This years marks the 2nd time wifey & I took part in Short+Sweet Musical as a team. Last year we decided to explore other areas of interest instead of collaborating. This year, instead of just writing together, I also pulled her in to help me direct a musical too.
I was given 5 scripts to choose and I am glad that I got my first choice "A WOMAN AT WAR" by Mark Sasse. As a first time director my immediate challenge was to get my cast. After finally sorted out the leads, I faced a bigger challenge of assembling a band to play the music. While Mark & Laura Danneker(co-composer) had provided me with a minus one, I didn't think the recorded music would fit into my vision for the musical. I am also a firm believer in live music for musicals. Thankfully, 2 weeks into my rehearsal with the actors I managed to get a pianist from church and slowly my band was formed - 2 teenagers from my current church and 2 guys from my Penang church. I also decided to cast an ensemble of 6 people to support the leads.
The idea of writing a sperm musical, believe it or not, came during Short+Sweet Musical 2013, in the green room. I wanted to see how many performers we can put on stage so I'd figured with a sperm musical, the possibilities would be endless. So I presented the idea to wifey and together we slowly developed the story. While we wanted to stretch the story as much as we could, we also wanted the story to be as scientifically accurate as possible. So after much research and discussion, we decided to settled for the contraceptives as antagonists.
We also approached our friends Ross & Shen to be the director and musical director respectively.
So we were slotted into S+S Musical Week 1 and thankfully, both musicals made it to Gala Night which just ended a few hours ago.
How did we fare?
Karynn & I won the Festival Director's Award while 300 Million: The Reconceptualization of a Conception won the Audience Choice & Best Overall Production Awards. As much as I am proud to win, I am even prouder of the team who performed on stage, both the cast of A Woman At War & 300 Million. I did not participate with the hope to win - I just want to showcase my work and explore what I can do in the arts.
Words cannot describe the joy I had when I first watch both musicals come to life during the full dress rehearsal last week. I was so satisfied with the work the teams have put in and I can still remember the pride I had after the rehearsal ended. For A Woman At War, the pride to see how the actors have grown over the last 2 months was enough for me. For 300 million, it was the pleasant surprise of how the puns and lines were delivered with great comedic timing.
As we leave S+S Musical with wonderful memories, here are a few people I want to thank:
1. First & foremost, God for sending me people along my path to help me learn and grow.
2. Wifey for always bringing the best out of me. Somehow whenever we collaborate, we've always managed to come up with some crazy fun stuff. Let's make more babies on stage!
3. Alex Chua & Nicole-Ann Thomas for the guidance you have given me as a performer. I try to apply what I have learned from you and I hope I have made you proud. Thank you for your feedback Alex, and Nicole, hope to get yours soon.
4. BB for your lighting suggestion. Looks good:) *correction: IT LOOKED GREAT!!
5. Nick Choo, for being Nick Choo. I am not sure if people actually realize how generous you are. Thank you for taking your time to meet us & to offer your advice on 300 million. You are, in my opinion, the Godfather of S+S Musical. Wifey has learnt much from you at the 2011 S+S Musical workshop and I have learnt much through her as well. I do hope you will continue to take part in future S+S Musical and allow us the privilege of enjoying your wonderful work. Nick Choo doesn't need S+S Musical; S+S Musical needs Nick Choo.
6. Mark Sasse & Laura Danneker for trusting us with your work. I know it can be a scary thought to surrender your work to a complete stranger. You are braver than us because we approached our friend to direct. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and it has been a pleasure directing A Woman At War.
7. Ross & Shen for the work you have put into 300 million. We love it the moment we saw it last week. You have made both wifey & me proud of our work.
8. Cast of A Woman At War & 300 Million. Every night you had me cheering for you and I couldn't be happier with your final performance.
9. Joe, Faridah, Soo, Lawrence, April, Boy, Ariff & other staff for your support and for giving us the platform to explore.
So what is next?
I will be directing in S+S Theatre and I hope we'll do well. We have about 2 weeks to start blocking and get our act together. As for next year, wifey & I have decided that we will split again, before we reunite for Short+Sweet Musical 2016.
Because it's not about the competition. It's about the arts.