Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Friday, August 30, 2013

the necessary conversation

I started this entry quite a few weeks ago but didn't finish it.  I was at the height of some pretty strong emotions then, wanted to take more time to record my thoughts and my journey so I didn't finish the entry.  Am in a calmer place now so today's the time to come back and finish this, the journey so far.

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I never knew I have never left the spot where his body lied, covered in newspapers and my tears - since 2 years and 11 months a go.

I have went on to grieve and mourn my loss all this time, but thinking I have moved on to live and new life by myself, independent and new.

Every time I am shown a little love, or care by someone else, it breaks my heart and makes me cry because I always wish that it was him instead.  Many would tell me, "See, he is still around and he has come back to love you and care for you in the forms of other friends and admirers."

Every time someone express a little interest in me I tell myself it is not right...just not right.

...and to earn another's love and fondness, admiration is such a magical thing.  What do I still have in me that could make anyone look at me that way?

What would I do, how could I ever meet another soul, like Justin, who fell for me like he did?

How could there be another person on earth who would be attracted to me for simply the glow he saw in me when I start to sing?

How could I recreate another pure his intention, "I just want you to be happy."

Maybe I suffer because I had hoped to find one more in this life.  And in the back of my head I already understood that no two persons are the same.

Furthermore, I have grown older, and have become something else in the past years.  

What attracted him to me back in 2002 was a one time in the universe event and to hope that something close to that `explosion' to take place in the future, to be similar in nature, is entirely impossible.

For this person who felt like that when he saw me singing on stage, has ceased to be alive.  And the person who sang on stage back in 2001 has lived on to be something else.

He was a mere mortal with flaws, like me.  But the ingredients of his love were, to me, pure and quite out of this world.  He just wanted to see me sing, and sing more he wanted me to do - because it made me happy, pure bliss.  And the same he wanted of others, he was just a boy who loved to make others happy.

Yea.  I laugh to myself now, how could I trust that I would come close to such fortune ever again?  If never ever to find something close to that, what would I do to convince myself of the meaning of this remaining life?  I throw many options at myself, all these 35 months of time.  Music, music, music, become a worthy being to others, music, be a worthy person...etc.

Along the way I have discovered my many many weaknesses, my weak mind, how easily I succumb to the negative end of a situation, how vulnerable I actually am, how terrible a cry baby I am, and how self-centred I must smell like in my little whirlpool of loss and mourning.

There have been sunny days too, and many many fantastic new experiences made on my own, with new people, new friends, new things, new routines.  On those days I just sailed.

But somehow this new year of 2013 has been nothing other than a funk of confusion, self-doubts and clouds of depression, all mixed up in a big ball of activities.  I have done some little research on depression and what people do about it but that didn't do anything for me.

Then came July the draught, the unpaid bills, more doubts, lots of time to be alone and think, and read.  Reading makes me feel better and calmer, cooking too.  So I read and cook, eat, and read, and play music, listen to CDs.

Then came a point one day quite recently when I was lying in bed thinking some more...something just snapped, and I decided that I was tired of feeling like shit, I have enough of the shit feeling.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do to keep it away, I just knew that I was sick of staying and being in the gut.

This soul-searching is both tiresome and/but tireless for me.  I reviewed the friendships I keep with others, I review the way I work, reminders of how little I plan for my future (practically none), review what are my real strengths, review my songs, my my views on relationships, on men..etc.

On men, back in 2011 I saw myself as someone eager to learn to love again.  I allowed work and music to take the front seat and cruised along with glee because the work fulfilled me, there was not a quiet moment to wallow in the absence of someone special.  Time passes and gigs came and went, I grew more lonely and there was lots of longing for him or someone.  At the same time I was growing attached to my convenient...what I called, the `single singer life'.  Too comfortable in my cocoon, I did nothing to change my status - a deliriously tragic and foolishly romantic widowed person, indulging in her easy single-hood, just stay missing him.

Besides, this is not a good place to be fishing for new romantic relationships.  My environment (circle) is far too homosexual; working and meeting married men is a norm of my routine, and ah, working and meeting men a decade or more my junior is usually the case.  I cherish the new friendships I found at work and some new friends I have made.  Granted, friends are not lovers like him whom I counted on for much more support but the good ones are those I talk to, to keep my sanity intact.

The road ahead won't get easier, at least I don't want to expect it to be.  I just hope to stay focused on what keeps me alive while he is no loner alive.

The deeds of his life.


My sports and hobbies.

His family.

Watching others live.

I will promise myself to keep this conversation alive and honest.  There is no shame in coming out as a tragic person as long as I have decided to stay alive and contribute.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Philippe Gaulier's Neutral Mask and Greek Tragedy master class - day five (Augst 18th)

Last day. Feeling glad that I took the plunge to do this.

The Facebook page link for this workshop HERE.  My FB album of this workshop.
The official photographer Will and his photos from the workshop HERE.

Morning session: neutral mask work, playing steel.

Afternoon session with invited guests/observers

Afternoon game: Neutral mask line - "Touch Michiko"

Scene and text works -

Antigone played by EeWen, Sharon, Janet & Anrie in consecutive rounds with choruses

Creon played by Coby, Yeo & Ghafir in consecutive rounds with choruses

My play with Antigone (paired with Yeo as Creon) was short-lived but again, it was a thoroughly satisfying experience for me.  Again, I used singing to move my text along.  The soundtrack playing for me and the female chorus was West Side Story.  So I sang the text to the tune of "I Have A Love".  The regal and innocent Antigone walked tall next to the menacing Creon and his men.  I was stopped after the short monologue, and told that though my portrayal was elegant and beautiful, I came across more like a cunning politician and female villain, like Clytemrestra.  Philippe said he would call if he needed to cast Clytemrestra.

I got to continue as female chorus with Anrie as Antigone leading us.  The female chorus made a handsome Greek chorus singers.  It helped to have EeWen in the group.  At many junctures I got to assist the group by singing to the company the text of Antigone, while Antigone moved as the lady, playing alongside the really menacing Ghafir as Creon.

Magician dance - `finalists' - Jo, Bernard & Tiong Wooi
Text: Iliad [The Death Of Hector]

Antigone and Creon

 Antigone and Creon

To conclude...with my incoherent thoughts:

even two weeks after the workshop and having played over some of the scenes from the workshop in my head, it is hard for me to summarise in a technical fashion of what I have learned as an actor.  If I look at the experience as keeping count of achievements in my CV then I guess signing up for the workshop and staying put throughout count as one for me.

Constantly seizing the calls to get on stage to play is another achievement.  Having the balls to finally relax in class counts.  Staying committed to my games is another.  Watching intently while others played is big in the learning curve.

Watching classmates make love with the texts, braving on stage, playing risky games, investing high emotions into their playing...etc.

We were taught, reminded to always invest joy, ownership, commitment, organic emotions, personality into our performance.  We were taught to play with space on stage.

Priceless was what we built in class with others, the bond of minds.  And the open-mindedness of classmates, non-judgemental air of the class.  And the possibility of just playing, and laughing out loud, or crying when something moves you so.

I have to stop here as nothing intelligible is coming through but I will revisit this blog post and add to it whenever something I recall well comes to me.

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Philippe Gaulier's Neutral Mask and Greek Tragedy master class - day four (August 17th)

Morning session: Neutral mask work exploring playing animals - tiger, cat, reptiles

Afternoon session: theatre garden in session

works: Antigone & Creon, Iliad (Death of Hector), Libation Bearers (Elektra & Orestes)


play space, create attractive tension by putting distance between two characters/choruses

Multiple couples of Antigone and Creon played their scenes.  Slowly Greek choruses were added to the exercise.  We learned how the lead actors and his and her choruses should help make the scene.

Somehow, something caught his attention, Philippe asked me to read The Death of Hector from my `audience seat' within the square of the `theatre space', completely without any movements except my facial expressions.  I spoke-sang the text and played all the dynamics that I knew at hand, improvising on the spot of what I thought could make the performance interesting.  My body trembled with the over-attention of not being able to use any movement to perform, my heart raced wildly as I savored the text, though I enjoyed the space given to me to make my own moment on that stage.  An indeed surreal experience.  The teachers gave me words like 'Beautiful' for some of the bits of my performance.  I wish I could remember this feeling for a long time.

Jo K and Ghafir then played the Electra and Orestes scene with Greek choruses.  The experienced actors gave us a rather delicious serving of drama...and when the class was over, a small group huddled to cry over (yes, tears) the moving performance.   Happy day.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Philippe Gaulier's Neutral Mask and Greek Tragedy master class - day three (August 16th)

Day three, I have learned how to have fun in the workshop, and get comfortable with mistakes, judgements and observation, etc.  I think I am most probably hooked on this.

Some of the games we played today using the bodies and characters of:

Marlboro men
World class models
Dancing girls

The Greek tragedy storytellers always play well, in painting pain and tension to depict the story or a character, but never play the pain themselves, rather, they keep a distance between their role as a narrator and the characters in the story that they narrate.   They always uphold a high level of joy in their storytelling, though a tale of a tragedy.  Such is the key to captivate your audience - that you will have them come back for your storytelling for hours, day after day.

Neutral mask actors eye line level - high

Brownie for the day:

The regal Electra walking with music accompaniment.  The speech was decent, the quavering in my walk killed it.

Lines: "Was ever a sight so sweet as this?  Our father's blessing is on you."

Kick of the day: I was the text prompter for Jo K in her performance of The Death Of Hector.  Until she recovered the rest of the text herself and finished the performance with Philippe's instruction, with rousing and captivating quality.

The cow-mooing Samurais ended the workshop today.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Philippe Gaulier's Neutral Mask and Greek Tragedy master class - day two (August 15th)

"I don't care if you do good or you do bad, I just want you to give a piece of your life in your performance."

"Don't give the academic style, tell them to fuck off."

Philippe Gualier and wife/assistant, Michiko Miyasaki

The `earth-glue' turned walking humans, quoting Greek tragedy texts

The raging sea

The melting glue

Today's platform for playing the ground of tragedy:



The tempest at sea

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Philippe Gaulier's Neutral Mask and Greek Tragedy master class - day one (August 14th)

The class was full of action, in variety of tempo and dynamics.  We promptly started with a game of "Samuel says".  There were lots of listening, lots of silliness, mostly there was focusing, playing with body movements and using text provided as class syllabus but we were asked to say it without much care for the text content, today.

Today we played at...

The sun and horizon

A walking and talking tree

A Greek chorus of tree

A dancing fire

A flight of small breeze or smoke

A quiet lake in September

Wake up on the snow

A lullaby singing women begging for her life

excerpts from:

The Death of Hector from Iliad by Homer

Antigone by Sophocles

Libation Bearers by Aeschylus

My brownie for the day:

1 point for portraying a beautiful, elegant Antigone - she sings a lullaby, she charms everyone in the hall, how would Creon look summoning the death of such a beautiful and regal creature.

My lullaby: Mo Li Hua
Line: "Now that you have caught, will you do more than kill me?"

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Friday, August 02, 2013

the emptiness has brought fruits

Waiting it out, the draught that has brought on so many different emotions.

First there was clusters of panic feelings and negative thoughts and the wandering mind.  Then after the initial dwellings of meaningless thoughts the rational task force team sprung into action, several attempts to steer the ship towards brighter shores.

While several positive action-plan took place, part of me took on the empty days with new learned glee.   It has been a funky place to be, am still here, hopefully not for long. Some of these days span out with such lyrical grace that I have not experienced for the longest time.

The leisurely yoga class, the therapeutic cooking, the solitary meals eaten without haze, leisurely dish washing, staring into space while the music plays, reading pages after pages without a care to rush to a sound check, organising stacks of different homework on the floor of my study, reading late into the nights, sleeping in.
There were countless conversations.  Mostly intimate ones, one to one.  I had organised another round of giving away clothes I cleared out from the `store/guest room'.  The most productive meetings for friends, the girls would come, one by one.  We would chat, while clothes would get tried on, and I would showed her to Tommy cafe and I'd get some bread or a drink from her in return for my pre-loved wardrobe.  Old friendship rekindled, clothes get new homes and I get free bread.  Perfect arrangement.

And then there are the dark dark thoughts and emotions that have
 lingered too long, overstayed its welcome but seem to have taken a permanent residence.  I have learned to stay afloat and stay in the battle no matter what comes.

Two new sets of lyrics were emailed to composer during these `empty days'.

Neck got hurt badly and warranted the attention of a chiropractor.

I have learned how to stir fry vegetables I have not cooked before. I enjoy improvising over the kitchen top.

Phone went missing/stolen all within a span of 5-minutes on a rare trip in a mall last week.  Now owner of a swanky and sleek new phone and more bills to pay.  Savings account needs massive work.

Finished reading Susan Cain's [Quiet] and Jeanette Winterson's [Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal].  Super satisfied with Winterson's unapologetic story of depression and bad childhood, her observations of life and art are so brash, harsh and inspiring at the same time.

I have read her The Power Book and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - time to get her other titles.

Just some of the quotes that I shared on FB, from her [Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal]:

"Creative work bridges time because the energy of art is not time-bound. If it were we should have no interest in the art of the past, except as history and documentary. But our interest in art is our interest in ourselves both now and always. Here and forever. There is a sense of the human spirit as always existing. This makes our own death more bearable. Life + art is a boisterous communion/communication with the dead. It is a boxing match with time."

"....trouble is just something that has been filed in the wrong place. That is what Jung was explaining of course - as the chaos of our unconscious contents strive to find their rightful place in the index of consciousness." anyway,

You make a decision to live on and live long, so just strife and let that decision bring you down the road....and hope each new decision you make bring you more inspiration to strife more.

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