'll miss you, you crazy fake Italian plumber. I love our mad times together - be it trying to seduce Ben or Japan Hour moments or doing Insanity/Zumba or hunting for healthy food and guilt-free desserts! I secretly love watching you dance - you have such an amazing physicality to you! Congratulations on getting into Laselle's MT! I'll be there for all your shows fo' sure! 

To Zenda,
Hello regal eagle, I'm still waiting to read your script!!! You know I was actually quite terrified of you because you looked so ~ cool~ but the more I got to know you, the more I was "wow this girl is so cool?!" I hope you know that you are beautiful inside and out and that you really belong in theatre. Let me know when your next show is cause I'll be there!!!

To Haoboon,
Wts HB, you are damn hardworking!!! You put me to shame. Even though your role was smaller than the rest, you still gave your 110% commitment and that is really admirable. You are also insanely good at Bishi Bashi and BISHI BASHI IS HARD. All the best for your upcoming graphic novel!!!

To Ben(gay),
You are an excellent SM and you provide deep, penetrating relief to the production because of the sheer dedication to your job. Thank you for bearing the logistical weight of Long Weekend. Thank you for being the understudy to all of our roles- filling in and taking notes when someone is missing from rehearsal. our role is so tough and yet you do it so well! You're crazy.  Also, the image of you prancing around in a strap-on has been seared to my brain. Also, I'm sorry (not sorry) I flashed you my tit. 

To Pearl,
Thanks Pearl for being our cool ASM and making sure that we don't screw up our props preset and being the Robin to Ben's Batman. I still can't fathom how you can make sweeping look so effortlessly chic (lol) but truly grateful that you helped the production even though you had your trampoline competition! plz take theatre mods with me next sem

To Jia Hui and Augustina
Thank you for making these costumes, and altering it over and over again! I know that you guys had to come down so many times and even got completely drenched on one of your visits to take our measurements. I'm really sorry that I keep ripping my pants!!! Thank you for the extra pants on standby! My friend said that the costumes were really lovely in catching the light.

To TK and Sarah,
Thanks for the long nights you had to make our set and props! What is Long Weekend without the gigantic closet and a life-sized dick helmet? The amount of detail and effort given to the sets and props is mind-blowing. I secretly wanted to keep the penguin outfit cause it was just so well-made. Thank you for spicing up our play! I would never been able to do what you guys have done for this production. 

Yep, that's the end of my sappiness! I definitely want to be able to work with all of you guys in the future. All y'all are so multi-talented (singing??? dancing???), I hope we cross paths on stage again. PLZ REMEMBER ME WHEN Y'ALL ARE FAMOUS.

Once again, from the Long Weekend cast and crew, thank you for all those who took the time to come down and support us! You know who you are! xoxo

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

rabu rabu

(cue smoke screens and dramatic instrumentals)

my drama production and Chinese new year celebrations are done and dusted - what's left is an enormous pile of work (as usual) but the overworked G and I decided to take a tiny break and go out for some good eatz

excuse me while I just take a quick nap on your chair

We went to PS Cafe at Martin Road because we chanced upon it and I thought, "Well, here's a pretty looking place." G looks like a casual debonair with his H&M x Beckham printed shirt while I was wearing a random top I bought from Thailand. We happened to get our grubby hands on some fortune cookies:

Hope it's not referring to the amount of work I have

Perhaps the fortune cookie prefigured the fact that I didn't get as much good eatz as I thought I would. G being G ordered some Chinese noodles in a Western cafe and I ordered myself a cuppa flat white and a smoked salmon croque monsieur. Unfortunately, the flat white tasted so acidic and it made me very upset. What's worse was that the smoked salmon croque monsieur was very misleading. It turns out that they dumped the smoked salmon inside the warm toasty bread and it became cooked salmon. I tried arguing this with an angmoh waiter but he failed to see my point and proceeded to explain to me the technicalities of what a croque monsieur was. Why would anyone try to half-cook a smoked salmon??? Can someone please explain this to me. G helped eat and drink my coffee and food because he is a dustbin. 

Okay, but P.S. Cafe has its redeeming factor of its truffle fries. Jewel claims that the serving size shrinks as the years go by and proceeded to show me visual documentation as proof. She must be a P.S. Cafe truffle fries connoisseur. 

G and I didn't exactly have a relaxing afternoon though; we spent it debating about philosophical stuff like existence and stuff like that (i.e. When we are seeking the essence of ‘tree’, we have become aware that, that which pervades each tree, as tree, is not itself a tree that can be encountered all the other trees) We were quite loud and we just ended up agreeing to disagree. I still can't believe he called me an absolutist???

after that, I went to WorldMUN training (hah)
after that, I went to Quintessence's house for a T1 reunion dinner where we were screaming wildly over the steamboat and playing guitar hero (the songs are all more than 10 years old wow) and I finally learnt how to play mahjong.
I now believe in beginner's luck because I won $8 from 10cents/20cents and I won all the three rounds which I played. My friends were in disbelief. I think it really helped that I have Birdy was beside me to guide me but he claimed it was divine intervention. 

spent Valentine's day having Italian with Ruth at PastaAmore - I am so lucky to have reconnected with this girl after 2-3 years of estrangement. We were just musing about how we are so different people but can still be so close and confide in each other. I think it's because as Psychology students, we both understand ~unconditional regard~ 
I would post photos of our food but they do not look appetizing enough. 

after that I met up with mainey tay and I was so pleased with myself because I got her a bouquet of flowers. I did so because she always brings up the past about how I would never give anyone flowers, or if I did, it would be flowers I drew because I deemed them more "practical". Well, I thought she would be surprised by this turn of events where I actually get her real flowers. But she said, "you already got me real flowers last year" Oh, well, that is awkward. I knew I should have gotten that fake rose instead. 

We watched Deadpool and he is now my favorite Superhero(?) of all time. I laughed so much but it hurts when I laugh cause my entire body is aching from a combination of Thursday's gym session and Friday's Krav Maga lesson.

also, I sent Amanda See off to Geneva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shucks, it feels weird that Amanda went on exchange cause she is my spirit animal and I love her very much and we always do so much things together. I was actually gonna be sad that she was leaving until I realised that we will be meeting up in Rome 3 weeks later for WorldMUN. 

Guess that was as exciting as my weekend could possibly get, so now it's back to the grind:

Someone please pass me a drink

things I need to do:
  • finish my theatre thesis on archiving
  • work on my honours thesis
  • finish my exercise journal on emotions
  • complete my emotions and psychopathology essay
  • Watch all the webcasts for the lectures I have missed
  • Study for my midterms
things I did:
  •  Watched 2 episodes of Scorpion
  • Drank earl grey milk tea with herbal jelly at 30% sugar 
  • Moped over how I am missing a lot of theatre shows I desperately want to watch but can't cause I'm in Rome
  • Discussed with dict over the hilarity of NBA mascots (i.e. Pierre the Pelican)
  • Deciding if I want to go for Pole tricks class with dict tomorrow or something else instead

emoji love letter

by gabrielle de la puente

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

the reluctant fitspo

F I T ✖️ K I T 
Weekend workouts wearing #lindexsport
#fitness #style #ootd #fitkit #gym #run #fun #workout #fitfam #outfit #follow #sportstylist

the reluctant fitspo series

I'm really as reluctant as it gets - I complain and whine a lot when I exercise but I still do it anyway. Recently, I've been neglecting my fitness for general work and studies over the past few months and I can literally feel my body wanting to get off the treadmill of Life and on an actual treadmill instead. 

So, a couple of my friends and I signed up for KFIT - a service app that allows you to attend unlimited classes (from yoga to body combat to batting cage to pole dancing???) for a fixed fee of SGD99/month. 

I'm a first time member so I get 50% off! For those who are interested, you can use my referral code and get the discount too. For the rest, you get a free class simply by downloading the app!

It's been a challenge to somehow introduce exercising sessions amidst the amount of work that I have to do - hahaha, looking at you my two theses - but I feel like a gigantic BLOB-ZOMBIE and sitting on my ass, not doing anything about it, won't make me feel better. Thus, the reluctance, and much obliged, commitment to a more fit lifestyle.  

30th January 2016

Reluctant fitspo is reluctant - I only had 1.5h of sleep and had a full production run in the morning before rushing down for some Bollywood dancing. It was a really tiny place at Waterloo and I spent a complete hour being perplexed by how a human individual can shake herself so violently and vigorously. Meanwhile, Dict, Lina and I were just flailing our limbs wildly all over the place I'm actually surprised that nothing came loose. 

31st January 2016
Quotable quotes: "Let your chest open like a flower opening in bloom"

I think this is the first time I'm actually doing yoga under an instructor who has a true Singaporean accent as opposed to the usual globalized accent that I usually hear. Not that I minded it but I was quite amused as I did my Sun Salutations, especially when she uses a great deal of adverbs and other metaphors such as the blooming flower. 
Sweatbox certainly lived up to its name because the studio was literally square-shaped and somehow was rather stuffy so I was dripping with sweat in my non-Lululemon tank. The view was great though because it looked out to Turf City and there was a Boost juice store at Grandstand (berry blast hurrah!)

Dict, Lina and I went to the Healthy Living Cafe opposite Grandstand and was delighted at its healthy, organic and raw offerings as it kept with the overarching theme of healthy living. You may also spot its mascot, Ralph, outside the cafe where he is holding a sign that says, "Be healthy like Ralph!". To be honest, he just looked a little odd and awkward. 

 1st February 2016 

Quotable Quotes: "Witness the sense of equanimity in your practice"
"May the fruits be reaped for all sentient beings; may all beings be healthy and may all beings be well"

Because new month new me and the fact that new years resolutions are still valid because Chinese new year hasn't occurred, I decided to join Dict for a Hot Hatha class at 8:45am. Sometimes, I surprise myself. 

But the moment I stepped into the studio, I knew this was yoga paradise. The whole studio is scented with Penhaglion candles (that's like the Burberry of candles for the uninitiated) and I was floored. The yoga instructor was also dressed in all white, looking every bit like the guru he is. He also has the most calming and charismatic voice. Thus, Dict and I were in consensus that his voice alone has the potential to lead a cult following and we would undoubtedly join. After all, he convinced me to try and do a headstand during class today (which is something I have been avoiding). 

The Internet also revealed this fun fact: he and his wife constructed this eco-friendly house from scratch with zero experience. They did this by watching a lot of Youtube videos???

I really enjoyed yoga at Meraki Studio, not only because of the yoga instructor but also because the facilities were so clean and smells so good. Such a wonderful class certainly prefigured a very productive day. I proceeded to have brunch > write 1000 words for my thesis > go for dance rehearsal > give tuition > go for drama rehearsal - the best part was that I was energized throughout the day! 

2nd February 2016
Quotable Quotes: "You can't stop the beat (growls)" 

I was extremely productive the previous day so much so that I slept until 4pm. 
To be fair, I did wake up for breakfast at 8.30am but I was so physically exhausted that I just slept the day away. My body has too much fitness going on, I reckon. I did want to cancel the body combat class but apparently I passed the deadline and if I still insist of cancelling, I would have to pay a SGD15 fine - Well, that certainly woke me up. 

Body combat was certainly eye-opening - it's a combination of a multitude of martial arts with aerobics. I'm not familiar with this at all even though I had experience in Taekwondo, Krav Maga and boxing. The instructor was amazing; I've never seen any instructor push himself so hard to the limits to the point where he was much more exhausted than we were. Lina and I theorized that he must have been through a lot of hardships because he kept encouraging us through various statements such as, "Do you want to surrender? You can't surrender until you have taken your last breath!!!" or "Crush the chin! Break the jaw!" and through a series of loud growls that occurred frequently during class. This happened while he played a set of hard metal/rock songs which I thoroughly enjoyed. He would also appropriate random aggressive sounding song lyrics in order to motivate us. It did work considering the nature of the songs. You can't really go wrong if you play Gun n' Roses and the sort. 

What did not work (for me at least) was when he asked rhetorical questions like 'How fast can you go? How strong can you go? Show me how much you want it'. To which, my answer was 'okay, average and not really lol'. It also reminded me of this video that Racxiu had shared with me:

Interestingly, he also played Hairspray's 'You Can't Stop the Beat' (apparently, it's one of his favourite songs) and proceeded to introduce jazz hands into the routine. That was great, cause who doesn't love musical theatre? (I think I was most motivated at this part)