It was May last year when Singaporean theatre director Rohaizad Suaidi and Malaysian independent artiste Jerome Kugan personally approached me and seasoned actress Dara Othman to be involved in a play that is the reinterpretation of the Samuel Beckett classic, Waiting For Godot. So instead of two homeless tramps on a street during the World War, the first idea that came out was actually two sex workers on a street at a red light district in Kuala Lumpur. Then the final new adaption was finalized as two transgender female sex workers on a red light district. And I was picked to be one of the two.
We were barely two weeks into our initial meetings when the project was halted due to Rohaizad’s inability to commit because of his work. The project was then passed to a certain Ms. Kimmy after that, but for the past one year, there was no movement on the production. Until Kimmy Kiew called me up, explaining to me that the project is now on under the umbrella of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). I went to KLPAC for the first time, and had a short audition. Two weeks later, while attending a forum at Penang, I received a call from Kimmy that I secured the part, and will start rehearsals the following week.
The Evolution Of Waiting For Godot
There I met my co-star Fairuz Tauhid, who will eventually be Estragon or Gogo, while I was given the role of Vladimir. After much deliberation on the script, we managed to change some words into Malay and even one in Chinese. The tree was replaced with a lamp, the mount into stairs, and Vladimir’s hat became my hair band. Rehearsals were intensive within the space of two months, with almost all my evenings after my current job and most Saturdays and Sundays reserved for rehearsals under Kimmy.
(from right: Fairuz Tauhid, Kimmy Kiew, Jerome Kugan, and me)
Working with Kimmy and Jerome (who played the boy who in the play’s interpretation, comically, a manly transgender woman) was particularly satisfying while the always moody Fairuz Tauhid did share some of his brilliant traditional dance choreography on our short dance. Angel Chang was roped in as our stage manager, and we all have a good working relationship. It was tiring and taxing especially for me, having to stretch my hours of activity and reduce my hours of sleep, however I could not afford to compromise my 9-6 bread and butter job, yet I do not wish to neglect my responsibilities to the play.
The complexity during the two months of rehearsals was compounded by the news of the passing of me and Jerome’s close friend, Benjamin McKay. I was just having dinner with him the night before with our friends, so it came as such a shock to me. Then on my way home one night, I was hit by a white Toyota Caldina WQE 8077 owned by a fella named Othman; and to add salt to my misery, even though photos and proof clearly saw my car side badly dented and his bumper fell to indicate he banged my car, due to racial profiling, disturbingly, he got the benefit of doubt and favour from the traffic police, and I got summoned for being crashed at. Apparently, WQE 8077 has a history of dangerous driving.
[sapa tau ...keter ni...toyota caldina putih. WQE8077. kurang ajar punya driver. kluar masuk kluar masuk lane laju..semata mata utk kluar ke naik ke flyover nun di belah kiri jalan. lepas kena hon, siap kejar..pastu benti tgh jalan..tayang torchlight ...bodoh nya orang. pastu siap main kejar kejar..benti lagi..pastu siap nak turun keter tengah jalan..nak ajak gaduh guna torchlight coleman..bodoh la lu mamat.semoga lu cepat mati..cepat kena tanam..cepat kena makan cacing. WQE 8077 toyota caldina putih....WQE 8077 TOYOTA CALDINA PUTIH. Tue 18-Sep-2007 00:21 Posted by:orang tengah marah]
I successfully caused some trouble for Othman’s brother for misusing the name of one of the heads of police to threaten me, and absorbed the “bapuk” calls from the ultimately shallow and uneducated Othman who probably would not go far in his life in making so many enemies with his white Toyota Caldina WQE 8077. I also decided to give Benjamin McKay’s funeral and wake a miss, because I know I would not be able to hold myself if I go. So I continued to our rehearsals, without a car, and missing my friend. I did not know how I managed to get to rehearsals, let alone to go to work. But thanks to the efforts of my friends, work colleagues and theatre partners, I was able to go all the way across the long journey.
It was ironic that this owner of WQE 8077 is a Muslim and committing his sin during Ramadan. What goes around comes around and he will pay for his sins. As for me, more adventures lie ahead in my life.
(Continued from "Five Months - Part 1".)