Blackmail; a murder, mystery musical, is our theatre performance. It is a story set in a mansion where seven guests arrive for dinner. Later on, all but one, discover a letter next to their seats which contain information that could be used as blackmail. They soon find themselves in a situation when one them mysteriously dies. Soon after, they find more and more dead bodies in the house and the killer is not known to them. With the police coming within minutes, the remaining six guests and the butler rush to find who the killer is before they all end up in jail or worse, dead themselves.
It was once again time for the New Perspectives Through Theatre students, a program under the Malaysian Syllabus where students convert a semester’s worth of classroom knowledge into expressive theatre. As a student, I turned up for lessons expecting nothing extraordinary yet, found myself reeled in with great interest.
Since the start of this IMU adventure, we all prepared ourselves to stay on track, ignoring the distractions and hindrances, of reaching the unanimous end goal – qualifying as a doctor. When we realized that one of the subjects that we had to do was theatre, some of us, like myself, were left baffled and reluctant. Though there were others who were excited and could not wait to learn and perform.
Approaching the end of our course, we were required to all work together and to present a play to our family and friends. It was no easy feat. This required immense cooperation and commitment from each participant and honestly, I struggled with committing myself to the practice schedules.
Despite the few bumps in the beginning, we all soon united; putting our differences aside and things moved pretty smooth from then on. At times we were tired from constant practices during the weeks but the great friendships moulded made the journey a sweet and an amazing one.
We even had a few practices which were aided by the good old Mr. Baskin Robbins and occasionally, our faithful friend, pepperoni pizza, chipped in. We were constantly fed with food and love. As we journeyed to the day of performance, we were ready and excited. Everyone had given their best to this play – from those taking center stage and under the limelight, to the backstage crew.
The funniest start of our performance was getting ready for the performance itself. It was a rush against time to get everyone made up including a lipstick addition on all the male actors. It was then another rush getting everyone from the prep room to the back of the stage and in the blink of an eye, it was show time.
The end of the show was a bittersweet moment for the cast and crew. The hard work finally paid off and the audience went wild. Everyone enjoyed the production and it was amazing. As quoted by some of our friends; it was more than they expected. People were cheering, screaming and we ourselves were cheering along – knowing that the late night practices were worth it. I still recall people being amazed at certain scenes of our performances especially the dancing scenes when the lights went off and turned back on, gasps were followed by the audience in amazement at how quick the props were kept and the whole new scene is about to be delivered.
As shared by our director, June Lee, regarding to the whole performance; “attending rehearsals and having constant Skype meetings for theatre gave me the perfect excuse to escape from studying. There were times when the practices zapped all the energy out of me, and at other times, I left the practice hall feeling happy and accomplished- not that I did a lot of work, but the casts were improving tremendously with each practice and with every little push we gave them. When the lights dimmed and the whole theatre crew were in action, I’d become the happiest girl in the room watching from behind, because their act never failed to entertain me, regardless of how many times we rehearsed.”
At the end of that show, I as well as the rest of the team were a little sad that it was finally done and over. The joy and laughter will always remembered and truly, we have managed to set the standard of theatre performance by IMU students to a whole new level. It’s safe to say that such as the subject’s title, we do have a new perspective through theatre.
Photos credit to Fatin Daud (ME214)
Jeremy Tan from ME214