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).