It’s lonely and scary up there

I’m having an unexpected break right now because we haven’t been able to sell tickets to our weekend matinees (3 pm show) so I have the afternoon off. We’ll only be staging the 8 pm shows for today and tomorrow.

It sounds sad and pathetic, but I’m secretly relieved. I was worried about not having enough energy to perform two shows a day because my performance is very, very, VERY emotionally draining. So, not having a 3 pm show will make it easier. I’m just slightly disappointed that I don’t get to test my limits. And I’m disappointed that only a handful of people will get to experience the result of all the hard work that the production team has put in over the last two months. But such is theatre in Singapore.

Anyway, I took a few pictures on Thursday, one day before opening night.

Very scary tall ladder.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ladder this tall. I feel really nervous when I see any of the crew members climb right to the top to fix lights. I’m already terrified enough climbing one of those regular step ladders that people have at home.

Producer, artistic director and crew members having a casual discussion.

Location is the now-defunct Q Bar at the Arts House. It’s one of the three spaces for our show. That long seat by the window is exactly where I was sitting when I was blogging from my DS Lite two days ago.

Poetry on the wall of the Arts House box office.

Will show pictures of the sets another time because I haven’t had time to photograph the finished sets.

Last night was opening night. I was the opening act.

All day, I walked around with butterflies in my stomach. As the time for the opening show drew nearer, the butterflies started to wage mutiny and feed on my blood and soul. All day, I tried to calm myself by distraction, slow breathing, self-psychoanalysis, running my lines through my head over and over again.

I was nervous because I felt that I still didn’t have a 100% hold on my performance. Because of the limited time we had for rehearsals, I haven’t successfully ironed out all the kinks.

Oh gosh, I feel nervous now just typing this out.

It’s a kind of crazy fear that makes me beat myself over the head repeatedly and ask myself why I put myself through this in the first place.

WTF were you thinking, you crazy bitch? *bonk*

I have no answer. I love performing so I must do it. Then why am I scared to death?

I tried to make myself believe that I was on a film set and it was just another day in my life doing a role for the camera. But I think my brain was too alert to be fooled.

It’s a very scary and lonely feeling to be standing alone on a stark, quiet stage under a flood of spotlights, dark figures seated in front of you, waiting patiently yet eagerly, demanding to be entertained, demanding that you make it worth their time sitting there to watch you.

Knowing that there’s no room for mistakes. No cuts, no take 2s.

It’s a horrible feeling, in fact.

Well, but only the starting is horrible. I started shaky because of all those thoughts running through my head which I tried to dispel but they simply hid at the recesses of my mind and nipped at me silently but consistently.

After the scary start, I could begin to enjoy performing.

I think I did okay. No major screw ups. I think my audience was reasonably satisfied with my performance.

I was satisfied. I know I can still improve a lot but I think I did the best I could under the circumstances.

On opening night, I had like 15 people in my audience. About 10 of them were part of the production team. Haha. Well, it’s a small production. Even bigger plays from bigger theatre companies have difficulty selling $25 tickets to a public bred on the fanfare and special effects of Hollywood movies, which cost only $9 for up to three hours of mindless, mainstream entertainment.

Anyway, I survived opening night! I couldn’t quite believe it. A few people said my performance touched them. I feel touched when I hear that. Funny.

And then I begin to stress again.

Can I do as well tonight? Or can I do better?

My nails suffered some abuse while I was cleaning up my set, dirtied after a full-dress rehearsal. My performance involves painting on a screen and we have to clean up the paint after each performance to get ready for the next.

During the cleaning, I tore one nail (although you can’t tell clearly from the picture because only the outer layer peeled off) and got black acrylic paint on another.

I suppose I could have tried to use thinner to clean the nail but I decided to leave it intact on a whim because it’s like a battle scar that holds sweet memories of victory and happiness.

See how it seems to have seeped into the nail.

Having supper at Lavender Food Square after the show.

Tickets are still available for tonight 8 pm and tomorrow night 8 pm. Just arrive slightly before and inquire at the Arts House box office foyer.

12 thoughts on “It’s lonely and scary up there

  1. Avatar

    I believe you can do it! No sweat! Hmmm… yeah, I know performing in a play is much scarier than performing for film… I guess in plays, audience reactions are immediate and… you don’t have take two’s. So make it good! Cheers!

  2. Avatar

    I guess that’s just how the Singaporean mentality is.

    Local? Ai yah, not worth watching unless you are “ang moh”. Same for local bands and their music. Pity, cause I always felt EIC was not bad (ironically I only came to learn about them and their music when Class95 featured them on Mondays 7pm).

    Such is the life of local artistes, I suppose.

  3. Avatar

    hi! new-comer here. i think i rly like yr blog.
    i guess singaporeans just dont know enough abt theatre. i took up theatre modules last sem and i learnt so much abt it, den i started to get so attracted to theatre, when i was never interested in the first place.
    but pricing is another thing. but wildrice seems to be doing well..

  4. Avatar

    theatre is all about “being”…as i was once told. so just “be”. whether it’s for a fullhouse or just a handful…for them and also for yourself…be who u’r supposed to be. heck, i know it ain’t easy…been there only twice myself so i’m really nobody to be giving advice…but i just wanna let you know… that i know wat it’s like…and i’ve felt wat you’ve felt…

  5. Avatar

    modchip: Thanks! :)

    Numby: True lah. I also have that kind of mentality. Haha. I also don’t watch local plays myself cos I think they’re expensive. That’s why I never really ask my friends to come watch me. I cannot be double standard. :P

    shin: Thanks for visiting! Glad to hear you like my blog. :) So are you still doing theatre now? Sure, there are theatre companies who are doing well now because they have big names to sell their productions. It’s all about finding a good talent, doing a whole lot of marketing and publicity and then just keep milking the cow!

    fish: I don’t mind the small crowd. I like performing to a small cosy crowd.

    arachno: Yeah, I guess I do look pretty tired in that photo cos I was really tired! lol.

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