17 December 2010

Performing Arts...And Me

And so it ends, an eventful first term in university life as a second year student. It was just like the seniors said it would be, way more taxing and demanding but I for one, am not complaining. If anything, it made me more determined to study and work harder than last year and Alhamdulillah, if I remember correctly my grades this term are better than what I got last year at approximately the same time :) With a job well done, I look forward to a 3 weeks winter break albeit with no winter trip this year. Well, at least not yet,haha. As I sit in front of my laptop while reading my UCL M.Night's script...my head began to wander (as it always does, unfortunately) to how did it come to this? And by this I mean acting on stage in front of hundred's of people come February next year, comprising of not only Malaysians but also locals...what if my English was not good enough? would they laugh at my accent? And yet, something tells me I relish doing this very much, the possibility of making people cry at my tears or laugh at my jokes....needless to say, I'm really looking forward to be on stage to be honest! To say that it runs in the family is a fallacy, as I don't think no one else in my family (extended family included) are that into what I'd like to call 'performing arts', at least not that I know of. Nevertheless, I can't say that's the case with me really...and it all started way back when I was in primary school even!

According to Wikipedia (not too dependable but hey as long as it sounds flashy, its fine by me!) , performing arts can be defined as a form of art which "uses the artist's own body, face and presence as a medium" of conveying a message. By this definition, performing arts would include comedians, dancers, magicians, actors, musicians and singers. Personally, I'm not a very funny man with my best attempts of making a joke often ending with silent approval (or was that disapproval?), I have 2 left frog feet at size 11, and despite my long fingers, I'm not that agile with them so if you're expecting a sleight of hand from me, blink you'll miss it...even if you don't blink you'll still miss it because it wasn't even there! haha (cue crickets in the background). So yes, my passion in this did not stem from a break in comedy, a phenomenal jump in tango or a trick up my sleeve. And yet, in that sense I can attribute it to the remaining three left :)

Singing...hmm, I think this one started way back when I was in primary school and to be more specific, during my time in ABIM Evening Classes. Besides the core Islamic teaching routines, students were also encouraged to get involved in extracuricullar activities to make each and every student more holistic. I for one was chosen to join the local nasyid team and brought the song Shautul Nadza. The competition was held in Perlis and we were up against 20 teams from the Northern Zone comprising of Perlis, Kedah and Penang. Against all odds, we were selected as the winner and was duly rewarded to a prize giving session somewhere north of Kedah, a big deal at that time for kids like us. But at that time, I didn't think that I was going to grow and go on liking singing, a fact supported by my 5 years absence from it altogether in Koleq.

You Are The Music in Me with Sabrina

Satu Pagi Di Hari Raya with self proclaimed Krew Artis KYUEM :P

Somehow, that all changed when I was enrolled into KYUEM. Being one of those nerd looking guys in the batch, I was somehow pushed by my house captain to perform during the weekly assembly. Back then, assemblies were organized by houses on a rotation system and such is the norm that they are expected to bring some sort of entertainment at the end to wrap it all up. Lack of time and lack of personnel, I was told to go for it with support from my colleagues. Nervous? you bet I was! And so we sang "Mungkin Nanti - Peterpan" to a somehow acceptive crowd, much to my surprise. By the end of it, we were congratulated by a number of personnel. Personally, I was just happy to get it over with,haha! From then on, I'd say I'd become more inclined to sing at any possible opportunity. I agree that my voice is not that great, but I'd also say its not the worst out there, a fact that I'm totally happy to admit to. Mum had to plug her ears quite a number of times really and all the while questioning where did I get this sudden urge to sing. Long story Mak,hehe. :P Anyway, as I said I got quite active from then on, singing songs like You Are The Music In Me in Musica Fiesta (albeit with little success,haha) to nasyid performances during Raya Festivals, all the while supplemented from constant Interhouse competitions. And to my surprise, I didn't lose the singing bug while I'm here too. I'm now in a nasyid team based in London called Soutussalam. Alhamdulillah, we managed to achieve 2nd place in the annual Nasyid Extravaganza competition earlier this year so on a collective note, we aim to get first place next time out,hehe. InsyaAllah, we'll make it happen :)

Wondering what I did during my 5 years in Koleq then? For those who know me well enough back then, they usually recognize me as a school debater in English, a journey continued from my humble beginnings as a public speaker in my early days in primary school. On certain occasions, I'm also known as a trumpeter for the school's band. Something about bands seems really appealing to me. No, not the kind of rock bands like Aerosmith and Green Day, but bands like the ones you usually see accompanying solo ballad performances in concerts. And so I was assigned to play the trumpet since my 1st year in the team. The trumpet, being a brass instrument requires full control of vibrating your lips in order to determine the specific note to be played, not an easy thing to do especially in the heat under the hot sun after marching for miles, trust me. But still, I find being a part of it as a real pleasure since we get to pump out songs and pieces like the ever popular My Heart Will Go On to the less well known yet equally enthralling Majestia. My only disappointment was that after 4 attempts, the best we could reach was only consecutive Silver Awards with the Gold remaining elusive. Despite KYUEM's capacity to fulfill the needs of its students, one bleak point was the lack of orchestra instruments and the maintenance equipment needed to keep them functioning and as a result I simply stopped playing. Although Koleq is now performing ever so well with consistent Gold Medals, I'd jump if given the opportunity to go through it all over again...and yes, including the constant cross country training sessions and marching practises under the hot sun :)

MCKK Sports Day Marching Band. Sweating trumpeter at the back not visible :)

And last but never the least, acting. There's a funny side to this really. My first experience caused me to get 'gossiped' (if such a word existed) to a girl for the very first time. Acting as one of 4 blind men in a school play entitled...well, 4 Blind Men and The Elephant, the part required me to touch her scarved head to identify her as a girl. To this day I wonder how did I even agree to do it, was it my ignorance or was it due to the fact that I didn't really mind. Either way, being primary school kids, they'd jump at the very opportunity to associate a boy to a girl and vice versa, something if I'm not mistaken called 'puppy love' nowadays. After all that, we went into a competition at Zone stage, 2 teams competing and we lost,haha :S Nevertheless, the outcome of the experience was an enjoyable one personally as it introduced me to the fact that for once, you can escape from your shell of reality to being anyone you want on the stage.

Irshad as Tunku and me as the British Governor. Told you he's fair :)

KYUEM rekindled that flame. It began with a simple Induction Week performance as a British Governor (I tried for the Tunku role against my pal Irshad, but lost. So in the end, we had a 'fair' looking Tunku and a slightly 'opaque' British Governor,hehe :P) And yet, somehow my house seniors were pleased enough to assign me acting parts in the annual Bangsawan competition, albeit with only 3 lines :) Personally, I find the thrills and preparation for acting very engaging. With all the usual mispronounced lines and initially fake looking silat scenes, there was never a dull moment. Occasional work with the backstage crew, the technical crew and the props team were also eye opening as as performance day grew ever closer, one fully appreciates how well and how significant they had to perform in order to make everything go as smoothly as possible. Despite a number of bloopers like forgetting my lines as a Greco-Roman statue to improvisation when the Sultan's golden pendant didn't fall (literally) as planned, acting still had a place in my heart.

Death in the arms of your young prince. Not easy to pull off, trust me.

Sometimes, when you least expect an opportunity and it presents itself to you, you just don't know what to do. In this instance, I was offered to act as a guy called Hafiz in a soon to be made Malaysian movie based in London. This is it! This could be my big break! I'll be treading the very similar path to Lisa Surihani's meteoric rise and fame and fortune will be mine! :D But come decision time, I opted out of it....What are you doing Baku? You're missing this once in a lifetime opportunity! And to be fair, probably I did. But you know what, when thinking that I was paid using taxpayers money to study here and be successful in my field, and considering that I'd need to score well to progress to next year, I think the decision was justified enough. Was it easy? No it wasn't. Was it right? Personally, yes. However, at the very least, that reignited my interest in acting once again, and hence here I am memorising my lines for UCL's M.Night next year. An easy role this is not but InsyaAllah by February, I'd do well enough to get a pat on the back from Director Kevin. :)

And that's basically it really about me and this world called performing arts. On a personal note, I'd very much like to be given the opportunity to be in a musical, a theatrical musical to be exact. So far, I've seen Tunku back in Malaysia and Phantom of The Opera along with Les Miserables here in London. A combination of music and lyrics....oh the sweet, sweet experience of being in one! Acknowledging my current limitations in both my acting and singing capabilities, I wouldn't mind it being just a small role, just to enjoy the excitement and thrills all over again :) to any prospecting talent recruiters out there, I had my say. :) Now back to my lines....oh, and happy holidays everyone!


Nabila Azureen Azis said...

now you should try writing books! it's part of the art too, and it can be performed too. hihi, no kidding, you wrote so long for this post. congrats! keep up your good work! :D

Farhan Baku said...

haha, its just one of those moments that you feel like reminiscing every single thing that you've done in life. doubt anyone will have read the whole post though considering how long it is,hehe. hmm, I haven't written any books yet but I do have a personal collection of my own poems, so I guess that's a start :D

da stOry bEgins... said...

nicE Entry . . .
btw , u abg nazrEen ??

Farhan Baku said...

yes, I'm Nazreen's elder brother. may I ask who might you be?