Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Confessions of a Director

Before opening night of Short+Sweet Theatre Week 2, just wanna write something about my experience as a Director for Short+Sweet this year. Sorta like a personal but published documentation. ^_^

The decision to come in as a director was a last minute thing. I knew I wanted to be a part of Short+Sweet, and I kept on reminding myself to come up with a script, like I did last year. It was a thrill that my first ever script, "Subway Confessions" got into the gala night last year, and I wanted to feel that whole feeling of pride and excitement all over again. Unfortunately, that 2009 script never came, either because I was just too lazy, or kept on telling myself that I am really THAT busy. So since directing for stage was something I've always wanted to try, I thought, why not direct a 10-minute piece and see how that goes?

I was assigned to 'Concealed', and I have to say when I first read the piece, I related to the character, Angie (especially looking back at those college years and the 'joys' of growing up). And it being my first time directing someone else's masterpiece, I was pretty nervous about meeting the writer, Jillian Toyad. I didn't have to be, really, Jillian is a total sweetie and very easy to work with. During our meeting, we not only discussed the script... as with how conversations can lead from one thing to another, we discussed girly issues and even found a common interest, Harry Potter. :)

And then it came to the next challenge, finding the suitable actor to play Angie. After the auditions, I shortlisted a couple of people I thought would be a great Angie. I didn't ask all of them in one go, and after several meetings with two and three girls, I finally found my Angie. She was in some remote island with no internet when I contacted her, and had to have her sister read the entire script to her on the phone! Ani Juliana hopped on board with so much enthusiasm, it was infectious. I was already excited to begin rehearsals!! :)

I had three other characters with only one line in my play, and it was a little hard trying to cast for that. To tell you guys the truth, I didn't know how to explain to the actor he/she only had to say only one line with less than a second on stage, stand in the dark all throughout, come for nearly all the rehearsals and commit 4 days for the show. Thank God, Alfred Loh and Adeline Ong (who were already casted in another play) agreed to do it. My sister, Ching Li agreed to do it as well, after the third actor backed out on me after the last group rehearsal. You guys are such stars! *hugs*

Finding rehearsal space was a challenge as well. Because my play involved alot of sitting and make-up, we could not do it outdoors. The one time we tried, it drizzled and ducks started quacking. -_- Other than the 3 rehearsals we had in KLPac, we did it at my place, and Juliana would come all the way over (which was btw, a fair distance from her place). After rehearsals if it runs too late and she has no transport home, she would stay over at her friend's place and go home the next day. I thank her for her commitment. She has been a joy to work with. =D

I had a great time rehearsing for 'Concealed', and before the curtain opens tonight, I want to take the opportunity to thank the writer, Jillian; and my actors, Ani Juliana, Alfred Loh, Adeline Ong and Ching Li for coming on board this ride with me at the wheel as a first-time director. I also wanna thank Joe and Faridah for giving me this opportunity in the first place, and the entire backstage crew. It has been an awesome journey so far, and TONIGHT, it is just truly getting started. I am sure I would have a lot more to say after our performances the next 4 days!

Break a leg, guys!

-Min Li-
Director, 'Concealed'

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