Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Homecoming - production diary

Hey, thanks to the many of you who have been patiently hitting the blog every day even though we've all been silent since opening night. (I know half the daily number comprise Ben trawling for compliments, but that still leaves quite a few of you out there with no life but to share my family's. Welcome.)

Last night, a few of us felt charged after the show. It has been a darker play after opening night, nerves making us play for laughs that first curtains up, and last night we about seized the stage, snared an appreciative audience whose laughter had the nervous edge we wanted to hear.

A couple of days ago, I tallied the number of hours I spent with Pinter's Max. An hour and three-quarters at peak in front of an audience. Add to that the three hours preceding performance when I'm immersing myself into the prickly nastiness of Max, and the couple of hours earlier in the day when I find time to feed him his lines, looking for new expressions, addressing flat moments. Include the 8 unwinding hours after when the body wants sleep, but the mind is hopping, skipping, mental static punctuated by fragments of dialogue, moments on stage.

Close to 15 hours a day living with an unpleasant character - what a perverse gift.

Last night's adrenaline kept me in a rush until about 8 am when a half-sleep took over. Up at 10. Three hours into my column for The Star, fortunately near the end of it, Max made a couple of forays into my attention. He wanted to stretch out, be fed his lines. It was 1 pm and I only left for the theatre at 5, but he didn't care.

A couple of nights ago, a young woman, from a safe distance, told me: "I don't want to speak with you. You're not nice."

What perverse pleasure prompts the correct response from me to be "Thank you"? To greet heartfelt distaste with satisfaction over a job well-done.

What could possibly prompt me to endure bastards who feel obliged, after the show, to murmur good show? When I politely deflect the compliment by suggesting that there was little acting involved, I was just being myself, a dirty-minded, foul-mouthed grouch, none of the bastards returned the conversation ball to my court by protesting my claim - silence, laughs, nodding agreement, that's what I got. Bastards!

Yet I look forward to (and regret the shrinking number) the last four shows. Will miss the old coot. Which other role in world theatre literature will allow me to slap, punch, knock, elbow, insult, spit at and ogle other members of the cast? TIme to retire and raise a family.

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-- COME WATCH --
March 24 - April 2nd
@ Pentas 2,
Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KL Pac)
Sentul Park, Jln Strachan

All shows @ 8.30 pm
except Sunday matinees 3pm
(No show on March 27) Tickets: RM35;
RM20 for students, senior citizens and disabled

To buy call KLPac 603-4047 9000; or
The Actors Studio, Bangsar
603-2094 9400




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