Is it me or has this 2016 been moving at light speed? It’s already February but it feels like only a few weeks ago that I was wishing you a Happy New Year.
That said, to all our Chinese students, friends, family, colleagues and everyone else in between, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy Chinese New Year.
This past month, HCAC was involved in hosting two master teachers from Italy in a Commedia Dell’Arte (CDA) workshop. Through conversations with the instructors, I found out how CDA was fundamental in giving women opportunities in professional art making and how CDA as a whole was the first form of professional theatre in the world. It blows my mind how something as a simple as an Italian mask could kickstart what we have now, of creating art through different forms of media, featuring people of all ages, races, cultures and genders.
Photo: With Paola Raho (left) and Michele Guaraldo (right), the CDA master teachers from Italy
Another piece of news I’m proud to share is my own personal victory at the first ever Story Slam Singapore Grand Slam Finals. I shared a story involving an emergency medical procedure that happened because I avoided doing my homework. Perhaps one of the most humbling things I discovered during the event was how I still get extremely nervous before performing. Some of my students who came to watch me mentioned that they noticed how jittery I was. I had to consciously remind myself to relax and focus on my goal. In many ways, I’m thankful for my nerves. They reminded me that I was risking something – and really, what is art without risk? My nerves at that time remind that I am still alive, still breathing, still aware and still cherishing the work that I make. I only hope to love what I do and do what I love for many more years to come. (I dream of living until I’m 101 years old, by the way.)
Photo: Story Slam Singapore Grand Slam (Photo by Ethel Tan)
On a more sombre personal note, January saw the passing of my first ever acting teacher in Los Angeles. His name was Marc Marno. Only upon his passing did I realize how much of an influence his words and teaching style had on me. In my eyes, he was the closest I’ll ever get to a lost generation of master teachers and directors. May he rest in peace.
At HCAC, every semester in 2016 comes with a guest instructor and/or a series of masterclasses. For the upcoming semester, David Glass will be joining us in Singapore and conducting two masterclasses: The Authentic Voice and The Child. I’ve personally attended The Authentic Voice last year. “Throttle the adult” was what David Glass liked to say during the workshop. In many ways, that is especially important to us as artists – how can we reverse years of social conditioning to return to our truest selves? How can we do the things we want to do, to own the feelings we have? Only when we ditch “safe” can we truly create works that are bold and ask questions of culture, society and humanity that nobody else would ask. That is perhaps our vocation.
Speaking of masterclasses, I was recently featured in Issue 34 of A-List magazine (http://a-list.sg/online/issue34/). I cannot be more honoured. What I personally love about Masterclasses is how they can rile you up with new perceptions, insights and techniques all in a short period of time (that is, when they are conducted well). The seasoned performer attends masterclasses to add new techniques and skills to his or her repository. The beginner comes to these masterclasses to be exposed to the diversity of forms and practices in the world of the arts. It is so important in our profession to keep learning. It’s the only way for the work to keep moving forward.
Before I end off, I’d like to take this chance to present to you ‘The Savage/Love of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea’, a show that I’ll be directing, produced by The Stageclub in Singapore. The show features more than 20 actors and performers from all walks of life in a multi-media presentation of the hurting and healing effects of love. The characters in the film and the play are from the same shared universe (despite coming from two separate published plays by different playwrights) – and I hope that you will experience this world with us. Tickets are available on www.sistic.com.sg
I am going to sign off now, but I’ll catch you soon for my entry next month. Thank you for sticking by and reading this. Once again, have a very Happy Chinese New Year.
With Hope Towards the Future,
Actor’s Calling is a series of articles written personally by Kamil Haque, founder of the Haque Centre for Acting & Creativity. In this series, Kamil hopes to share his personal journey. He explores his vision for the school, growth as an actor and experiences as a teacher. The series also seeks to dispel some of the common misunderstandings about Actors and Method Acting.