Black Box Experimental is Coming! And I’m Acting!

We, my crazy drama group, had our first rehearsal this morning for our experimental black-box piece which is coming to the Penang Performing Arts Centre for 1 night only on September 6.

There are two earth-shattering things (for me) which make this very different. First off, even though I wrote it, I’m not directing it. Talented and young and award-winner actress Ysabel Loh is directing her first performance, and she did an amazing job this morning, as I knew she would. It was kind of fun for me to sit back and watch.

The second earth-shattering difference for this piece is that I’M ACTING!!! I’m one of those very strange people – I teach acting, but I’m not an actor. I just learned everything I know through writing and then directing. But this time, I’m on-stage. I had to go through the memorization process earlier this week to get down my lines, and I’ve had to do everything I tell my actors to do. Well, I must admit that I enjoyed it. So I’ll be making my acting debut in front of a paying audience. Pretty cool. It’s going to be a blast.

This is a UNIQUE and rather deep piece about what influences society. The audience is going to be totally confused, but it will be a ton of fun.

“How to Build a Dictator”

Written by Mark W Sasse

Directed by Ysabel Loh

Tuesday, September 6 @ 8:30 pm, penangpac Stage 2

Admission: 10RM at the door

black box

Script Chosen for Short & Sweet Theatre KL 2016

My script, Alone in a Bar, was chosen to take part in the 2016 KL Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. It will be directed by Vinna Law. I won’t have a hand in production, but I hope to get to KL and see it this fall. The script is a little different for me, about a broken man who, day after day, sits and cries himself into a stupor without ever saying a word. On this particular day, things get interesting. A little dark for me, perhaps. But I had fun writing it. Hope it turns out well!

ss 2016 2 ss 2016 1


A Walk Through Our Final Rehearsal

8:30 Arrive. Set-up and arrange microphones, drama cubes, and props into their proper place.

9:00 The director (me) throws a curve at all the actors and redoes the last piece without warning. We relearn movement, pacing, and timing to match perfectly with the choreographed dancing and music. After about the 4th run-through, they get it. It’s much improved.

9:45 Two actors want to re-write the between sketch transitions. I fully allow them to do this as I go over new sound cues with the tech team.

10:15 Mic check

10:30 The fun begins – the first run-through. A few hiccups and an hour and forty minutes later, we emerge from darkness with a few bumps to iron out, but one step closer to opening night.

12:30 Lunch. I walk across the street for a thick bowl of butter chicken masala and a garlic, butter nan. And can’t forget the delicious teh ais.

1:30 Debrief. Run through “God’s One Question” one more time to nail timing and movement. Ready.

2:00 Final run-through. We have a tighter performance and shave a few minutes off the running time. That’s always a good thing.

4:00 Debrief and talk through the hectic week ahead of us.

5:00 Go home and collapse.

Three months of rehearsals are finished. We are ready to release our new show to the world.

As usual, I’m excited and nervous. What will the audience think? They rarely think what I expect. Either way, we gave it our all. Let the games begin.

promo for emails

Our new show – “For All Generations”

Today I organized the read-through for the nine new scripts that I wrote (mainly) this summer which will be produced as a show called “For All Generations.” It will be performed by my lovely and fun drama group called The RLT Players. This is our fourth year to be producing a cohesive work of short plays, centered around a theme. Here’s an overview of the scripts in no particular order:

A Pinch of Fate, A Shot of Destiny – The grim reaper meets his match when Mitch shows up to unexpectedly rescue his next victim. (This one is also being performed as part of the Penang Short & Sweet Festival in early September.

If Love is a Crime, String me up – in 1852, a runaway slave finds herself on the doorstep of a northern lady, who makes great biscuits and has a tender heart

The Will – a billionaire decides to play an evil trick on the freeloading relatives who show up at his funeral expecting a payday

A Minute Problem at the World’s Last Clock Shop – A silly comedy about a grandfather playing a trick on his granddaughter who wants to buy him a birthday present

More Heart, Less Attack – Two mothers and two sons, fundamentally misunderstanding one another have a chance to bridge the gap of understanding between them

The Last Princess – When the spoiled princess of evil King Antoine finds out the truth about his barbaric rule, she is determined to end the family’s legacy.

A Woman at War: A Musical – Dedicated to all the women who fought for their love on the homefront. (This will also be part of Short & Sweet KL Musical Festival in September.)

Revenge of the Grandparents – A child, spoiled by her grandpa, has no idea what her parents are plotting to do once the child grows up and has children of her own.

What was it like – A series of questions and statements meant to trigger thought and discussion about understanding the previous generations before it is too late.

“For All Generations” – November 21-22 @ PenangPAC.


Musical Review: “Marrying Me” @ PenangPAC and KLPAC

I think I may have said this before, but just to hear the voice of Stephanie Van Driesen in the Actor’s Studio’s production of the original musical “Marrying Me” is worth the price of admission alone.

Stephanie, once again, shines as a very likeable character, wanting to be her own person and not to be shackled down by family expectations and obligations in regards to marriage.

The setting itself will undoubtedly ring true for many Malaysians who have felt the pressure from family to marry, who have dealt with guilt trips and underhandedness in order to preserve the family line.

The plot is solid, moving from ridiculous to funny to poignant, at times, but it is truly Van Driessen, and the voice, that carries the songs to new and interesting heights under the precise direction Christopher Ling.

I always enjoy Ling’s vibrant direction which typically employs simplistic sets with fast paced movement in and out by the actors, seamlessly connecting the scenes. The cast was energetic and clearly enjoying themselves. That makes a big difference for the audience.

Upbeat music. Witty dialogue. A storyline that Malaysians can relate to.

And that VOICE! Go enjoy an entertaining night at the theatre!

“Marrying Me” ended its run at PenangPAC on Sunday, but is coming to KLPAC starting December 13.

marrying me