Taking on an ugly role

For a limited time only, come and watch Sheylara in an ugly role!

I’m performing in this 10-minute play called Rats, in which I’m an ugly rat.

Sort of.

I’ll be dressed kind of like a three-way cross between an old spinster, a dominatrix and a rat (if there’s such a thing as a three-way cross, which I believe not, but which is also beside the point).

I haven’t tried on the full costume but I can imagine I’m going to be a frightful sight.

The character I’m playing is also the most un-me character I’ve ever played. I shock myself during rehearsals. I’m, like, “Where the hell did that come from?”

I know acting is about not being yourself. But in most roles to date, I’ve always been able to find something in each character that I can identify with, in order to play it with some truth.

But this role really stumped me and it took me quite a while to wrap myself around it.

Nevertheless, it’s a freaking fun role and I’m enjoying the hell out of it, even if it makes me look ugly.

Here’s a rehearsal photo:

[It didn't work, no matter how many times they tried]

(I’m the one in the middle, in orange, in case you can’t recognise me.)

We’re not in costume, of course. And I was wearing my kunoichi hair because I had a Ninja Gaiden II press visit to attend right after this rehearsal.

Here’s another picture:

[The library fine was too overdue to be overlooked]

I have a zillion ugly expressions in this play.

You can probably tell that it’s a comedy.

An amazingly obnoxious comedy at that.

I bet you want to watch it!!

I’ll be performing at NAFA (Campus 3) nightly from June 5 till June 8 (with one additional matinee performance on June 8), as part of the Short+Sweet festival.

Buy your tickets here!!

Be forewarned that my play is only 10 minutes long, so don’t say I cheat you! If you buy a ticket, you’ll be getting 10 10-minute plays, totalling two hours including a break.

Come and support me! Limited time only! ;)

[Smile and everlasting smile, etc]

By the way, I’ll be a Funan today (12-2pm and 4-6pm) making my last appearances as a kunoichi.

I’m gonna be a rat

I accepted an acting job despite being insanely busy.

I did that because it’s a theatre performance and I don’t get many of those and the script is funny and the director is great AND I get to play a rat.

Well, it’s only a 10-minute play, but one has to start somewhere.

[We tried to take his photo surreptitiously]
Random archived photo

I don’t know how I’m going to manage!!!

And the Goonfather said he wants to buy me Age of Conan. Where got time to play! I’m worried it will be like Pirates of the Burning Sea. We spent more than $100 each just to play the game for only a month.

Life is now literally a rollercoaster. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so rollercoastery.

Oh, yes, you can buy tickets to watch me. It’s happening at the Short+Sweet Singapore 2008 festival, during which 10 plays (each running 10 minutes) will be performed each night.

[This is apparently the official Short+Sweet image]

My show will be on nightly from June 5 till June 8. You can call 6332 6919 or e-mail tickets@toph.com.sg to buy tickets.


Totally packed this week. And the next. And the next.



It’s evident that I’ve really gone crazy since I seldom rave like a looney on my blog.

Oh, I’m tired of posting photos of myself, so here’s a random non-me photo.

[Sheylara and the Goonfather]

Is me and the Goonfather! Hahahaha.

Anyone recognise where these dolls come from?

I worked in a haunted bar

So, I just found out that the “theatre” we’d been working in is haunted.

Our stage manager, who is apparently “sensitive” to spirits, can see them. Throughout the five days we were at the Q Bar, she saw a mother and daughter spirit always sitting or standing in a corner.

The Q Bar was one of our performance spaces and acted as our base where we met and put our stuff, so we spent a lot of time in there.

There’s also another female ghost residing outside the bar.

The security guards around the Arts House confirm that this is true.

We had a post mortem meeting today and all this was revealed after the meeting. We learned that there were times some of us even walked through the ghosts or sat on them.


There were some moments I was alone in the Q Bar late at night.

But nothing happened to us in the five days we were there and our show went well without major hiccups so, if there were spirits, they must be benevolent.

But I think Sean (designer) was a little disturbed when he heard that there was a moment when he walked right through the skirt of the woman spirit, who was just floating in mid air.

Bendini (The Fun Stage) exploded into dramatic hysteria. “Why must they float around and scare people?? Why can’t they just behave normally??!!?!?!?”

Timothy (publicist) burst out laughing at that, but that’s Timothy.

We learnt that ghosts look just like us except that they have a translucent quality and they pretty much just go about doing whatever it is they do.

“Well, what is it they do?” I asked.

No one could tell me.

“When they’re walking along Orchard Road, do they go shopping?” Bendini wanted to know.

“Of course not!” said Richard (Little Red Shop).

I think ghosts (if they really exist) are misunderstood. Maybe most of them are harmless (I’m not saying all are). It’s the media that makes them into horrible, scary beings that eat people or whatever.

But I wonder. Do they have a purpose when roaming the earth? They allegedly can’t interact with objects in our plane and I haven’t heard any reports of them having their own objects. So what do they do? Aren’t they bored being restricted to sitting, walking and floating, maybe for eternity?

I would be. No computer games, no DS Lite, no camwhoring, no blogging, no going to parties, no reading books, no acting in plays and accidentally sitting on ghosts.

What a horrible existence.

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.

Shakespeare coming out my ears

So, Stress Week is over and it’s now Feel Empty Week.

Especially since I pulled out all the stops to prepare for last Saturday’s Shakespeare audition.

I spent a day reading all the possible Shakespeare monologues to pick out my audition pieces, went online and sought advice from theatre practitioners, paid the National Library $21 so I could borrow Shakespeare videos to watch, borrowed books on performing Shakespeare to read and spent an entire week reading nothing but Shakespeare-related material, spent $203 to attend a Shakespeare workshop, refined my performance by taping and watching myself and slowly ironing out the kinks day by day.

One reason I put in so much effort for this audition was that I didn’t want to make a fool of myself since I’m quite new to theatre and I’ve forgotten how to play Shakespeare.

The other reason was that I wanted very much to get a part in the play. But I didn’t have any grand illusions that I would actually get anything. The main thing was still that I did not make a fool of myself and waste the auditioners’ time.

I don’t think I did very well at the audition but at least I don’t think my performance was cringe-worthy, either.

Half of me is very pleased with myself for having surmounted this intimidating task of taking my first step into the “elitist” realm of theatre. The other half of me is very disappointed that I didn’t impress the director enough. They didn’t call me back for the second round of auditions which was held yesterday.

Thus the feeling of emptiness. After putting in so much effort, nothing.

But I’m not saying I wasted my time or anything like that. Whatever hard work I did in the past week, I did also as preparation for future auditions to come. I’m just disappointed because it’s a play I really love and it would be swell to be a part of it.

Well, one good thing that came out of this is I got some nice photographs. I had to submit a recent photo for the audition so my friend, Danon, gave me an emergency photoshoot. His Workaholicness was kind enough to squeeze out a few hours of his precious time to shoot me.

Here’s one from the series. More later.