Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The story behind 'Breakfast with the Dogs'

Ah Sim - Marina Tan
Uncle David - Omar Ali
Ah Seong - Alfred Loh
Maniam - Vicky Balasundran
Phao Beh - Tung Jit Yang
Indon worker - Shamaine Othman
Dog shooters - Megat Sharizal & Branavan Aruljothi

Director: David Lim

When I first learned about the Kakiscript competition I dug up some old storylines and plots to see if anything would be interesting to be modified into a ten minute play and one of them was Breakfast with the Dogs. I already had the title, the idea and was planning to write it as a short story that I could put together some day.

It started a long time ago when I was very much younger where I witnessed a bunch of old and middle aged men having a massive meaty breakfast in an open air coffee shop in some small town. They were, of course, strays dogs around that gave the story the title. We were literally having breakfast with the dogs.

During these encounters, at eating places, I find that people tend to share a lot about their lives, principles, gossips, thoughts, what nots and what have yous. It was an easy piece for me to write because the characters were so clear and real in my mind. It was as though I was eavesdropping every word that I wrote in that piece. After completion, since I didn't have access to a printer or live close to a post office, I bothered a wonderful friend to see if you could do me the favor all they way in Kuching (and I was in KL). And he did. He got it printed in copies and mailed it to Kakiseni from Kuching.

On the 30th of October 2007 I received an email confirming my shortlisted piece and I was thrilled and excited to get another kick-start to my writing career. One of the most delightful times was a meeting we had at Kakiseni's office to decide on certain issues related to some of the selected plays. I could still remember among me were professional writers, producers, actors, performers and notable names in the industry. And the main topic of discussion that night was, 'To print or not to print'.

And on the 8th of February 2011, David Lim, the director, wrote to me and told me he wanted to stage it. I was once again thrilled and excited that after so many years someone actually still read the book. Finally, I watched it on a Saturday night on the 5th of March and saw how the characters who spoke to me once upon a time come to life in a little corner of the world at KLPac.

It was a memorable night with lots of laughter for all the plays and I only wished more people could have seen such a wonderful mix of talents and satire.

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