Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Written by Keith Wong, Class of 2015, Junior 1 Hawking

Ever since I stepped into this school, I have looked forward to participating in the variety of activities such as, the societies, the after school sport/activities choices (CCA), etc. But one thing I stumbled upon earlier this year was something big, something extraordinary - the once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in the school’s box office production. I remember hearing whispers going about making the humble Cempaka production seem like something on par with the professional broadway shows one might attend live or watch on television. Fair enough, it was. It was remarkable - an incredible experience; a mix of talented performers (all of whom were around my age) along with sets and props made purposefully intended for a particular scene. Cempaka has been always for pushing yourself to the limits and seeing just how far they can be pushed back. The Box Office Production does just that - in a mere time span of just two months. 

     It starts off with you entering a room which is seemingly familiar, but on this particular day seems to give you more chills than thrills. You take your seat next to someone who either looks just as nervous as you or is already looking like the star of the show - either way, you panic a little more inside. Then your name is called and in a split second you realise you can't escape. Might as well get it over and done with. You step up, only to be greeted by three pairs of daunting eyes, eyeballing you from head to toe and scrutinising your every move. The way you walk, the way you talk, the way you speak and even the way you stand idle waiting for further instructions. Then it begins. You let you talent (or what you believe is talent) erupt from inside you hoping to showcase yourself in the best light possible. A quarter of a minute later, it's over. You leave feeling a mix of relief and happiness, then worry and anxiety and finally nothing. Your audition is over - on to the results! 

         The following week, should you have been one of the lucky ones to pass the audition rounds, rehearsals begin and the need to sort out your daily schedule becomes very apparent. It leaves you busy for the entire week. While loads of progress has to be made and effort equally devoted to make this production a success, your academics (for the fear of your teacher with his or her hands on their hips, waving a finger at you) has to be in check. Time management is the key to sorting out rehearsals whilst coping with assignment deadlines. Your worst enemy during this period of time is none other than procrastination - your evil best friend set to keep you away from everything important and encouraging you to have as much fun as possible. Sounds good? Trust me it's not. 

       From my experience, the beginning was quite rough, and was especially tough when it hit show days. Half a day of practising, a quarter of the day performing and another quarter lying in bed thinking, "How's the next show going to be?" tends to make any rest seem like a myth. However, after every show night, the satisfaction from performing or simply being part of something this great overcomes everything else. After show nights each day it was customary for me to have supper at the ‘mamak’ watching football. Safe to say, it was a remarkable and resonant experience that I happened to stumble upon and ultimately enjoy. Sadly it was all over in a matter of 7 weeks (yes, I did keep track).

         As the curtains drew on the last show night, it suddenly hit me that production was technically over. All the people I'd met, all the ridiculous dance moves I've learnt, all the songs which were by now cemented into my brain - all memories that'd have to remain memories. No longer would I have to proceed straight to the dance studio for warm-up or any other production tradition. “Post production depression's probably gonna last for 2 months. Or forever.” according to one of the cast (Glen) Zainal Adam. Fortunately, lets hope not as it certainly doesn't sound healthy for the human mind. For some, it might have ended sadly with the lingering thought that they would likely never see each other again. However, for the rest it might have seemed like a place where more friends were made, free food was thoroughly enjoyed, sleepless nights were endured (mainly good ones, not ones filled with negativity), and the list goes on and on. The point is it doesn’t have to be all downcast and sorrowful, there is always a bright side underneath that layer of darkness. I don't regret joining production at all and only wish I were here sooner to participate in more of them. Sadly I can't and my journey ends here. But I leave you with this - if you're sitting on the fence about next year's production; just do it! 

Photo credit : Justin Yap

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