Monday, February 28, 2011

My self evaluation

I have been pondering over what I have been doing and how I have handled myself over the drama period, and also longer. I have been trying to put into words the things I feel and the impressions I have. It is a struggle even now, to actually put them into words. I have been busy and just cannot find the time to think of appropriate words. I have also been unfocused on the task at hand, hence the struggle. Anyhow, I shall attempt ....
I think that over the 6-7 weeks preceding SHORTS!, I have been focused on too many things and was unable to actually do a good job monitoring the girls. I was everywhere doing multiple tasks. I was trying to do too many things and I was not able to delegate. I was afraid to get my girls to do some things because I did not trust them, or it was something I had to do myself. In addition, I was also a little slow at monitoring certain things which should have been monitored earlier.
Take for example, the scripts : I should have made all the necessary changes earlier, overruled the girls if necessary. I should have read through all the scripts WITH the girls and made all the changes with allowance for improvisation way beforehand. Instead we saw many things we could not do only during the final week and it was a struggle for the girls to change their lines and reorganise themselves. I mean, I did look and I did ask for changes to be made. In fact Naukar's script was changed several times. Perhaps I should have made those changes myself, and that would have saved us a lot of time. BUT THEN, I thought, this was THEIR production. I could ask for changes to be made and all, but THEY had to make those changes themselves. And so I took a back seat for a while, where the scripts were concerned. But I should have intervened earlier. I realise that now.
The designs of graphics for tickets and posters and banners : I should have got that settled earlier. Work started very early. Thanks to Anna and Hayani actually. But the designs were not to my satisfaction and they had to rework on that. And we finally got the designs out only end of January. That was unnecessary stress for me and for the both of them. Perhaps we should have had more "meetings" to finalise the designs. I am not an artsy kind of person and I could not tell them what I wanted. But we could have done this earlier.
Practices : I was extremely upset with the girls' attitude towards practices. Many of them only turned up about 70% or less. That's before the week of intensive practices. I was disappointed but I thought I could let the director and her assistant handle that. I realise now I could not. If I had intervened, perhaps practices would have been better. Perhaps. But I know for sure I would not have been so worried 3 days before performance.
Basically what I have learned is just this : I took a slightly laid-back attitude when handling the girls. That was a major shortcoming. I usually am a control freak. But this time, I did not try to control, and paid the price with so much worrying going on, and lots of tasks to do that took me away from the practices. I did not have as much time to watch them practising, and I did not have much time to enjoy the performances as I was still multi-tasking. I should have asked for help, earlier. I did not, not wanting to trouble some friends. But I should have known better. These friends would not have minded. They would have lent their helping hands and allowed me to pick their brains as well.
Yes, I have lots of shortcomings. I will not be ashamed to admit it. I will learn from it and I will do a better job next time, if there is a next time.
On a high note, I am glad I have such wonderful friends. THANKS A BILLION KAZILLION, SIB & PUT! They have helped with so many things. They enabled the production to succeed. These friends are not just my buddies, they are my extra hands, extra feet, extra eyes and ears, extra brains. I am eternally grateful for them. I also wish to thank Sara, my "temporary PA" for availing herself to me, to the project. She kept me sane for a bit and accompanied me here and there.
In short, I am not satisfied with what I have done. I could have done a lot better. I also function better backstage, and in the background, not so much on the stage, or directing. But I can learn. I have got good teachers.

No inspiration yet

I know someone is waiting for me to do the Part 2 ... my self evaluation. Be patient my dear. I am waiting for the inspiration to write a proper one. Trying to find the words and the expressions. I am just not ready. I promise, it'll be worth the wait.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Naukar clips on youtube

These are the two clips I managed to upload on youtube :

Clip 1
Clip 2

Self-evaluation coming up next.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I have discovered about my girls from SHORTS!

I asked my girls to think about what they have learned - from the production of SHORTS as well as about themselves. Verbally they have told me quite a few things. They are now putting words onto paper slowly. But what HAVE I learned about myself and about them? I'll start with them. In no particular order :

  • Anna - She is a very pretty girl who has managed to transform into a rather handsome-looking man. She is committed to her work. She is responsible and orderly. She has a wicked sense of humour. She is talented but unfortunately, she doesn't see that. She has passion for the things she does. She is very grounded .... realistic. She follows instructions well but she can also be a leader, given the chance. On a personal note, I think she made a fantastic Nilkant. She did what I would have had trouble doing - look into Julia's eyes and see her as a wife.
  • Nadiah - She is a quietly capable person. No one thought she could really do it, but she was just the right person to be Julia. She brought a quiet dignity to the character and she is serious about the tasks at hand. I can see that she puts in a lot of heart into the things she does. I am glad to say she more than lived up to expectations. She is someone we can count on, even if she does not believe it herself.
  • Shuhadah - This is one very likeable girl. She is a jack of all trades and ends up doing multiple tasks a lot of the times. I am glad she has been so reliable. I did not think she was stage acting material but she has proven me wrong. She did a fantastic job as Ramli. She struggled with various things along the way. But she did not disappoint. I have known her since she was in Form 1. I have never had a bad thing to say about her. Perhaps she is too nice. Very accommodating most of the time. She does not project an image of being someone exceptional, but she is that, in a way. No one else is like her in that sense.
  • Eva - This is another reliable girl. She is a late bloomer. She takes on a lot of responsibilities and she doesn't even know it. I am pleased to see her taking charge of certain responsibilities. I only wish she had known how to get help from others. She was swamped with lots of work. Working off stage is something she can do very well. But she can also act, in spite of what she says about stage fright. When she stood in for some people who were absent, she did exceptionally well. Except for the way she talks. But then that is something she just has to work on for herself.
  • Noddy - She is very talented. She surprised me. I wish she had shown her talent earlier and let us cast her as someone else. But she played her role to a T. She was the perfect person for that role. She learned fast and followed instructions well, and she could improvise. She is naturally talented, even if no one else sees it, esp her family members. She is also someone who has got her head very tightly screwed on.
  • Emma - She is a level-headed person. Most of the time. She does the things she needs to do. She has focus. She takes rejection well too, doesn't throw a tantrum over things. Reliable and generally disciplined. She has talent but needs some guidance. She can improvise too, as long as she sees the opportunity to do so.
  • Ruth - She surprised me. I did not see her as an actress but she was the perfect Mrs Koh. She played her role very well and took a lot of liberty to reinterpret the character. She is also someone I relied on very much as she is meticulous about things. She is one person I am pleased to see blooming into someone other than what I see every day.
  • Hayani - She was always the one chosen to be the landlady. She has that creepy, sinister look about her when she chooses to show it. But deep down she is a sweet girl who just has a lot in her cup. She seems like a playful person - which she is - but she is also very conscientious when it comes to work that she is passionate about. She bugged me countless times about hanging up posters, and she went with me to get the wigs, etc. She has a good sense of judgement when necessary. She has a maturity that is borne out of necessity. She played her role exceptionally well and is probably the favourite actress and character in the entire production.
  • Mandy - She is Mandy, someone who is in a world of her own very often. She seems oblivious to the happenings around her most of the time. Give her tasks and she will snap out of her own world. She shows focus when needed. She is a late bloomer too. Perhaps her personal life is too confusing for her. As Mr Koh, she was all right. The role is not a demanding one and she happily played second fiddle to Mrs Koh.
  • Phoenix - She is a girly girl. No two ways about it. But she has to be Billy Weaver. That was a challenge. I had problems with her pertaining to practices. But that ironed out eventually, though not as well as I had hoped. Still, she is a talented girl. She is keen on the tasks at hand. She sometimes lacks focus but she can be brought back to the immediate task. I have known her for over 3 years. I am still learning about her. As Billy, she did a good job. She could improvise and she could play the role with less girliness.
  • Izzy - My issues with her for a while was practices. But this is a talented girl. She did a good job as Nathan. Getting her to use Indian accent was easier than thought. She is a natural on stage. To me, she is someone who has a lot of talents. Problem is she is doing so many things at one time she sometimes loses focus. But then she is not the only one.
  • Elisha - She is good with backstage work. She can be orderly but it took her quite a while to get there. She has a system when doing things but she needs a bit of push. Here general attitude towards work and being given tasks is very positive. She does not take thing personally when ticked off. She needs to learn to delegate too as she ended up doing quite a fair bit by herself.
  • Ghythri - I was very upset with her as she was the Asst Director and she was NOT pulling her weight at all during the early part of practices. She was constantly absent because of Interact. On one hand I understood that, but on the other hand, I was disappointed and upset. Deep inside I knew she could do a good job. But she was not giving much of herself. She was being spread too thin doing all sorts of things. She did do a good job when it mattered.
  • Ain - She was initially slotted to be the rickshaw wallah. But she was away when we needed her and she was replaced. So she became the person in charge of the lights. Things were rather messy at times but she managed to keep cool. I have learned that she is generally not the excitable kind, so a job which requires a cool head might just be right.
  • Emily - She went on a journey with us, dropped out and came back on track. She was not allowed to be with us during the night show. I was immensely annoyed. But there was nothing we could do. Her mother has to learn that this daughter needs to be released to do work when called. One day she will see that. I sympathised with Emily but things just did not work out as hoped. And because she was not there, things got rather messy with the lights at one point.
  • Azalea - She is a much-loved daughter. She is also very protected and sheltered. Having said that, she is also a very smart person and she has a very wide world-view on things. In the production, she did not come forth as someone who could contribute much, to my disappointment. She should have taken a more active role in the production. It was unfortunate that she was not around a lot.
  • Kalpana - As director, she did not pull her weight enough. She was just cool about anything and everything. I blasted her. She pulled up her socks somewhat. It was only during the last 3 days that we saw her actually doing directing work seriously. Before that, she just watched and commented, and that was not helpful. To me, she has not reached her full potential. She needs to get over that "superior" feeling she seems to exude around others. If she is to be taken seriously, she has to buck up and take control of the things she has to do. Saying "But what am I supposed to do" does not cut it if she is to be taken seriously as a leader. She has plenty of room to grow and learn. I had hoped last year's incident had woken her, but apparently it had not affected her that much. I am afraid that it might take something more drastic to shake her up and make her sit up and take stock of where she is going.
  • Nik - She was a replacement for the rickshaw wallah. She did a good job although she did not believe she could do it. She tried hard and she listened to instructions. She eventually slipped into the role more easily. Kudos to her for taking up the challenge.
  • Farah - She is another one who lacked focus. She knew how upset I was with her for not being there when she was supposed to be there. I think she is dropping Lit. Sad.
  • Shahirah - Another one dropping Lit. And she disappointed me too. But she did eventually do a relatively good job with sound.
  • Helinna - Dropped Lit. She did a good job as Ms Chee. She started out like a puppet, doing only what was told. But she eventually slipped into the role quite well.
I think I have covered all of them. Briefly, that was what I observed, what I felt. I stand corrected if I am wrong. My next post will be about what I have learned about myself. Give me time.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Since school started in January, it has been non-stop work and activities. I really thought I was going to collapse with exhaustion, mainly mentally and emotionally, and of course, physically. The one thing that had been occupying my time and my brain, really, was the production of SHORTS! My Lit students and I had planned from last year that we would put up a performance consisting of adaptations of 3 short stories. It was not going to be easy nor was it going to be a smooth-sailing process.
We had to change our date for the performance several times. We also had to look at other factors like the school calendar, and the CNY season. It was tough. But last Saturday, 19th Feb 2011, we managed to put up a relatively good show. I am proud of the effort put in, and the result of the effort. Am I happy with EVERYTHING? No, but then, I could not expect something perfect when we had so many problems and obstacles that we had to go through. So, I am pleased that we were able to still do a good job. I don't know about my students, if they learned something other than the stories. I hope they learned something more valuable than that - working together towards one common aim, being patient with one another, helping one another, listening to instructions, improvising, all of which are life lessons.
The play is over. We have to carry on with life, and with other lessons to come. There will be new"adventures" and experiences to go through. A friend asked if I;d do it all again (in spite of the screamings and scoldings and pressure etc). I hardly hesitated. It was a resounding YES. Am I a glutton for punishment? Maybe. But another buddy actually said, if I were to do it all again, I should ask her to help, again. So ... what reason do I have for not doing it again?

The cast and crew and helpers. Even Caleb and Vong!!!

The cast and crew after the matinee

(Photos courtesy of Catherine Yee)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3 days to go

I am fast approaching the day the Lit girls will be putting up SHORTS! I am nervous and I am living in fear and trepidation about what will or might happen on that day. I am worried for the whole production. I am nervous about things which might go wrong. I am worried about practices. I am honestly so worried that I am not sleeping well. I feel the weight of the whole production on my shoulders. A few more minutes to midnight and Wednesday. Then Thursday and Friday. The Saturday morning will quickly approach.
Lord, please give me strength and will power to go on till then.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I have been extremely lazy to blog. Too many things occupying my mind and time. I have been busy with :
  • organising my drama production for the Literature group. This is a mega project for me as it was with my friend last year. Practices are on-going. Finances are being organised and allocated. Publicity is ok, going to be putting up posters and flyers. Banners too.
  • getting a new team for D*starz. Although I have not been showing my face that much at practices and audition, I have been working on the background, getting things organised for the setting up of the new team. This has also been time and energy sapping as the club will be more active and play a more important role.
  • getting used to a new administration at work. Lots of things to get used to. More expectations on the staff and it is stressful. I will have to learn to put in more time for work and to be more disciplined.
  • CNY. It doesn't feel very much like the CNY as I have been so distracted by work and everything else. Thankfully I have managed to buy CNY clothes as well as the usual things that we end up bringing to visit relatives. Very often I have put myself last in buying things and this year has not been any different. I bought my things 2 days before CNY and I am glad I managed to get the clothes.
  • trying to see how to manage time for Jonathan. Now that he is in Year 4, he will be expected to attend co-curricular activities and I have to find a way to make sure he has transport.
It's only February and I am already feeling out of sorts. Too many things happening in the last 5 weeks. I am going to need all the strength I need to go through the next 2 weeks, especially. I am just thankful that I have very helpful and wonderful friends who are assisting me in some of the work I need done. Love you gals.