Something Stops.. & Starts.
Opera auntie shouting 6:45pm! Its make-up time, I sat down with my big mineral water. Auntie Feng bought me a shared pot of rice. “When you are with us you eat what we eat.” My hand was trembling while I was applying eyeliner on my eyes. A few rounds of rehearsals were done behind the curtain to perfect the sword fighting scene… curtain call. Tonight I was told that I have to stand firm throughout the performance. I took my last drag of cigarette and went on the stage; I did my ‘san tong’ waiting for the general to be on stage. My mind drifted to somewhere else, to the nonchalant musician, to the curious audience who was discussing who this new actor was in the troop.
Costume changed, the troop leader gave me another ciggie, and his way of saying I’m doing fine. I'm now bought to scene 17 where I had to stab the prince, with 5 other assassinators, He sing a melancholy tune which resent life, and he tried to reach out to his princess. We were to stay still with our weapons. I saw the prince tear, uncontrollably I quietly did. Removing the makeup, I'm back to being Royston playing the role I ought to be. Something stops and starts.
“You coming tomorrow?”
“No I have to shoot a film.”
“Then come when you can, we miss you.”
Filmmaking to me have always been like being in a love relationship, you go through a series of intense experience, you laugh, you cry, you empathize with each other and when the film is finally done, you feel a sense of relief concocted with melancholy. The film is done, the love relationship is over. We started to reminisce, to hold on to what was left. Something stops and starts.
“We have performance tomorrow, you can make it?”
“Not for a while. Do inform me when you are performing.”
Dec 29th near AZ building, our first performance after a long time.
They smiled. Ever so beautifully.
Royston Tan. December 2006.