Monday, February 16, 2009

How I Got Conned Into Acting in a Sketch

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people."

G.K. Chesterton

It was last Tuesday and it was the middle of the evening some time after dinner. I was asleep in bed; restful, serene, semi-comatose like a babe on morphine and riding sheeps going at 100 mph in ZeeZeeLand. I can't stress enough how incredibly not awake I am here because you see, I was about to be waken up by one of those horrid animals we know only as "phone calls".

This particular "phone call" crept up on me and attacked my person some time between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm and mimicked quite perfectly the voice of a classmate of mine called Nickson. Nickson's voice spoke thus,

"Hey Kok. We need your help. Can you play a part in our sketch for the Annual Night?"

"Uh, I can't act," I replied with great immediacy, vehemence and certainty. My bedroom voice might have defused it a little but...

"Oh, you're sleeping? Sorry for waking you up! Your part is very small one. It's practically written for you," said Nickson's voice.

"Well, I dunno..." At this point, I was actually buying time to think up of some bulletproof excuse.

"You don't even have lines!"

"Really?" I caved and had to feel my balls to check if I was still a man. "Okay, okay. I'll do it"

"Thanks! Rehearsal's tomorrow alright? Bye!"

And the phone call flatlined.

To be honest, I only gave in because I was riding a minor guilt trip for declining Inn Shan's (my class rep), Lauren's (my other class rep), Lai Yin's (my class' student council rep) and Steven's (who held an important post in the council but I can't remember what) request to design the backdrop for the Annual Night of 2009. My reason was that I was busy and when anyone asked what I was actually busy doing, my answer was consistently "Something-la" said in what I hoped was a passably mysterious tone so people won't feel comfortable inquiring further.

Lauren wasn't fooled one second, of course, and bluntly pointed out, "What have you got to be so busy about?" Damn, foiled again! I swear that that woman sees right through me every time.

The truth is, I dislike receiving designing jobs at such short notice. They only gave me two weeks! Imagine that, just two measly weeks! I need at least a month, alright. I need the first three weeks just to slowly come to terms with the fact that I actually have to do some work. Then, I will spend the last week mulling over what I have in mind for the design before finally pulling an all-nighter to complete the project one day after the deadline. That's how I roll, people, that's how I roll.

So, a small bit mute part in a li'l sketch sounded like a fair act of atonement for not agreeing to do the backdrop, notthatIwasobligatedtoanyway. Plus, I didn't even need to help in writing the script since Nickson, Yin Yee and Jun Han did that already.

Now, the next part of this story took place the next day in the middle of the evening while I was napping (again) and it too, took off with a phone call. This time, however, Inn Shan was on the line,

"Kok, you're sleeping?" said Inn Shan, repeating a line very familiar to me. "Rehearsal's at 6:00 pm in the badminton court. Didn't you get an SMS?"

"No," I answer groggily, squinting at the face of my watch on my bedside. It was already 5:50 pm. "I don't think I can make it, man. Can't you replace me with someone else?"

Then, there was a moment of silence, pregnant with the most inauspicious of portents. It was the sort of silence that precedes something Very Bad Indeed. Shit cannons were loaded with shit - oodles and oodles of shit - and they were all aimed at a giant fan.

"We can't do that, Kok. You're the lead."

The crew after the performance. That's me there in a bitchin' black Joker T-shirt.

Honestly, I sometimes feel like I'm the only person that gets into these sort of sitcomical situations.

So what could I do? I threw on something decent and headed for the blasted rehearsal, and found that no one even arrived yet. I was reluctant and was late because I did not know the time, and was still the earliest. And guess at what time the rehearsal finally started?

7:00 fucking pm.

Alright people, this flexi-time attitude has definitely got to stop. It's not cute or endearing, and it isn't our fucking national identity. I have lost count of just how many times I saw the nonchalant smile on the shit-face of a latecomer who kept everyone waiting for him - and all that person has to offer in apology was a shrug like it's his God-given right to arrive an hour late to any bloody thing he likes. I said "he" but I'm talking about girls too. Especially girls. One day, I shall explode. I exploded just once before in my life and believe me, no one present at the time wanted to see it happen again ever. I spent two whole hours shouting non-stop at the top of my lungs at someone with all the venom, bile and hate stored up in my system from all the time I let shit like this slide. You have NO IDEA how poisonous my words can be.

Anyway, I found to my dismay that it was true - I was the lead, like Inn Shan said. Why can't I get the other kinds of surprises? Y'know, the sort that involve accidentally finding a million bucks in my bank account or stumbling over a brand new PC by the big bin outside while I was taking out the garbage? Damn, I really hate how God runs things around here.

Now, I don't want to bother writing the entire script here in this post (because that's not really pertinent to anything) but it's about Lunar New Year customs and how some guy bungles it all up. That 'some guy' was me, apparently. I have no prior experience in acting, mind you, and I've only ever been on stage like 5 times in total; thrice for singing (back before my voice broke, actually winning twice), once for dancing (which I won too, by the way) with this really hot First Former chick who looked waaay older than she really is, and once as an impromptu emcee for a Buddhist Society Combined Meet because the guy who was suppose to do it didn't prepare for it at all. That's right, I totally winged it, did it on the fly, and I consider it one of my more memorable achievements of my teenage years. This cool break-dancer guy who smokes ('cuz smokin' iz kool, yo), who was present at the time actually came right up to me and told me that I did a great job. And the chairman of the event told me that the whole thing would have sucked if it wasn't for me. Of course, I'm not nearly charismatic enough to pull any of those shit off anymore. My ex-girlfriend said it best; "What happened? You used to be interesting!" Haha.

Oh, about the sketch? We rehearsed for 2 hours, and made up a lot of new gags as we went along. I suggested a great number of them considering that my ugly face's now on the line. I had no choice but to commit, really.

In the day after (which was a Thursday) about five-minutes into my afternoon nap, I was wakened by yet another call from Inn Shan. I'm beginning to suspect that that guy is out to get me,

"You're sleeping again, ar? Sorry sorry sorry, but you need to get to campus now," he said. "The president of the student council wants to see our sketch before we perform tonight."

Tonight?! It was tonight?!

This, dear readers, is not a joke. I seriously thought that the Annual Night would be on the next day, on Friday - and there I was, thinking that we still had like a whole day to make the after which we had to display what atrocity we managed to come up with the in the day before in front of the president of the student council. I suddenly had this utterly brill idea of giving our worst so that the prez would refuse to green-light our act, but unfortunately, I couldn't get the others to agree (they thought I was joking in a dead serious kind of way).

After we got miraculously got through the prez and her clique, we only had another hour left of rehearsal before we all have to go home and get ready. When I got back, the opening act, a hired lion dance troupe, had already started and I found, surprise surprise, that our sketch was to be the last performance of the night before the guests and students leave the hall for dinner alfresco. Awesome, our suck would be the last thing on their minds. Also, most of our extras, who were involved in a final scene in our sketch and had been practicing their bit on their own, suddenly quit without warning. Hooo yes.

"Can we quit now?" I asked hopefully, but they shut me up with a quick rewrite.

Minutes before we were due, we were all in our positions backstage while waiting for the preceding act - some guy singing while playing a guitar - to finish. I was alone on one side with the four emcees of the night. They spotted me sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth and told me to chill and assured me I'd do great - though I wasn't really nervous, per se. I was actually repeating my lines in my head so I won't forget them, and tweak whatever that needed tweaking. Considering how unprepared we are, we need any and all the improvements we could get alrightfuckIwasnervoushappy?

Then, I heard applause outside. Our turn.

The skit went went smoother than in all our previous test runs, so that's good. Some told me it was funny, but most said it was too short. That's a good thing too, really. The last thing we'd want was people complaining that it was, God forbid, way too long. Everyone felt that the finale felt abrupt (but that's because, uh, like ten people walked out on us?). We were lucky that we even had a finale!

The comment that made my night, however, came from Nazree,

"Not bad for just one week of preparation."

One whole week? Try 5 hours, mate.

P.S. I heard that the modern dance group got a whole month to choreograph and practice. What gives?!

P.P.S. To those guys who quit an hour before the show: You have no balls. That's right. All you have are empty ball sacs. If you blow on each other's penises, those ball sacs will expand like little wrinkly balloons, and you can try to look inside when they are all taut and translucent but you'll find absolutely nothing. Because there are no balls in them.

Swears never to get swindled into
appearing on stage ever again,
k0k s3n w4i


Betsy said...

Funniest post to-date :D! Is the video uploaded at YouTube or anything?

Inn Shan said...

hi, lol.
thanks again. a lot.
we r overworking our class talents.

minwi said...

omg. P.P.S. is hilarious.

- yuhhui - said...

your friends rock!! Hahaha! I'm guessing you did a great job at that event? =D

k0k s3n w4i said...

Betsy: thanks, and no, it isn't on YouTube.

Inn Shan: I don't really mind helping out so long as I'm allowed to prep earlier. I don't like doing half-assed works.

minwi: that's because i happen to be a genius.

yuhhui: i choose friends that rock :P on the contrary, I thought I did a real shitty job.

Jen said...

hah! i'm glad you did a shitty job. i wouldnt have expected anything less. as if we all need more reason to be in awe of you.


niCk said...

oh man! I'm the con man... hehe

so sorry...

your role was indeed very small during the planning. hehe

k0k s3n w4i said...

Jen: Pshaw, anyone can be good at anything. The trick is to try everything.

niCK: This means you have to be the lead in whatever sketch I might put up in the future. You owe me now :P