On to the hard questions. In this part of Danial Farhan’s interview, we find out more about him and his experience with ‘Conundrum’, a one-man show he performed in November 2015.
1. Tell us your life story in 5 words.
Acceptance, Change, Family, Crossroads & Food.
2. Now describe yourself in 5 words.
Indecisive, Adaptable, Smart, Emotional & Ambitious.
3. Why did you choose to explore the creative arts?
A teacher of mine once said that the arts is one of the safest place in this world to express yourself. I guess the desire to express myself creatively and the need to grow in a safe environment, while constantly pushing myself would be a good reason as to why I chose to explore the creative arts.
4. What is your approach to doing creative work and which part of the creative process do you enjoy the most?
I believe my approach in doing creative work is to just dive in and take the plunge. Because if I don’t do that, I’ll give myself room for doubt and then I won’t get anything done.
My favourite part of the creative process are split into two moments:
The starting process where everything is just a bunch of ideas and thoughts.
The finish line, the final masterpiece.
5. You have performed in a variety of shows, one of the more recent ones being a one-man show called Conundrum. Tell us about that.
Conundrum was crafted as a platform that forced me to take a look at the world around me, and really wonder how do we deal with our pain. The good, the bad, the ugly and the truth. How we feel about loss, how we deal with it, and how we heal from it. From that concept, I penned a bunch of writings based on my personal experiences with loss, and streamlined it to the concept of the 5 stages of grief.
6. How different is it to perform a one-man show as opposed to ensemble work?
Well, a one-man show is a lot more harder! I had no idea how the process would be like. At times, I felt alone, confused and lost. I did not know which step to go in next, and was stuck for the longest time. With ensemble work, you get to feed off your casts’ energy and creativity. But you can’t do that on your own. You have to find your own drive and momentum and keep pushing.
I am thankful that I had a fellow actor-friend, Claudia Bertalanffy, to join me as my director and helped me figure out the confusing bits. When she came on board, everything became clearer and we finally worked out a proper structure to a show. She pushed me way out of my comfort zone, and because of that, there was always something new, something refreshing brought out in every rehearsal.
7. What did you do to prepare for Conundrum?
I had to homogenise a lot of people that I know, people who dealt with pain differently and through that I learned to make bold choices that revealed different layers of myself. I also had to deal with my fear. It was a super scary process for me but at that time, I told myself that’s exactly how I should feel. Putting up your own work should scare you. By risking failure, you make truthful discoveries.
The toughest thing about Conundrum was recreating. It’s all my words, my writings and my experience… but how do I recreate them? I had to always remind myself that every single writing brings with it an ignorance and an insecurity, and so I had to approach it with the same curiosity and humility.
8. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in your creative journey so far?
I think the biggest lesson I have learnt is to always find work. Dreams don’t work unless you do and that was a very important lesson for me. If you cannot find work then create your own work.
9. Are there other kinds of creative work would you like to explore in the future, aside from acting?
I have always wanted to choreograph a dance/movement piece and there are still days where I dream of touring globally in a ballet company haha!
10. What do you think is the greatest challenge young people face in pursuing the arts?
The temptation to switch to a more stable career choice, with greater prospects.This is a challenge that is very real for me. I think generally people like to follow routines and patterns, securing them stability in their lives. Pursuing the arts require a lot of time and dedication and sometimes it is easier to give up and find another calling. To resist that temptation is the greatest challenge for young artists.
Also, the completely unnecessary need to get famous.