Saturday, December 25, 2004

my solo performances experience

my great mentor sent me this,

"how to draw the line between the literal and the metaphorical? how to "suggest" to the viewers of your art without knocking them over the head with the "meaning" of your art? how to create a work of beauty and at the same time not completely hide the mechanics that produce that beauty? how to say something without saying anything?"

'discovering love' was a piece i created that deals with love and sex. it got many great compliments and constructive feedbacks from T, B, S, MT, CE and KM. a shout out from a urm...@#$%^&. working from the allurement, allurement in there, down there. where. :-) i was ready to tell the world about it, but i didn't tell in a straightforward way that i'm a urm...@#$%^&. that's the power of theatre. yes, from above, 'how to "suggest"...a line between the literal and metaphorical...say something without saying anything'. i did it. and i kinda 'slowed down' in my process, to be together with others. hehehehe... i was still the odd one out, but i didn't wanna be that ODD. i learned (more) that shapes, pictures, movements, gestures, sounds, tempo, and objects could mean so much. it's really a 'dance and sound theatre' kind of solo performance for me...and i used 3 actors/crewmembers in it as well. i felt embarrased and proud, but that's only in character (of being myself). me but not me. hahahaha...

'life stages' was a piece i created in stages - poetry, piano work, shapes and choreograph. the process wasn't very consistent but i managed to pull through and came up with something great. things just fell right into places. lucky me or smart me or creative me. hehehehe... iniitally, i wanted to learn more about the sophisticated audio/sound editting software from the 'pro', CA but time didn't permit. in the end, i used what i had and made the best out of it - viewcam to record my piano works, transferring it into the computer and make a VCD out of it, and finally video-edit to get the sound clips i wanted. it worked. not to the best sound quality but that's all i could do...with my limited resources. butterfly chair was a great breakthrough to bring the work to another level (visually). of course, butterfly has to overcome some stages before it could be an amazing and beautiful creature - cocoon. it's a struggle in the cocoon. similarly, i have to deal with life i could soar high, be beautiful and unique and strong. with my own effort (so, i didn't use any actors/helpers on stage). there's steps where i used (metaphorically) the shift gears. at the almost end of the process, i thought of myself, my name...and that's ONG that could be seen as a shift gear (in chinese character). it's a piece about, it clicked - i used it as my ground plan. you can play alot with an empty stage! and then i have a nice top, which has 'wings' and i transformed myself into butterfly (putting on my 'wings') in the cocoon (the chair...a huge cloth over it...the chair without the seat canvas...percussion tubes of C, D, F, and G tapped to the sides). i used only 4 elements, because it's about family, friends, career/studies and love in surviving life, life stages and how these elements incorporate themselves in dealing with need and desire. hence, only 4 notes - C, D, F and G. cocooning myself with a cool idea of pulling the string from my neck (that looked awesome!) and then 'struggled' myself through - minimal movements. learned that in N's butoh workshop. ;-) the hardest part of performing this would be saying the lines and keeping the tempo and rhythm of my tubes. that's HARD! i was working my left and right brain at the same time! gee!

i was so relieved everything was over! the semester was over. performing these was the final of my finals. not that i have many finals....just crammed for my theatre history and rehearsing/shaping these solo performances! ;-)

a great piece of work has to have depth, multilayers and true (to the performer). comparing from my previous solo performances, now i've incorporated the multilayers. wow! multilayers! my final year project in my physics degree was about (more of less) multilayers - 'the effect of giant magnetoresistance on granular thin films'. of course, i researched on granular and multilayer thin films. ;-) what a coincidence!

my TOS experience

it's been more than a month ago since 'the other shore' (TOS) ended. of course, i have been wanting to blog but i was so filled with the ermm...depression and emptiness and disappointment that i didn't. and then on top of that, i shifted my attention and focused on my solo performances, assignments, research paper and exam.

in TOS, i've overcame and grown as a person, an artist and a student. in that course of time, i've played many roles...and not just in the show. i tried my best to grit my teeth and endure the hardship, to 'swallow' everything that's nasty and harsh - to perform my best, to bring out my fullest ability and character. yes...stress can shape one's character. to be able to endure the stress and become the brightest diamond, the sharpest sword. did i throw a tantrum in that period? lemme think...i don't think so, i'm a very internal person and i chose other channel to let myself out. luckily i have the drum ;-) and the badminton ;-) to @#$^! in my work. hehehe... of course, to find the balance, the center was important, and still is very important. NMHRG!

i was hoping to be chosen as a one of the three nominees for irene acting award for KCACTF but then i was crushed. so crushed that i didn't get chosen. ok, so i'm not the greatest 3 actors. again and again i asked myself why. why me, why not me. perhaps i shone, as a musician more than as an actor. and perhaps, to be specific, american actor. good but not good enough. it didn't take me long to overcome this (fell down, stand up again). i figured i've other works to do. i figured i need to shine more in my other solo performances.

at the closing night of TOS, it was like a celebration for the cast - the end! hahaha... i was so tempted to 'let go my boundary' and get crazy and wild with the gals, but i didn't. yes! i'm strong! not to be swayed by current 'devillish' circumstances. i was attacked by boobies! hahahaha... i love it! i showed that i loathed it but i loved it! the ladies knew that...they presented me the 'boobs lover' award. hhmmmm...i miss those days. those dressing room moments. i've grown closer to some of the ladies...i like the chats...but now, after everything's over - we're kinda like drifting apart. i don't like this. relationship needs constant working on - i'm aware... time didn't permit the get together again. studies... end of the semester... winter! urgh!

i was so happy when SZ called to informed about the production being chosen to participate in the KCACTF. i pushed everything away to make it to the festival. i was ecstatic about it. so excited. and i really felt it's not fair that we all couldn't go just because a few couldn't make it. after a few days, that strong feeling was 'washed away'. we're a team. i was just being childish. it's very complex to bring the show too. oh least we're recognized (by a few...).

it's finally over and i wouldn't be seeing S. i missed those opportunities. but then, should i be so daring and straight forward? obviously i was being too much. but it's happened. i've done it. said it. back to my solo, back to soul-search, back to my values, back to my self-worth, back to my background...i said it myself over and over again - 'love that is worth the wait'. i should stick to my values and belief system. not many people noticed the diamond. i revealed myself and that person just didn't pick it up. i've nothing to say... why would i make myself so cheap? i'm so much worth it. yes, live a poetic life...

for pictures of the production, see
look for 'the other shore'. i was the actor behind the dogmasked (playing dogskin plaster seller), the drumming monk and one of the mannequins.

i love TOS. i felt so priviledged to be the only chinese in a chinese play (trans. into english). i really truly miss it... i worked with a great cast, great director and great crewmembers. 'tears flowed in my heart'.