Monday, June 11, 2007

Fundamentally Very Happy

Years back when Jo Kukathas asked me if I would try my hand at writing for theatre as she liked the voice in one of my short stories. Until now, I hadn't taken a move to do so and it took another phone call from Jo to prompt me. But I'm very glad I took part in the FIRSTWoRKS Fundamentally Happy Playwriting Workshop organised by Instant Cafe Theatre and led by Singaporean playwright Haresh Sharma (left).

Starting from exercises designed to help us get to know our protagonist, we drafted scenes in the first workshop last month. (The most useful activity was "hot chairing" where we played the role of our characters while being interviewed.)

We were supposed to have a whole seven act play written before the second workshop, but most of that fell a little - ahem - short of that. ("Your commitment has to be at least 8 out of ten," said Haresh, giving us a well deserved scolding.)

What an incredible experience it was to have scenes those scenes acted out in this second workshop! My characters came to life in front of my eyes and my dialogue actually sounded quite good.

Amir Muhamad (right) is not my actor of choice though, as he finds everything funny. But Animah brought my expat housewife to life with a depth of feeling I'm sure I hadn't written into the script.

I feel I learned an awful lot even if my attempts really weren't quite there, and am feeling quite inspired now.

Biggest thanks to the FIRSTWoRKS team for organising this and inviting me, and to Haresh for his patience and very useful feedback.

Here's an interesting article about Firstworks from the Sun which I missed when it first appeared. You will get a chance to see some of the work of the FIRSTWoRKS playwrights who are currently developing their plays on June 23rd at Central Market Annexe. More about that nearer the time.

(left Shanon Shah, who is still developing his play).


Anis Rozalina said...

Hi Sharon, sorry this is not relevant to your topic...Not sure if you posted this already but The Big Bookshop is having a sale at Atria. They've got some nice books and hardcovers from RM10 onwards. Should check it out. Last night, I saw Zadie Smith, Peter Carey's Theft (harcover) at RM10 and JS Foer's books for RM12. Lots of chick lit, and travel guide books for just RM40.

Knowing how much you love books, I thought you might want to check it out!

Chet said...

Looks like The Big Bookshop sale is a never-ending sale! It has been on since late last year.

animah said...

I'm still reeling from ALL the things we learnt over the past 2 weeks.
It has been very helpful for my play, and I feel so humbled that we had the time we did with Haresh.
I'm glad you're inspired Sharon. I loved reading your lines. I could feel her sense of frustration, cunning, betrayal, and relief. And I liked her more when she wasn't the victim. It's important you like her too.
I'd love to see the completed play.

Pelukismelukis said...

I really look forward to seeing those scripts brought to life, though I'm trying hard to imagine what Mr. A.M. is like at acting :-P

The Eternal Wanderer said...

Gosh, glad you find the playwright workshop such a wonderful and inspiring experience! I hope I would be able to participate the workshop in full the next time the workshop is held again.

Even then, I thought I've gained quite a lot of helpful hints in developing characters from the one session I attended last month as an observer.

And I don't think I really need to know more about book sales...I've already got two and a half boxes full of yet-to-be-read books which I hope to one day actually read them! Sigh...

bibliobibuli said...

anis - thanks. yes chet, the big bookshop warehouse sale has actually never gone away!! i did pop back there a week or so ago and bought some more ... but most were books that have been there for some time. i'll keep my eye on it because i go to atria quite often

animah - i think now i'll work backwards from that scene!! i enjoyed being malicious through my character. cliches there were though ... they came from not knowing my characters well enough. so i have my work cut out for me

pelukismelukis - a.m. cracked me up yesterday telling me about how his acting career ended ignobly some years ago when he was sword carrier to mano maniam's macbeth. mano for some reason decided that night to lean heavily on amir's spear as he made his speech. the spear bent under his weight. the great speech was lost in laughter. (hey! i remember being in the audience that night amir!) and amir carried a bendy spear for the rest of the evening.

ew - hope so too - you're so hard working and committed. will fill you in on the other things we did.

Madcap Machinist said...

Looks like fun! I was going to apply for the workshop until I realized that it clashed with my trip...but maybe the next one!

msiagirl said...

Maybe one day will get to hear more about your character! Would love to.

sympozium said...

Wonderful! Keep writing away! Waiting for your book to come out, Sharon! The dirt, the scandals, the gossip! :-)))

Amir said...