If my muse doesn’t show up, I’m dead

Six weeks ago, I auditioned for a role in a theatre production. Three actors got the job and I was one of them. Woohoo. What a happy occasion because I hardly get theatre roles.

And then Jack jumped out of the box and punched me in the face.

I had to write my own script.

For a solo performance.

(The production is made up of three solo performances.)


An insane fear gripped me. Elation at getting the job evolved into a monster that gnawed at my intestines.

I may be a good writer, in general, and even have a passing knowledge of scriptwriting techniques, but I hardly think I’m qualified to write a script good enough for a paying crowd. (If I were, I would be churning them out and making money.)

And I hate monologues. I must have mentioned that somewhere in my blog before. Probably more than once. Monologues just kill me.

Of course, I tried not to show the fear. One must always appear confident and in control in front of one’s employers. But whether or not the fear is well-hidden is another matter altogether. Some directors are so perceptive they can see right through makeup, skin and bone, right into the marrow of your soul.

I was tempted to opt out of the production. But of course I didn’t.

I’ve done amazing things before. Like cough out a 3,000-word essay discussing the sanity of Jean-Paul Sartre in one night. And after performing amazing feats like that, I can never remember how they happened. They just did.

Humans are apparently capable of more than is apparent. So I’m always accepting projects beyond my apparent capability, hoping that my proverbial muse will possess me in the nick of time and do all the work and save my sorry skin.

So it was with this mindset that I accepted this scary project. It’s not every day I get a chance to perform in a theatre production. If I pass up this opportunity, I might as well make a quick phone call now and have myself measured for a nice Brazilian rosewood coffin.

After that, I stressed over it every chance I got. I mentally brainstormed ideas while jogging, I scribbled thoughts while commuting on the MRT, I emo-ed to the Goonfather on a daily basis about how stressed I was.

One month later, I finally completed my first draft.

Relief. Mixed with a bit of shame over how long it took me.

But you can’t imagine the relief.

I went for my first rehearsal today. It was part script discussion and reading, part acting training to work on areas I’m weak at.

My mentor-director gave me a lot of food for thought, a lot of ideas. I wish he could rewrite the script for me because he has all the tools and experience and know-how. But it’s my challenge and my responsibility so it seems he can’t do that.

Before today, I was really pleased with my script. But it’s like that. When you’re elated over completing a gargantuan task, it will always look like a pot of gold to you at the moment.

Now I think my script is junk because there were so many things I didn’t consider and so many ways in which it can be improved. Ok, it’s not totally junk. It has some good points but it’s not good enough to work, on the whole.

So, back to the stressing board. I mean drawing board. Writing board. Whatever.

I’m going batty nuts psycho because the performance is two weeks from now.

Hahahahahaa! (psychotic laughter)

Now would be a really good time to get hysterical for my muse to show up and perform a miracle. But the way things work, I think she will let me stew in my own sweat for a week first, and then jump in when I’m teetering over the edge of insanity from desperation and panic. Muses are like that. They like to screw with your mind. But I guess it’s better than if they don’t appear at all.

What the hell. I’m an actress but here I am stressing over being a playwright. Where is the justice?

Besides this project, I also concurrently have other projects and tasks to stress over. So I’m even stressing over which project to stress over first.

Can’t blame a girl for getting a bit psychotic.

Saturday morning idiot

I am such an idiot. I went for a shoot one day early.

  • I woke up at 6.50 am for the shoot, after only four hours of sleep.
  • I wasted a lot of petrol getting lost because the location’s in the stupidest town ever built in Singapore.
  • I tore out $3 worth of parking coupons.

All that for naught because when I showed up at the location, NO ONE WAS THERE.

I was about to make a phone call when something made me whip out my callsheet to have another look. It said 26 August. I remember tearing out 25 August on the parking coupons.

So, I kinda gaped stupidly for a while as my mind went blank and my eyes widened into a sleepy stoned stare.

I checked my callsheet again. 26 August. Checked my organiser. I had marked the shoot for 26 August in my organiser. Checked my phone for today’s date. 25 August.

I must be going senile.

I think it’s a combination of several factors that made my brain cross-wire.

  • Too many shoots/jobs happening concurrently these two months.
  • Too many last minute date and time changes for shoots, jobs and appointments.
  • Stress resulting from my computer conking out two days ago.
  • Desire to have this 4-month-long shoot over and done with.
  • Last minute audition call.

After realising that I had turned up on the wrong day, I went back to my car and sat in there for 10 minutes, trying to figure out how I could have done this incomprehensibly moronic thing.

I’ve known for a week that the shoot was on Sunday but my mind kept telling me Saturday. I even went into a panic yesterday because I thought I only had yesterday left to finish learning my lines.

Early this week, I had even mentally mapped out my weekend.

Saturday: Collect runners’ kit for Run For Hope race, then go check out Odex burning event.
Sunday: Go for shoot.

But, yesterday, three things happened.

  • I received an e-mail informing me that the shoot time has changed from 1 pm to 9 am. (But in all such correspondence, only the date and not the day is mentioned, and I’m not very good with numbers, usually.)
  • I received an e-mail informing me that the runners’ kit collection is postponed to next week.
  • I received a phone call asking me to attend an audition on Saturday.

I think my brain cross-wired everything and elevated my shoot to Saturday because a void was created by the postponement of the kit collection. And the audition call came in and confused everything.

I need to get a new computer and clean up my desk.

All this clutter and dysfunction is shorting my brain.

Maybe I need a new brain, too.


Look ma, no hands! And no feet!

Today was another one of those days I live for.

Today, I was a fairy.

Today, I flew.

Honestly, I’ve never really thought of myself as a fairy kind of person, being a klutz and all. And, to the best of my memory, I don’t think I’ve ever played a fairy. The closest was when I played Ariel in a college production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. But I was more like a mischievous pixie than a fairy in that performance.

Nevertheless, the director cast me because he thought I look like a fairy, so I did my best to look like one.

I know. Fairies don’t clasp their hands like that. But I don’t have a lot of experience being dainty and graceful. So at that point of time, I felt a little lost.

The makeup artist said I look like a Taiwanese starlet in this picture. Hmm.

Must be the fake dolly eyelashes.

Never mind that, though. The highlight of the day was the flying. See how I am suspended in air in the first picture? I’m a little sad they didn’t get a photo of me all the way up at the ceiling. Maybe everyone was too busy looking up my dress to think about taking a photo.

Kidding! No, really. Everyone was really professional and there was nothing to look up at anyway because I was totally covered up in safety devices.

The first time I got pulled up was a little freaky. I have mild acrophobia. But I got over it really quickly, like within 10 seconds, because it was really fun. I could have done it all day.

We were filming a sequence for a short Chingay 2006 animated video clip. Yeah, it’s mostly animation but I will be making an appearance in the beginning of it.

Because it’s an animation, I will get CG wings and fairy dust! Coolness or not?!

Everyone thought I would be really tired after a few hours of “flying” but I wasn’t. After the shoot, I told the director I wanted to do it again.

I meant in the future. Like, you know, give me more action, stunt-packed roles. I will do my own stunts!