Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thaipusam Possession @ Little India

The area around my school was exceptionally crowded today, as it coincides with the Hindu festival of Thaipusam. This is a very important religious festival for the Tamils, characterized by the carrying of Kavadi by the worshippers and parading on the road. On this day, faithful Hindu devotees who had previously prayed to Lord Murugan to avert some calamities and granted will make offerings to the Lord by carrying the Kavadi, a heavy burden with many spokes, and is to be carried on the shoulders of the devotees by piercing the spokes into the skin on the chest and back.

This is my first time observing a Thaipusam possession, not deliberately, but while waiting for my bus back home. It was an eye-opener for me; the devotees on Kavadi were accompanied by an entourage of people, probably members of their family, relatives or circle of friends, cheering and singing along to ferocious percussion beats. Being already in a trance-like state, these devotees were unable to feel the pain or bleed from the piercing. The Hindus attribute to this phenomenon to the power of their Lord, but I believe too that without the determination and perseverance of the devotees themselves, it would be very difficult to finish the whole route with that massive weight on their bodies. This to me is a rather moving scene.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A.C. Paper Theatre

I've just built a theatre of my own, in location of my bedroom! Actually it was model theatre, which I had done up to aid me in my scenography work which will be becoming more significantly important in my opera troupe. I'm not too sure how it will affect me as an actor (since I didn't join the troupe initially to do behind-the-scene works), but most likely I'll be busier than ever.

My paper theatre: made of mounting boards and cartridge paper.

Stage is modeled after the one at Chong Pang Community Club's multi-purpose hall (the venue which we perform the most frequent), with a scale of 1:50, including all props and model actors.

Can you see who they are? They're Amai and Yanni, two of my model actors!

My other model actors.

In case you can't tell how big/ small my paper theatre is, here's a clue to it!