I am The Shai.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Visible Waves

Closer to Your Heart

25th March 2006. I felt as if I was baring my soul to the world to see. Afterall, this was the first time my work would be seen by a different and possibly, a more critical audience. The nerves had gotten the best of me during the full dress run, so, I wasn't as nervous come showtime.
We all came early to prepare ourselves for both the tech and final dress run. Once those were over, 8pm was a mere hour away.

I got changed into my formal wear, ready to welcome the crowd. Familiar faces as well as newfound friends came to support. The mood was at an all time high. What was I doing at front-of-house you ask? Well, this was the first time when I was actually seated in the audience to watch my work.

Soon enough it was showtime and Moon People stepped up to the plate. At that moment, I felt that being the more polished one of the two, Moon People was gonna make Closer to Your Heart forgettable. Their run ended. I visited my cast backstage during the interval and gave them a final head up and then I stepped back into the audience.

The lights finally went down and Closer to Your Heart took to the stage. And for the next 45 minutes, my cast left me astounded. I had only asked them for their 100% energy and they gave me more than that. Golly gees. I was so drawn into the performance forgetting at moments that it was my work that was being staged. At relevant points, I scanned the audience. I saw a tissue and heard soft sobs. I smiled. And then, the cast sang the Finale and at that moment, the pressure lifted along with their voices and the resounding applause at the end made it more magical.

And then the feedback started pouring in with positivities like, "It was very real," "I tell you ar, actually, I cried" to name a few. And oh, it was a sold out show. Thank you all for coming.

And for their commitment and perseverance, I must thank:
Frederick Lin, the composer, for his marvellous songs that has charmed each and everyone of us. My friend, future partnerships down the road!
and all my actors, Shahdon, Aishah, Dhaniah and Yi Han for making my characters come alive.
Hawk, Paul, Dr. Ken, Philip and the rest of the creative community of people who have been very very encouraging and supportive towards us. For calming my nerves too!
And of course, everyone who was part of the project.

The culmination of this half of The Next Wave is another obstacle overcomed in our wave of life. For some who are part of the June one, the wave rises onto a high. For some of us, the currents may not be as strong but be patient, and soon, there'll be more to come.

Regarding me and the Musical Theatre Society? Well, let's just say that I'm already looking forward to next year's programme!

Meantime, if any of you are interested in producing the prequel to Closer to Your Heart, please view the following poster.

Paul, if you ever read this, would you be interested?

Closer to Your Fart Posted by Picasa

Why Closer to Your Fart? It's the pet name our stage manager, Paul gave our musical.

As Shahdon had put it,


Monday, March 13, 2006

Closer to Your Heart & The Next Wave

I didn't do this much earlier coz I know some of y'all might scream at me.

In any case, here it is now. I've got a new production coming up!

On 25th March 2006, my latest musical, "Closer to Your Heart" will be staged alongside "Moon People" at the Arts House.

This musical of mine is only 45 minutes long and it's part of the musical incubation project which was called Five Foot Broadway last year.

To know more about what we're up to, you can visit the Musical Theatre Society website at:

Below is the poster for the musical I'm doing.

Closer To Your Heart

I'm the playwright/director with the fantastic Frederick Lin as composer/arranger and in his debut as an actor.

My cast will consist of Shahdon, Dhaniah, Yi Han & Aishah.

So, do come and support yeah?

If you're still a student tickets are at $15.
Otherwise, it'll be $20.

Click on the poster below to obtain the number to call to book your tickets!
Limited seats so book quick yeah?

The Next Wave Posted by Picasa

The line up for the 3 evenings are as follow:


Ten Days of Mourning - Written & Directed by Carolyn Camoens
Composer - Nawaz Mirajkar

The Swami, The Cow & The Spaceman - Written & Directed by Musa Fazal
Composer - Sean Wong


(This was originally staged as Temasek Polytechnic's 15th Anniversary musical)
Moon People - Writer - Arnold Tan
Director - Sonny Lim
Composer - Richard Wee

Closer to Your Heart - Written & Directed by Mohamad Shaifulbahri
Composer - Frederick Lin


Peter & Pierre - Writer - Stella Kon
Director - Lee Yew Moon
Composer - Desmond Moey

(This was originally staged as NUS Law's Annual Production)
Roses & Hello - Written & Directed by Luke Kwek
Composer - Esther Yang

More to come in June!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Gubra Cake

Just when I thought the week couldn't have gotten any better.

The picture below might appear a little small but what it reads is...

**** (4 stars)

"a web of every human emotion imaginable"
moviexclusive.com, Mohamad Shaifulbahri

Where was this found?

Life! movie listings on both Saturday and today. Heh.

As Captain said, "Icing on the cake".

In the News~! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Very the Gubra!

Warning: This will be a very long entry with tons of pictures. So, bear with me.

First things first, click on the poster below to read my review of Gubra on movieXclusive.com

Gubra Review

Click the picture below to read about the interview we had with the Gubra gang over dinner.

Gubra Dinner

Click on the picture below to read about the World Premiere of Gubra.

Gubra Gala

Well, on to my "story". I don't think it's a secret at all that I'm a major fan of Yasmin Ahmad and having had stumbled upon her blog about a two years ago, I've corresponded with her occassionally via her HaloScan comments board.

So, when I was told that Gubra was going to be released in Singapore first and that Yasmin herself would be in town to promote the movie, I was hyped. The best part came when we were given the opportunity to interview her.

26th February 2006 came. I had to miss rehearsal to meet the Gubra gang for an interview. The four of us, Stefan, Lokman, Richard and myself were called upon to serve the website and we waited patiently at the Esplanade for a fixed time and venue for our interview.

They had been having interviews the whole day long with our local media and we were to be the last ones for the day. And soon, in the late evening, we got a call that brought us to the KopiTiam at Swissotel Stamford where we had the interview.

Naturally, I was extremely nervous about the whole thing and the guys kept ribbing me. And then we stepped inside and there were Yasmin, her leads Sharifah and Alan, Thomas from Lighthouse Pictures (the kind man who granted us the interview) and Yasmin's producers (?) Tania and Anthony.

And get this, we must've been the only media that actually had a very casual interview with them. It was over dinner some more! It was just so weird for the four of us at that moment coz we weren't sure as to wait for them to finish their food or go ahead with the interview.

To cut a long story short, the dinner interview seemed like we were all old friends going out for makan. Golly gees. I had dinner with the Gubra gang. Okay, technically I only drank but still. And oh, the first thing Kak Min said to me was, "You look very familiar"
Gosh! And I had to reveal lah at that very moment that I read her blog, we've corresponded and she'd prolly been to my blog too. And she went "ahhh...the power of blogging"

The conversation ranged from talking about all our favourite movies to what we liked to do. We were all engrossed in the conversation that I was initially worried that we would not be able to cover much for our article!

But then we went into full gear and started discussing Kak Min's movies. She explained why she decided to go with the ending in Sepet and her rationale. Anyone who wants to know can ask me personally. We had a riot of a time talking about "kucing berak", a scene from Rabun. The scene was basically a scrawny kitten having a poop. Heh. Silver screen history!

At this point I must remind you that I never thought I'd have a conversation with Kak Min let alone have dinner!

And yes, they could have been at Tainted Flower. My beloved colleagues were nice enought to invite them on my behalf. Sadly, they had a Double Bill Session to attend to from Friday to Sunday. And then Sharifah and I discussed theatre. She told me about how she was part of a Malay production of Hamlet and I shared my experience adapting Julius Caesar into a musical.
And how could I forget Alan, our Star Wars man who also said the first movie that made him cry was Forrest Gump. Hehehe.

And we went on and on, although I must admit that Alan was pretty quiet most times. Kak Min listens to you intently and Sharifah is really a chilli padi in real life.

Soon enough, the interview ended, we took pictures with the gang and left. The four of us were walking around in a daze still trying to come to terms with our evening. So surreal!

Anyhoo, here are the pics from the dinner interview.

Kak Min sharing or taking a spoonful from Richard's dessert.

The interview process.

A group photo with them. Look at Stefan getting hugged!

Me and Kak Min!

Our experience didn't end there. The next evening, all four of us attended the World Premiere of Gubra. While only Stefan and I were on duty, I was expected to only review the movie. I didn't come prepared with paper and pen, only because I felt it the gala event would be like the Pride & Prejudice one where I didn't have much to cover.

But, I saw a whole lot of faces from various industries, so Stefan lent me his trusty notebook and pen and we were off in a pair, him being the designated cameraman.

But first, we arrived early. And when Kak Min saw us, she greeted us like we were old friends, with kisses on our cheeks! And Kak Min's just so warm and motherly that she doesn't mind if you're an old friend or new.

In any case, after talking to the Gubra gang, Stefan and I scooted off and we interviewed a number of people for the article I was writing. Here goes.

We caught accomplished playwright, Michael Chiang, of Army Daze and Private Parts fame and he revealed the number of times he had seen Sepet.

We also caught up with Suria Artistes like Anugerah winner Khairul Anuar, Anugerah finalist, Fauzie Laili, Norfasarie and Nurul Aini, who recently starred in Love Conceirge as Vincent Ng's love interest. She was in the same situation as Orked in Sepet. Okaylah, similar situation.

And of course, Suria Artiste, Azhar Nor Lesta was also there. He gave such profound comments that, I could relate it to my actors. Woohoo~

We also approached Kenneth Tan, the Managing Director of Golden Village Cinemas. He was very nice and provided us with a lot of insights and the promise of supporting all of Kak Min's films!

Sharifah and Alan doing a promo of Gubra for Suria.

"Classic Richard Moment"

This space is dedicated to my friend Richard Lim Jr. Poor fellow was running around town to obtain a Sepet DVD to get Kak Min and Sharifah to sign. We were laughing so hard when we saw it selling at GV Grand at $16. He was late because of the same DVD which he got for $22.90.
Richard Richard. But hey, at least Kak Min kept refering to you as her darling Richard right?

Remember I mentioned that I thought this guy was pretty quiet? I thought wrong lah. Throughout the gala event and after the movie, we actually talked a lot and I felt that really made him very comfortable. He ended up being the most buddy buddy with us. Alan, if you're reading this, you da man!

Sharifah was pretty busy herself the whole evening running from one quick interview to another. She did, however, manage to stop for a quick bit to take photos with us all.

And of course Kak Min herself who was being swarmed by almost everyone else! But she was very nice to us! Hehehe!

And then we watched Gubra.
Remember I mentioned how buddy buddy Alan was? During the movie, I was laughing so hard at one the scenes he was in that he reached over from behind and smacked me in my shoulder.
Yes, we were seated in front of the cast and crew. Heh. Richard and Lokman got great seats lah. It was fun to watch the movie with running commentary from the cast and crew. Different from other people talking during the show one!

After the gala, we were pretty reluctant to leave and all. Eventually, Thomas from LHP whipped out a whole stack of Gubra posters and started giving them away. Of course, after the crowd had died down that is. And since everyone was still around, we also got our posters autographed.

Soon enough, we left albeit reluctantly, bidding our final goodbyes but secretly hoping that we would meet again.

And that we did. Heh.


Stefan had attended the Double Bill screening one night and told Kak Min about our plan to ask her and gang out for dinner. The next morning, I, being the designated caller, called her up.

Our dinner plan on Tuesday had to be altered because she was going to watch the staging of Army Daze. Thinking that we were down on our luck, I was about to say goodbye until she said that she would be watching the play alone. Then she remembered that I was the one who had a play not to long ago and invited me to join her to watch the play.

Quite honestly, at that very moment I couldn't stop smiling as I felt truly blessed. I've managed to talk, have dinner, etc with someone who's inspired me so much and now watching a play together?!

And so I was supposed to fetch Kak Min at Gallery Hotel at 7pm. She got a little delayed and she got me to come up to her room first. Stupid me didn't realize that the suite numbers were on the floor. She got a complimentary observatory suite! Bloody gorgeous lah! And oh, I told her that my Mum had sent her, her regards and she was like, "Really? That's sweet!" and another time, "She sends her regards? That's sweet!" Hahakz.

Anyhoo, we rushed off to the National Library for the play, reaching on time too. Whew~
Kak Min was very absored by the play, often leaning forward, concetrating on what was being said. In the end, I was scared that she couldn't get the very Singaporean bits but I was wrong. Heh. And she really liked Hossan Leong's acting! hahakz. No surprise there!

We then met Stefan, Lokman and Peiyu who were waiting for us at the lobby. We then headed for TCC at Bugis where we continued our talk on movies. We discussed more scenes, this time from Gubra. How she managed to ilict a heightened emotion from a particular scene without informing Sharifah what to expect. Richard also joined us but Kak Min was visibly tired and was in need of panadol. Stefan's friend Sara also joined us but only managed to talk to Kak Min for a few minutes as Kak Min headed for 7-11 with Richard and Lokman while the rest of us were gently evicted from the premises as it was closing time.

Sara, offered to drive Kak Min back to her hotel. Funny thing happened. Kak Min refused to sit in front, jumped for the backseat and ended up getting squeezed by Peiyu, Stefan and Lokman. After we dropped Kak Min off, said our proper final goodbyes and hopes of meeting again soon, we went for a drink at Siglap.

After the drink, Sara drove each of us home. God bless this girl I say for being such a nice person. Sara's just so bubbly and cheerful that she's so fun to be around!
This has been a blessed two weeks for me really.
The whole Gubra experience, the play and most importantly, the building of new and beautiful friendships. Wow. And here's Sara and me!

Sara and Me Posted by Picasa

Did I say that the past two weeks have been very Wow?

And oh, before Kak Min left this morning, she sms'ed everyone thanking us for the friendship and for making her feel at home.

And now, all I can do is to smile. Not Gubra anymore. Hehehe.

P.S. If Singaporean made Gubra hor, I think it would've been called Kanchiong!

Alamakkkk! I'm lying lah.
It's still all too bloody surreal! Heh.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Flower That Has Bloomed

And so, Tainted Flower has come and it has gone.
But the good thing is that, a beautiful flower has bloomed.

For the first time ever, there actually wasn't much of a mad rush prior to the start of the show until Iskandar and I learnt that our MP would be delayed. But that was a minor change in plans that did not affect the event.

The Saturday after, when Philip asked me, how the mood islike in our camp, the one word I could use to describe it would be, "JUBILANT". And yes, this applies to all those of you who are suffering from major post production syndrome too. Hahakz.

I am proud of everyone in Yellow Chair Productions who have worked their asses off the past few months rehearsing for Tainted Flower. To think that we're not part of any professional theatre group or a school but rather, youths who come together to make a difference, is tremendous. Thank you for believeing in our dreams.

A whole slew of positive reviews have been coming in. And I am so thankful for the constructive ones. These are the exact ones that will help us better ourselves considering it was our inaugural play and by far and large, all of us are still learning our respective crafts.
As what Azhar Nor Lesta said to me when I interviewed him less than a week ago, "When you think you're good, you'll have no room for improvement."
How true.
And to have comments like to take Tainted Flower to the Esplanade and to restage it again to a more crtitical audience is truly truly encouraging.

Truly, the audience gave us a reception more than what I had expected. They were engaged in the intense scuffle with a real pair of scissors. They were utterly disgusted with Jerry's shit smearing incident. They gasped at Sally's slap and they laughed at the cheesiest and craziest of stuff we did. And I sure hope they teared at the respective parts.
I really hope each and everyone of you who came enjoyed yourselves, let it be through laughter or tears. And thank you for being there.

Still, as Stefan said, Murphy's Law will always lend a hand.
The CD player just had to play us out at the very pivotal "Be Yourself" scene when Andy was breaking down, tearing his painintg and cutting his precious locks. But that wasn't the worst incident.

The most shocking incident had to be the grave robbing one. And quite rightly, I felt that it was pretty ludicruous.

In our very final scene, a grave was placed at the very edge of the stage. As the lights came on, the grave was removed by a member of the audience. Yes, the scene still went on as it should have but the damage was done.

I thought it is a cardinal rule that the general audience themselves would know that when you're in the audience, you don't get up and remove anything from the stage. This is what, in my opinion, is akin to a streaker running across the field during a football match.

Sure, the guilty party came and apologise. And yes I have forgiven (I believe there are still those who haven't) but forgetting it is another thing.
In any case, I do pray that none of you who are having upcoming productions will have the same problem we had. You don't want to know how it feels exactly.

Moving on, Yellow Chair Productions will be taking a short break to recuperate and re-energize. New blood will be welcomed and new shows will be put up. Alhamdulillah, there were a number of immediate offers for upcoming programmes. Now that would keep us busy till the end of the year. And of course, time to start planning for our next play, which also already has a title! Hahakz. More to come people.

Meanwhile, my rest would be till this weekend only. Back to work on the upcoming Closer To Your Heart, which I'll promote to everyone soon!
And oh, I'll be posting about my wonderful experience I had last week with the Gubra cast and crew soon!

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