Three months of practising and rehearsing for hours on end, three months of irregular lunch meals and snacks (doughnuts, crodos, chips, uggets), three months of opening up to new people and seeing their same faces almost every single day, three months of hard work
boil down to our final show last night.
I feel like crying now.
Let's do this chronologically.
They held an official audition session in January, which I didn't go to. Having participated in last year's MNight as the Malay dance choreographer, I told myself no more getting involved with MNight this year, time to hang up my boots. But I don't know what happened or how it happened but my friend, Amir, one of the directors, somehow someway coerced me into auditioning myself impromptu - it was like a personal audition session - about a week afterwards. Amir decided there and then that he wanted me to be in the play. Before I knew it, I was added into the MNight whatsapp group and I was given two characters, one of whom requires me to sing a solo song and a dikir barat.
The last time I sang in front of an audience was when I was 12, for a Pertandingan Menyanyi lepas UPSR. My voice has never reached outside the confines of the room/house that I occupy eversince, the only people who know that I love to sing are my immediate family members, my bestfriends, and KHouse.
So I had doubts about putting myself on stage under the spotlight with all eyes and ears on me. I wasn't so anxious about acting because I've been doing all the way through primary school, secondary school, and KY, but singing.... I regressed into insecurities and disparagement, denigrating my own capabilities and letting all these thoughts be ingrained in my head, but Amir told me he has faith in me. He convinced me to just do it (Nike) (heheh was that funny?) (I tried). Anyway, I went to the scheduled practices, learnt my lines, integrated myself into the pool of other fellow actors who are, by the way, crazy talented. We released mini trailers every few days, which are basically snippets of the songs that we were going to perform in the play (9 to 7, You And Me, Hakuna Matata (Lepak Lepak Saja) x Bare Necessities mash up inspired by this, and Belaian Jiwa). When my trailer was released, my PBL groupmates saw the video on Facebook and their reactions to it was just hilarious (but in a very British way hahaha).
Nearing the show day, we started working together with the music team, the props & backstage & costume team, the lights & sound system team, the social media team, etc. and I had no choice but to get to know them. They're all just so goddamn funny and 70% of our rehearsals consisted of us doing stupid things and joking around and teasing each other and we keep finding ways to amuse ourselves. Few days leading up to d-day, I had to abstain myself from chocolates lest my voice turn raspy, which would be a complete nightmare, but didn't happen so alhamdulillah. But the thing is, I'm a hardcore chocoholic, so having to stay from chocolates even for just a few days was a difficult task T.T
My dearest best friend Sappy came all the way from Cardiff. She went to watch our last rehearsal, and she also went to see, not one, but BOTH of our shows!!! Is she a gem or a gem?! How did I get so lucky to find a best friend in her, oh my God.
She even brought 2 sets of dressy clothes to wear for the two performances. Such an angel, that girl. I don't know if you read my blog Sappy but if you are reading this at this very moment, I hope you know that I really, absolutely, wholeheartedly appreciate the lengths that you've gone to for me! And thank you so much for listening to my worries about how cacat my voice is after the first show and telling me tirelessly over & over again that I sound good. Thank you for being my biggest fan, Sappy sayang. I love you and I can only hope to be half as lovely as you are!!
Our shows, both of them, received so much love and good responses from the audience!!!! I'm so very extremely proud of the whole crew for putting up fantastic shows!!! Each and every one of us put in so much effort into this production and they did a remarkably spectacular job I am actually borderline crying right now because so, so proud!!!!
I played two characters : an intern working at a famous research facility in 2016 Singapore and a cheeky kampung girl called Melur in 1941 Kampung Jasmin. The directors asked me to deliver my Melur lines in the most Malaysian way possible, I was like ok cun onz this is my forte time to unleash my Jemah-ness. I had friends and even strangers coming up to me after the shows, saying they cried/almost cried during the scene where I (Melur) mourned over Ezryn (Melati)'s death. People swarmed me, telling me I was really good at bringing the Melur character to life and that they loved the Malaysian flavour that it added to the whole show. Daniel, who was handling the spotlight when Melur was singing Belaian Jiwa to Melati, said he almost teared up from seeing the sisterly bond that we were trying to deliver. Some even said that Ezryn and I can pass of as real twins even in real life!! Hahaha. Having Ezryn to act as Melur's twin is probably the best thing ever, because I can't imagine better chemistry and stronger dynamics with anyone else but her!!! I'm just so glad that the audience could feel the emotions that we were trying to portray. So glad. My coursemates were really impressed with the whole thing, they said they didn't quite expect the show to be that good and of high quality!
My KY friends kept telling me "Sheerot you perform doh, sumpah perform" because they had no idea I can sing.
Ulfah said "Weh I taktau you berlakon ke apa, sbb you bukan mmg macam tu ke in real life? Menggelabah apa semua. I taktahu nak tampar Melur ke you." Hahahaha kuang asam.
Aini said she "Loved every bit of the production! *clapping hands emoji*".
Amir Norman said it's the only MNight where he "laughed so hard throughout the whole show", he didn't even remember to snapchat it.
Jannah said she "loved the show so much" that it's her new favourite now!
Farahin said our MNight was "da bomb".
And many, many other positive feedback from everyone else. I'm so happy that the audience loved it!!! They loved my lines & jokes, they loved all the other jokes & puns from other characters, they loved Sasha and her 5Gs (Good God, Getta Grip Girl), they loved Charlie & Susan and their dumbness, they loved the Japanese & sushi jokes (which I came up with!!), they loved the Boss and the Testees references, they loved our dancing and singing, they loved everything about our show!! Hearing all these positive comments about the performances is just truly gratifying, makes all the long hours that went into producing them totally worth it.
Oh God I sound like I'm blowing our own horn but kasi chan lah please. One time the props team stayed in the hall until 2 in the morning, and they had to spend the night over someone's place because there were no more tubes running at that ungodly hour. The sound system team had to go through hell coordinating lights and background music and the microphones sometimes refused to serve their purpose. The backstage team almost went crazy trying to figure out a system to make sure the transition between each scene goes seamlessly. And I had to go days without chocolate ok, if that counts as a sacrifice. These things (and more) are just to attest to the love and dedication that the whole crew poured into this production, tweaking bits here and there to make sure that the end product will be received with love by the audience :)
I am forever humbled, because it was both an honour and a great pleasure to have been given the chance to be a part of something so wonderful, something so special. My MNight team is like my second family here in London, the family that I never knew I needed. I am humbled to see how their creative minds work and translate their ideas into the play. I am humbled to see how they were always open to receive ideas and comments from each other to improve themselves, when they're already so absurdly good to begin with!! I am humbled to see how they come together to build things up from scratch (cc that humongous time machine). I've learnt so, SO much from them, including the fact that the official language of Singapore is actually Malay. And their national anthem is in Malay #themoreyouknow .... Ok crying again now because I miss them already. God. I love my MNight family a little... A little bit too much. Didn't think I'd be this attached to them :'(((( Each and one of them was the star of the show, really. At the end of our final show, we all slowly crumbled down into ugly crying and hugging each other because we're just so sad that it's over tsk tsk.
When I said ugly crying, I mean ugly crying.
Dorothy went around giving out cards to everyone, including me, each of the card personally written for that specific person. Michelle also handed me a little note, saying she personally wrote it for me. I knew whatever that's written inside the card & note confirm sedih punya & will make me cry one so I decided not to read there, yet I was still reduced to the cengeng crybaby that I naturally am... I went over to Amir, sobbing and shaking and trying so hard to not look ugly (but failing...), trying to articulate (but failing... Again) how indebted I am to him, for believing in my abilities, and for forcing me to join the MNight. I cried with Nailah and Sorfina, knowing it'll be hard to see each other as often after this to teach Sorfina more Malay words. I simply burst out crying to everyone that I saw, including Kat, who said "Go away before I squish you. Oh God you're so cute Shahirah, can I carry you?"
Thank you to everyone who came to see our shows, especially Sappy, and KHouse + Zira and the gang + Najwa + Fatin who all came on the second night.
|Managed to make them do the Showtime pose!!! #achievement #unlocked|
|Rebecca and Zin, the ones who're responsible for the fantastic live music throughout the show, including when I sang Belaian Jiwa. We've decided to form a band and call ourselves Sheera And The Rest. Muehehe.|
KHouse managed to lure Sappy into their mischief to give me choc basket & vege basket during curtain call!!!
(You know how much our wok means to us right?? Haha. I borrowed it as one of the props for the play, and they're worried about it hahaha bengong.)
Meanwhile, Najwa and Fatin got me a bouquet of flowers.... ADORNED WITH PHOTOS OF MY FAVOURITE KDRAMA COUPLE!!! Aren't they the sweetest little pies!!!
I asked Najwa how did they know I love Healer, she said from my blog. And she also confessed that while googling for the photos, she actually fell for Ji Chang Wook! Hahahah comel je Najwa.
Well. Haih. What's better than waking up to flowers that colour coordinate with my laptop sleeve & duvet cover? Flowers that colour coordinate with my laptop sleeve & duvet cover and have a photo of Ji Chang Wook sticking out in between them!! I'm happy beyond words!!!! Bless the Almurisi sisters, always showering people with their love.
I finally had it in me to read the card that Dorothy gave me. It's from the Malaysian & Singaporean Society.
I'M SO SAD AND SO TERHARU AND IT'S VERY PERSONAL AND I DON'T THINK I WANT TO SHARE IT ON MY BLOG!!!!
Well except for this one bit :
" ... the emotions that you bring out (as Melur) are so raw and genuine. I was honestly moved & I could almost feel my eyes 'sweat', and that's when you know you've succeeded as an actress. We have indeed been blessed with your singing and dancing talent and also the seeming everlasting supply of donuts during every rehearsal!"
Yes guys. I brought the 70p Sainsbury's doughnuts to every rehearsal. I've been doing some promoting work for Sainsbury's, man I should get paid for all the new customers that I've attracted.
Michelle's note also made me cry tujuh lautan, her note is also very personal to me, but the most important takeaway message from her note :
"I hope Sainsbury would recognise you as their donut ambassador soon!"
How can I not cry when they write things like these?! :'(
As much as I'm sad it's over, I know it's imperative for me to focus on my studies again and get on with the assignments that I've been procrastinating due to MNight. Besides, I've been coming home late for the past few weeks, so Emma admitted that she misses me. She misses having the three of us having dinner together, watching movies together, playing cards together. KHouse is, after all, my first family here in London :)
#QMMNight2016 will be one of my fondest memories of uni life (and quite possibly the last time I sing in public haha). I'm secretly wishing that the time machine (from our play) actually works, so that we can travel back in time and do it all over again. Haih.