Let’s just skip through all the “First post” excitement and get straight down to Literature Night. I’ve been told I beat around the bush a lot. Well, not today, I won’t:) Not tonight, at least.
From the very start of JC year 1, it was pretty much well established that Literature Night was something our entire 01 Class looked forward to. Our batch had great singers, great actors, great dancers, all eager to perform. But then again, there are in every batch. I remember our first time sitting in LT5. We had bad seats. The very top right corner. And my classmates bitched about how they should have thought to reserve seats for the JC1 Lit Cohort. I remember how Pei Yi was reminded of this ghost story Miss Ni told us and convinced me to change seats with her so she wouldn’t have to sit next to an empty seat. I remember how much the LT5 tables sucked back then and my wallet rolled (and flew) down the stairs about 5 times.
I remember how I could not take my eyes of the stage, whether the performance was good or not.
I remember thinking to myself, “I think I’m gonna love it here.”
Coming from a school that made no secret about valuing the sciences over the Arts – even going to the extent of not offering Art for the express stream students specifically- I fell in love with SR’s embrace of Literature and the Arts. Lit Night, the Renaissance Room, how they not only tolerated but worked with and around the Arts students’ carefree and often bratty ways of stubbornly insisting on what they feel is right. They made no attempt to shush us (or if they did, they didn’t really try because we didn’t listen). Instead, our teachers doted on us and loved us, and nurtured us to be each, outspoken individuals. In turn, most of us wanted to do better and be better, to do them proud.
JC took up two years of my life. In those two years, I laughed everyday. But I was never happier than when I was acting in “Happily Never After”(however true to the irony this may sound). Drama was familiar to me. Acting, vocal exercises, long rehearsals… Lit Night was not. Lit Night was slacker. We had creative freedom and a lot more fun. I enjoyed myself despite the stress I felt from trying to act as Desdemona, a role many of my friends believed came naturally to me but had me staring into space often for long periods of time trying to get into character. It’s difficult to explain but despite many shallow similarities, I could not identify with Desdemona. Who gives up family for a man she barely knows? And does not bother communicating with the man she claims to love?
Now, he probably won’t be reading this but having Antony (AKA Othello) as my main acting partner throughout the entire journey really made things so much easier. Prior to Lit Night, having been in the same PW group, living in Woodlands and going through retest together, we developed, I guess you can call it a different kind of understanding of each other. And having that bond made all the hugging and fake hand-kissing scenes so much less awkward and brought a sense of comic relief to the killing and abuse scenes. Best moments included when Othello left the bag of money he was supposed to have in his pocket on the bed. And the ring he was supposed to put on my finger backstage HAHA 😀
Even now, I am so glad that when we came back to SR to coach our Lit Juniors, we still found the same brother-sister rapport we had from a year of being classmates. Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy that bond because he literally proposed to me on stage then left for Australia a week later. Thanks so much, Antz;)
From getting killed and putting an end to my happy ending, to watching a bunch of people get knocked out in ‘Disenchanted’, it wasn’t that unfamiliar to me. Initially I was afraid to give too much feedback, mostly because we had already graduated. And I didn’t know if the juniors would appreciate having us breathing down their necks about blocking, expressions and enunciation, when the truth is we shouldn’t even have been there at all. I only began actively giving advice openly without Antony around when one of the actors, notorious for his ego, showed me that he could leave it at the door.
“OK sure. Thanks. Anything else?”
I think in that moment my first reaction was to detect sarcasm in his tone though it wasn’t there. It was just a very genuine “What else can I do to put up a great performance?” And that made me think of our Lit Night, and what we would have given for a little more direction. After that, I didn’t hold back. Blocking, stage positions, costume, tone, expression- we gave the most honest opinion we could. We scrutinised every detail and we did not hesitate to lay their BS down and out for them. Because in Ming En’s words, “This is OUR legacy. They better not screw it up.” HAHA. But we all knew they would never. Reality usually kicks in 3 days before Lit Night. And while they weren’t ready, neither were we a year ago and… the show went on anyway.
Every rehearsal, I sat in a different seat and made myself comfortable. Every rehearsal I saw a different angle, a different perspective, new improvements. Every rehearsal I felt more proud of the kids. Each day I missed Lit Night a bit more.
The last 2 weeks felt like a whirlwind of quick but firmly etched memories. And I will never understand the magic of how we watched all the acts so many times, and yet on Lit Night, we laughed and smiled and gripped our hands tightly together in anticipation of the various acts, as if we were watching them with the excitement we had 2 weeks ago when we first walked into rehearsals. At first I thought it was just me. But Kim’s long instagram post, Antony’s offer to talk to the Viva La Vida boys, and Ming En texting me early in the morning to unleash her excitement made me realize how much as a class, we missed Lit Night. We missed SR.
And of course we were immensely proud of and excited for our juniors, and I never thought we’d be able to care so much about a group of people we’ve only known properly for half a month. After our Lit Night, I was exhausted and semi-happy it was over, though I definitely had more than my fair share of withdrawl symptoms. After their Lit Night I felt tears because I was just so happy. It was almost like each in their own unique way, they edged themselves into our hearts, and even before Lit Night was over, we knew. We all knew. That we would miss these endearing kids very much.
A really big thank you to the kiddos who embraced our feedback graciously, although we were a lot more strict with you guys than your audience would ever have been. And to the juniors who didn’t like having us there to point out all the flaws in your performances, and even scold you to step up in your teams, thank you for taking our advice eventually anyway. 🙂
As different as our pre and post A Level lives may be, I think there is almost sort of an unspoken pact that we will always be there for the juniors we’ve met during Literature Night. Because apparently that’s what being an SR Lit Student means. Being there for one another, Feeling a sense of attachment to Lit Night, Loving more openly and easily than anyone can. Thank you Miss G for passing down such a wonderful legacy to us:) We will always be grateful for that.