I’m so busy I’m turning psychotic

And now, I’m going to recap my past two weeks, in case people don’t believe me when I tell them that I’ve been busy to the point of psychosis.

Starting with a party.

Nov 24 (Sat) — Drunken Guitar Heroes

I organised a party for my delinquent friends, luring them with Krispy Kreme donuts (all 3 dozen of ’em, courtesy of my favourite Hong Kong-based cousin who goes by the endearing moniker of Monster).

At the party, I made everyone play battle mode in Guitar Hero 3. The loser of each battle had to drink a shot from an unwanted bottle of raspberry vodka that had followed our group from party to party for two years because nobody ever wants to drink it.

We all ended up pretty drunk (because I made sure everyone took turns to play and lose) and had to crash at J&J’s place overnight. Was planning to blog about this (I have incriminating videos! Wahaa!) but haven’t had time to sort out the pics and vids yet.

Nov 25 (Sun) — Free And Easy (Not)

I say free and easy because I had no appointments. But free and easy is not as free and easy as it sounds. It just means I could stay home to nurse my hangover work on any number of things piling up on my metaphorical in-tray — advertorials, scripts, blogs, rehearsals.

Nov 26 (Mon) — New Project In The Works

Met up with some folks to discuss a video blogging project that was supposed to have started this week but got delayed due to technical setbacks. (Which was actually fortunate because I don’t know how I would have found the time to work on it otherwise.)

Nov 27 (Tue) — Playing Truant To Work

I skipped ABT (gym) class for the fifth consecutive week. Not because of laziness (as is usually the case) but because I’ve been so busy meeting deadlines that exercise has to wait.

Spent the day slaving over my script for 3 Men Meet 3 Women, instead, because I needed to cough it out, pronto.

Nov 28 (Wed) — Anti-Smoking Crusade

I’m acting in this anti-smoking play designed to persuade staff in the civil service to quit smoking. Yes, it’s an educational play but we try to make it funny so that it distracts our audience into forgetting to be annoyed by the messagy nature of the play.


(Rehearsal picture taken at Health Promotion Board auditorium)

We go to exciting places like airbases to perform. (Actually, it’s a pain to go to those places because of all the security procedures at entry and exit points.)

On this day, we had two shows to perform at two different locations, one of which was Tengah Airbase. I made a discovery there: If you park your car backside in, it will get towed away. An officer kindly alerted us to that fact when we made the mistake of parking our vehicle like normal Singaporeans do. But he didn’t want to explain why.

Nov 29 (Thu) — First Rehearsal

I had my first rehearsal for 3 Men Meet 3 Women, which I already blogged about.

Nov 30 (Fri) — Trying To Plug Holes

I was able to get properly psychotic today because I didn’t have any engagments. So I was forced to stay home and work on the damn script, which had just been shot full of holes from the previous day’s rehearsal. Spent all day stressing over plugging the holes. Didn’t make much progress because I was too panicky to concentrate properly.

Dec 1 (Sat) — Crying At Auditions And Laughing At Parties

I auditioned for a feature film and cried real tears when performing a monologue which I only had 10 minutes to prepare. It’s really liberating and fulfilling when that happens. Actually, I always find it easier to cry on fresh material than on prepared pieces. I don’t know if other actors are that way.

After my audition, I rushed to Morte’s birthday dinner. (Late again.) The plan was to surprise him with dinner and a birthday cake. But because Morte is an inquisitive dongo who likes to sneak up behind his wife and peek at her MSN conversations, which, during one inopportune night, involved secret birthday party plans, he already knew everything even before the day arrived.

After dinner, we came to my place for Drunken Guitar Heroes Part 2.

Don Juan de Porko (picture, left) showed us the alternative way to mash buttons. (Check out his left hand.)

The Goonfather commented on this photo: “F**king Stamford Raffles or guitar hero, siah??”

Well, I don’t know who or what The Goonfather himself was trying to be when he struck this pose (below).

But I do know it’s the best pose to strike if you’re in the mood for cramping both your arms before the song is done.

Dec 2 (Sun) — Meeting Ate My Social Time

A technical meeting was held to discuss – duh – technicalities and logistics for 3 Men Meet 3 Women.

I wanted to discuss my script with the director, producer and my partner, but there wasn’t enough time and I had to rush off to watch the Slingers. I even sacrificed half the basketball match by leaving the meeting later than I’d planned.

Dec 3 (Mon) — Mission Complete

Today was the ultimate do-or-die day. I absolutely had to rewrite a passable script even if it killed me. Countdown to performance: 11 days.

So I sat down and forced myself to keep working at it no matter how many times I got stuck. I would write one page, then get up to walk around my room complaining, “I’m stuck!” and pulling my hair out, then sit down again and write some more.

Using that method, I finally completed the script despite being horrendously tired from lack of sleep. I did-and-didn’t-die!

Dec 4 (Tue) — Happy Big Project

Met up with a bunch of happy people to talk about starting a new theatre/media group so we can create our own platforms to do the things we love to do. There are already several ideas we want to work on as soon as we have time. This is the way to live life, is it not!

Dec 5 (Wed) — Hobnobbing With Elites After A Long Day Of Work

I had a corporate photoshoot at Singapore Polytechnic. Not for SP but for Ministry of Manpower (related to my Promoting Singapore video). Photoshoots are generally boring because they don’t engage me actively, since I have to stay still in specific poses. Staying still too much makes me want to jump and dance and run around a football field yelling at the top of my voice. But photoshoots are easy jobs that pay well for minimal effort so I like them for that.

From the photoshoot, I had to rush to NYU Tisch Asia for a party. I was half an hour late. Then again, is there such a thing as “late for a party”?

Wasn’t really a party, actually. It was a mixer, the purpose of which was to allow potential future hotshot actors and potential future hotshot directors to network. Many of those potential future hotshot directors came up to me to say they recognised me from the two short films I had acted in for their coursemates, and to congratulate me for doing a really great job. I hope they were all genuine compliments.

Dec 6 (Thur) — Qiaoyun The Blogger, Qiaoyun The Model

Was invited to Samsung office, together with a small group of bloggers, to talk about blogging, new media, gadgets and yet another project, which I can’t reveal now. It was a fun meeting. Strangely, no one took any photos.

Right after that was a 3 Men Meet 3 Women rehearsal. We did hotseating today. In theatre terms, that means an actor gets into character and has to answer questions thrown at him by the director and/or other actors. All questions must be answered in character. It’s a cool way to explore a character deeper and to test how much an actor knows his role.

Throughout the hotseating, my director claimed, the way I physically sat screamed “Qiaoyun the model” instead of my character. Well, I sat the way I thought my character, a high society lady, would sit, like all proper and posey, you know?

Dec 7 (Fri) — OMG Reshoot

We had to reshoot an episode of Snap! (the kids drama now showing on Channel 8, Sundays, 10:30 am) because one episode was dropped for inappropriate content (which is subjective, in my opinion). So we had to shoot a new episode with a new script to replace the dropped one. My hair is now four inches longer than in the other episodes. I hope no one notices.

Today — No Rest For The Weary

Attended a Philips press event for bloggers (I’m really tickled and a little disconcerted that bloggers are more and more being recognised as an alternative for conventional press). I’m sure you’ll be reading about the event pretty soon from some popular blogs in the Singapore blogosphere. I can’t talk about it now because I have to rush off (yet again) for a rehearsal after posting this blog.

SEE I NEVER BLUFF YOU ALL.

I’m working on so many things at the same time that I don’t have time to tidy up my wardrobe, which is now looking like a tornado hit a clothing store and dumped its spoils into it.

I don’t have photos for many of the activities I mentioned above because all the rushing about saps my energy. I don’t have any strength left to even take my camera out. Haha. I mean, I do enjoy every meeting, every rehearsal and every project. But the fact that they’re all clamouring for my attention at the same time is killing me.

I’ve been rushing from one thing to another so much that it’s a wonder I can keep track of what’s going on.

When I bump into people recently and they ask, “How have you been?” I give a tired look and say “Busy.”

If they ask, “Busy with what?” I’m speechless because I don’t know how to start answering.

Next time someone asks again, I’m going to answer, “I’m so busy I’m turning psychotic” and then give them the link to this post.

Don’t worry, theatre is like that

Still working on the project that’s making me psychotic.

I worked through the night and finished drafting version two of my script at 4:20 am this morning. Now waiting for feedback and revisions.

The show is happening in 10 days and I’m in two minds about publicising a performance for which I don’t even have a working script.

My mentor-director said, “Don’t worry. Theatre is like that.” And he went on to talk about plateaus and breakthroughs. “It’ll happen,” he said. “Trust that I won’t allow your performance to be bad.”

Uh… ok.

I hope for my sake that his skill will overcompensate my cluelessness.

I won’t ask anyone to buy tickets to watch my show because I cannot conscientiously sell a product that technically doesn’t exist yet. (I’m morally uptight that way, which makes me really suck at sales pitches.)

But here’s the flyer, anyway.

I may not have a saleable product yet, but I’m not the only performer. It’s a three-in-one show, so even if mine sucks (although I’m working on it not sucking), there are still two others which are worth watching.

You can get a discount if you mention my name (Shen Qiaoyun) in the email when you order tickets. Not sure how much, though.

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.)

Ouch.

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.