Saturday, April 23, 2005

Saying Goodbye

Maturity is the process of looking at your past without the filter of nostalgia.

Last evening, I returned to my alma mater to have a sneak peek of their upcoming production, Camelot. I have a friend who's now teaching there. She was my junior in ACJC drama. She's now a teacher-in-charge. My old, greatly-loved Drama teacher-in-charge is still there, but with more white hair.

Things are a lot different now, after ten years and two renovations. The drama room where I spent many an hour rehearsing for Arthur Miller plays now looks like a dance studio. There's no more carpet to tear facial skin when we got too rough.

I looked at the cast. They are good. Boy are they good. Back when we were doing our first musical, we worked off the "two-out-of-three" principle. Meaning, if you could two out of the three of sing, dance or act, you're good enough for a lead role. Now, these actors and actresses can sing, dance and act. They are lovely too. All of them. Postively glowing with the radiance of youth. Arthur was charismatic enough to hold the entire stage by himself. I could hear, see, feel the strength of Guinevere's characterisation. 18 year olds are not supposed to be that talented.

It's not fair.

Yet, for a moment when I watched them rehearse, I felt drawn back to a time when I, too, was struggling with lifts, stretching out a cramp or starting from sratch yet again because someone missed a cue. I miss the days when the only tough decision I had to make was to whether to skip class.

Who'd have known, 10 years later, that I had to decide to skip Singapore altogether?

Eyes were on me when I went into that rehearsal. Not that many eyes - I was just one of many alumni that have walked in and out of rehearsals. I know they were wondering what in dickens I was doing there. Kids, I'm saying my goodbyes. I don't know you, but you are the successors of a legacy we worked very hard to build. And watching you at that rehearsal, I'm glad it's you. This place has no place for me now. I understand that now.

I promised to have dinner with my drama friend and my teacher-in-charge. As usual, rehersals ran late and there was another ticketing crisis. As I walked out, I hesitated, then walked out. I couldn't look back. If I looked back I would never leave.

I mouthed my silent goodbyes to the place that contained so many happy memories. Goodbye ACJC. I will miss you.

Postscript: I'm going to watch Camelot. It's shit-hot, if what I see at the rehersals is any indicator. Performance is 25 - 28 May, 8 p.m at the Centre of Performing Arts, ACS Barker. Tickets priced at Tickets: $50, $100 and $200. If anyone wants tickets, email me at khaycelim-at-hotmail-dot-com.

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