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In KL: Short & Sweet Festival – go “Almighty Might”

Thursday. I’m headed to KL to see day 2 and 3 of the KL Short & Sweet Theatre Festival where my play, “Almight Might”, will be competing against a whole host of other fine productions. I’m super excited to see what director Colin Kirton has in store for the production.  You can read more about it here: Almighty Might!

You can also read the full script, if you like, on the main page of my blog.

I can’t wait to see the man, standing, and waiting for the revolution.


Almighty Might! October 23-26!

I’m very excited to head to KL on Thursday next week to watch my short play “Almight Might” take part in the Short & Sweet Theatre KL. It’s a powerful short piece about a man who decides to stand in front of the presidential palace and wait for the coming revolution. The full script is actually posted in full on my blog HERE. You can read it, if you like. Or if you will be in KL this week, stop by KLPAC from Wed – Sat to catch the performance.
almighty might

On my first trip to KlPAC

Why Does it always feel so good to get away? That’s exactly what my wife and I are doing this weekend.  We flew to Kuala Lumpur to take in the performance of my mini-musical Captured in Time & Space  in the Short & Sweet Musical Festival.

My thoughts?  I don’t know. It’s really strange to see a performance of something you’ve written but weren’t part of the production process. My drama group, The RLT Players, will be performing the same musical in November, so I certainly have  preconceived notions about the script. But I found it’s very interesting to see what someone else envisions for your work.

Overall, I thought the production was good. the actors certainly worked hard at it and they highlighted the themes well. Is it exactly how I would interpret it? No. But that’s the fun in it. Seeing how others view your work. Its been really fun to be part of the process.

After the show, a guy I never met before  came up to me and said, “Are you Mark?” He introduced himself as an actor who is acting in my script for Short & Sweet Theatre KL in a couple of weeks. He’s acting in my script Almighty Might (one of my favorites which you can read right here on my blog).

It’s a ton of fun being here in KL and seeing my writing come to life. I realize how lucky I am.

But I’m much too excited to go to sleep.

Pictures coming tomorrow!









Crying Takes Practice

I am working with two young actors for the upcoming Penang Short & Sweet Theatre festival. I am directing a script written by RLT member Jackie. The script is called “Noticed” about a girl who brings an eating disorder on herself by wanting to be thin and wanting to change her life.

As a director, I’m having fun bringing a new twist to the script in having both girls dealing with issues within themselves while dealing with the eating disorder with each other.

It’s a real emotional piece where I’m trying to get the actors to dig down deep and bring out the tears, frustration, and utter hopelessness of being in a situation where one ultimately does not like who she is.  If we can pull it off, it should be powerful.

This is definitely a stretching exercise for my young actors. I find that a lot of young actors tend not to do the hard scenes. Whether monologues or school plays or practice scenes, they tend to gravitate toward light fare – comedy. It’s an easy choice (though hard to do it well). Serious drama can so easily fall into insincere melo-drama if one’s not careful. So that’s why I find a serious script like “Noticed” to be somewhat refreshing, watching the actors try to figure out how to say a line just right, or how to place a hand on the other hand in order to coax a response.

The real challenge is to get them to cry, for real. Today we talked about personalization – bringing in a scenario from one’s own real life in order to replicate the essential feelings and responses you need on the stage – and substitution where you substitute one scenario (seeing your beloved cat lying dead on the ground, for instance) for another scenario where you need to cry or bring deep emotion.

It’s fun to see what they come up with. But it is a challenge to make them cry. After all, crying takes practice.

So if you are in Penang the week of September 11-14, I hope you’ll come out to the Short and Sweet Festival and catch “Noticed.”

Drama Time!

I love August because that starts the next season of drama in my life. This past week we auditioned a bunch of students for three different productions this semester. The one I’ll be heading up is my beloved drama troupe – The RLT Players. We are back for our third season and have a fantastic line-up of dramatic sketches ready to roll with a show entitled: “Captured in Time & Space.” We also expanded to 12 members.  We have four shows at the Penang Performing Arts Centre in November. It’s going to be a great show.

The sketches. I wrote eight original sketches, mainly centered around certain important moments in an average person’s life. So it is a moment that is being ‘Captured in Time & Space.’  I’ll share some snippets from different sketches as we move along, but here are a few hightlights:

“Skydiver” – a comedy about commitment. A woman tells her friend that if she hasn’t married Richard in 5 years then she has to make her do something drastic like jump out of an airplane. Well, 5 years have passed and guess what they are doing?

“Light a Candle” – a tear-jerker of a drama. A little girl, who just lost her father, asks her mother why they light a candle for him. The mother explains that it’s a way to talk to her father in heaven. The play shows the girl growing up and remembering her father throughout many of her important life events.

“Black & White” – a rhythmic song/dance done inside a series of black and white boxes.

“Jerome, the Malevolent God-King” – a grandfather tells his granddaughter the story of how a little boy defeated the evil line of god-kings who dominated their country for centuries.

That’s a few of them. I’ve been involved in a lot of different dramatic productions, but for sheer enjoyment, nothing beats the RLT Players. Can’t wait to get started!

Script chosen for Short & Sweet Theatre KL – “Almighty Might”

I’m thrilled to announce that my dramatic sketch “Almighty Might” has been selected for inclusion in this year’s Short & Sweet Theatre Festival KL. I’m super excited about it. I wrote “Almighty Might” a couple of years ago for my drama group The RLT Players, which I formed after being inspired by a Malaysian drama group: The Footstool Players, who perform short sketches and pieces of dramatic storytelling that are fun and uplifting.

Well, I was even more thrilled when I heard that Colin Kirton, founder and artistic director of the Footstool Players is directing my sketch for Short & Sweet. I’m so excited. Kirton is a well-known, Malaysian actor who I’ve seen in a variety of performances, including the recent re-staging of Broken Bridges at PenangPAC.  Here’s his Wikipedia page which gives his bio:

This is the first of my dramatic pieces to have an industry professional at the helm.

I must book my tickets to KL so I can see the performances.

Very excited!

I write musicals – yeah, right

I’m not a musician. I have very limited range on a guitar  – my only instrument –  but I’ve always loved creating songs. I remember back in high school when I mowed grass a lot, I would just create all kinds of tunes and songs in my head. Sometimes I’d remember them and write them down. Usually, they rattled in my brain until the mower stopped its rattling and then they’d be gone.

When I started writing plays a few years back, I wrote some songs for some of them and then turned them over to the real musicians to bring them to fruition.  A favorite of mine was the musical called “A Tad of Trouble” which really has some catchy tunes in it.

Two years ago, I co-founded a drama group called the RLT Players (Road Less Traveled).  We do skits and short plays of a variety of genres – all original – and each year I like to write a musical (10 minutes or less) to the mix just because musicals are fun. And yes, I am a man. But musicals are still awesome.

Anyways, two years ago I wrote “Walk” – a short musical about the different types of walks that people have in their lives. I prerecorded the melodies and then tapped someone who actually had musical talent to come alongside and record a track on Garage Band so our troupe could perform it.  It went over well, so I decided to try again last year.

I wrote Disconnect: The Musical about our crazy on-line connected world. It was a lot of fun, and one of our RLT Players – Shion Beak – who can play every instrument and who is amazing at Garage Band too – came up with some awesome acompainment tracks so that we could stage it.  It was a hit when it was performed last November at PenangPAC during our 4 performances.

SWe finished it in June. Submitted it before July 1, and today I received this email:

Dear S+S Musical Composer & Lyricist,

Congratulations!   Thanks for registering S+S Musical 2013. I am here to inform that your musical “Captured in Time and Space” has been selected for S+S Musical 2013.

Very cool!  So I’ll be flying to KL in September to watch our musical come to life.

Later this week, I’ll give a fuller explanation as to what “Captured in Time & Space” is all about.

But for now, I must admit, I actually do write musicals.

Finishing Touches on New 10-Minute Musical

I’ve had the privilege twice to work with musically talented Shion Beak on short musicals. Here’s how it works:

  • Me, extremely challenged in music, come up with a musical concept, lyrics, and basic melody.
  • I make a (very) rough recording of it.
  • I give it to Shion, and she does her magic, sending back a multi-layered, multi-instrument track which always makes my jaw drop.

She finished her part on the musical in early June. It’s entitled “Captured in Time and Space”, basically 4 songs rolled into one with a common chorus repeated 4x that gives it cohesiveness. The premise is quite simple. Three individuals who face different obstacles calling out to the heavens asking for help “Where you want me to go? What you want me to say? I can’t go alone.”

This weekend I just finished recording, with my daughter, a track with sample vocals to send to KL’s Short & Sweet Musical Festival later this month. We’ll see if it will be chosen to be put into production. Hopefully it will. Shion and I are sharing the composer credits, while I’m the sole lyricist.

Eventually, it will be part of Season 3 of the RLT Players – my amazingly fun drama troupe that performs short plays and musicals.

I’m really happy with how “Captured in Time & Space” turned out. Any choreographers out there who want to work with my RLT Players this fall?

Thought I’d ask.

Lyrics and sample music to follow at some point!