Tuesday, 21 March 2006
![blue sidelights on Istana Budaya stage wings](http://www.salameander.com/uploads/20060314mtheoperabluesidelights.JPG)
I can’t hang around people who rant and whine too much for anyone’s good. Trying to calm them these people down doesn’t seem to work…maybe it’s because they rant for the sake of ranting, not to find a solution to make things better.
It would be juvenile to think that the production of M! wouldn’t encounter problems like this because we have a dedicated, driven cast, blah blah and all that. We are all humans after all—and mostly novice theater performers who haven’t been through the rigours of putting up a production, especially on this scale. 40 cast members, another 40 possibly in the orchestra, sound and lights crew, inumerable stage and wardrobe hands, production crew, costume designers and helpers, 15 makeup artists plus other groups of unknown yet key people most of the cast have never met. Nerves are bound to be grated somewhere!
The key issue is how all of us individually handle rough situations—mics not coming on, not knowing music cues because music hasn’t been given to the orchestra yet, the director changing her mind on the blocking of certain scenes. We’ve had a certain cast member yell back at the director for shifting the person’s spot on stage (I’ve since lost some respect for the said person). Yes, it’s understandable that changes are frustrating, but at the end of the day, bearing in mind that we’ve brought up our concerns with those at the top, we simply have to trust that they (especially!) would be working towards making the show a success in its entirety. All those changes are geared towards hitting that mark. I do believe that once Jo finds that elusive element that makes something work, she will have a vice grip on it and changes will no longer be an issue.
Scheduling appears to be the most prickly issue—some people feel that their time was wasted. That’s fair, when you consider yesterday’s scenario where we spent the better part of the day floating between Lambang Sari and the toilets, insterspersed with popping into one of the rooms to get our makeup on, hair done and maybe try some costumes. However we have the ability to look for ways to use the idle time more effectively. All it takes is a bit of initiative. For me I found Orsa, one of the stage hands, preparing some props in a corner and I offered to help. Very soon we had 10 people in all working on the task together. That was nice, and it looked like they were distracted enough with mindless work to loosen up and be a bit more light-hearted.
I love the cast’s antics. For those of you in M who read this, I think it’s a great idea to compile a list of the most outstanding memories each of us have of our time working together.
For a change, I sat with Saidah, Jo and Jason during lunch to move away from the usual banter. I found myself laughing along with them as they were shared silly stories from past productions and the Sing Along Sound of Music. They really didn’t look very stressed at all. After Jo and Jason had left, Saidah shared some of her concerns about the production in her typically Saidah manner—very gently, but supported by enormous grit and strength that has served her well to bring the whole production this far.
Oops, it’s 11:20am. Gotta get ready for the day at Istana Budaya. Just 2 more days to opening night!
> “There is no tiiime, there is no tiiime…”
(lyrics from M! The Opera Act 2 Scene 1: Atelier)