KR Hall Production: Those Who Can't, Teach #2
“Don’t think that just because you’re a teacher you’re going to change students’ lives. You’re not going to change anything.”
Did this quote trigger your curiosity? Well, then you definitely have to feast your eyes on Kent Ridge Hall Production’s adaption of Those Who Can’t, Teach to find out exactly why both KRHP Directors chose this as their favourite quote. With just 9 days to go to the première, KReporters are honoured to have had the opportunity to interview our very own KR Hall Production Directors, Tricia Ding and Justin May! The Directors are responsible for the overall unity of the production, coordinate the work of both actors and stage crew, and more importantly, give the production a unique creative direction.
Stay till the end, and you may stand a chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to the show! Without further ado, let us get a glimpse of the lives of our very own KRHP Directors!
Introduce yourselves! With any quirky facts about yourself.
Tricia: I’m Tricia, the Director of KR Hall Prod and I don’t eat chocolate.. It tastes weird to me.
Justin: I’m Justin, the other Co-Director and I’m... fine with chocolate.
Before we begin, can you draw me a picture that describes how you perceive the play?
Left: Justin's, Right: Tricia's. Justin only finished the drawing... at the very end of the interview.
Tell me about your creative vision; how you directed the play your way.
Justin: Well, both of us have different philosophies behind theatre. I lean more towards naturalism. I want theatre to mimic reality, almost like a slice of life. While acting is storytelling, it has to be something the audience can understand. I wanted the production to be as real as possible.
Tricia: It’s true. On the other hand, I can be considered a little more avant-garde. When you watch Those Who Can’t, Teach, you can see where our styles coincide and where they differ. My blocking [positioning on stage] can be weird, and not something you see everyday. But I think it works!
I see. As co-directors, especially with your differences in theatrical styles, how do you two complement each other then?
Tricia: I think… No. Laughs. Just kidding. It’s ironic, because the way we complement each other, is the very way that we are different.
Justin: What a cliché answer.
Tricia: But through negotiation, we are able to find a middle point.
Justin: We’ve learnt a lot from each other. Tricia is very idealistic, I’m more practical. Tricia is all like, “Can we do this? Can we do that?” And I usually respond with, “Well, we could, but…”
Tricia: That’s if I listen. Most of the time, I’m still like, “We can try!”.
For Justin: You play a dual role, both as Director, and as the character Zach. How would you describe your experience?
Justin: It was hard. As a director, you have to step back and see the big picture. But as the full runs went on, and I had to be on stage, I feel like I couldn’t give objective criticism, but I tried my best. With this gap, Tricia had to step in and do a lot of the directing.
Let’s move on to the play. What sort of person do you think would love Those Who Can’t, Teach?
Justin: Everyone who has gone through the education system and has some sort of gripe against it. From a student’s point of view, we used to idolise teachers, but we never really think about the lives they live. We see them as hardworking civil servants, doing everything they do for our benefit. But behind the scenes, in real life, there’s so much more than meets the eye, like office politics.
Tricia: Wait, My mum’s a teacher!
Justin: A cast member commented that the teachers in the play are bratty and have petty conversations. That’s when Tricia said, “My mum’s a teacher, and this is really what happens!”
Tricia: Beyond just school, as long as you’ve gotten an education anywhere, you will love the production. I think anyone see themselves in these characters because the characters are so diverse and complex. However, it is definitely more applicable to Singaporean students, and based on the values that schools try to inculcate in students.
I see. So what do you want the audience to think as soon as the production ends?
Tricia: Things are definitely never as they seem.
Justin looks like he is in pain.
Were there any funny moments during rehearsals?
Tricia: Too many. There was once we had this scene that we have rehearsed a million times before. It was going well, until Dadi slipped on his chair, and fell flat on his butt! Everyone just burst out laughing! It was funnier because when he stood up, he didn’t just fall down, his chair kind of flipped over too. I don’t know how!
And following that, what was the biggest challenge you two have faced?
Justin and Tricia: [together] Scheduling.
Justin: Everyone has many different commitments, that’s the nature of hall. And with school on top of that, everyone usually turns up for rehearsals feeling tired.
Tricia: Visualisation of the production was also hard, given that it was originally written for an intimate blackbox setting.
Justin: Yes, with an intimate space like a blackbox, there should be no emotional and physical distance between characters and the audience. With a bigger setting, this is harder to work around. On the flip side, I guess there is more space to show dynamics between the cast; we are not as limited by space.
Is there anything you would like to say to your team?
Justin: That’s a lot of people to thank. It’s cliche, but KRHP is so much more than what you see on stage. There’s so much effort put in by everyone, despite all our differences and obstacles faced. In the last run, when we saw everyone come together, everyone’s efforts coming together, it was heartwarming. We are really thankful for everyone’s time, be it painting sets, creating earrings to sell, extra hours for rehearsals, or even accomodating to last-minute timing changes.
Tricia: Everyone has been so accommodating and understanding. While we had our tough times, the fact that everyone is willing to stick through it and give their all is incredible. Even though we are technically supposed to lead them, when we watch them sometimes, we feel like we are being led as well.
Lastly: Any final words for aspiring directors?
Tricia: It’s very easy to overwork and to be overwhelmed by everything. There are three things I would like to pass on. Firstly, foresight.
Tricia: No. Secondly, management, and thirdly, self-care. Ironically, self-care is the most important because it’s way too easy to torture yourself to get things done, such as sacrifice food and sleep. That’s harmful. Tell yourself that it’s okay for things to fail, and remember to take a step back.
Justin: The team that you work with is very important. They are going be family to you. They will empathise and understand the stress and pressure you face that no one else can, not even your friends. So choose your team well.
With that, we concluded our interview session with our very talented, unique, and quirky KRHP Directors. Remember to visit the KRHP website to purchase your tickets before they sell out!
Tickets: $25 per ticket (GST inclusive), $22 each for bundles of 4 or more tickets
Venue: Anglo Chinese Junior College Faith Centre for Performing Arts
Opening Night - 23 February 2018 @ 7.30pm
Matinee Show - 24 February 2018 @ 2.00pm
Closing Night - 24 February 2018 @ 7.30pm
Missed the giveaway last week? Fret not, for KRonicles is *giving away 2 pairs of exclusive VIP tickets this week!*
All you have to do is:
1. Simply like KRHP’s Facebook page here
2. Share the page on your Facebook account with a caption of what you’re most looking forward to seeing in the Hall Production
We will pick a winner at the end of the week and contact you through your Facebook account, so stay tuned and stay connected! See you!