Nat Sy and Australian comedian Frank Woodley
(NOTE: Nat has just completed a very successful drama season in his first year post school.
I asked him to pen a few thoughts...1200 words later...)“The riddle gets solved, and you push me up to this state of emergency. How beautiful to be?”
The last few months have been the most difficult times I’ve ever faced; so many transitions, so many changes, so many new challenges. Through these challenges however, I’ve been given opportunity, and within those opportunities, I’ve met some really great and genuine people.
My name is Nathaniel Sy, a Casey Grammar Graduate 2010. I’m currently studying Live Production, Theatre and Events at Swinburne University of Technology. Throughout the past few months, I’ve achieved so much more than I would have expected of myself; in the first 6 months, I set up and operated for 2 seasons of low budget student shows. During the mid year break; I was hired out by Mr. Frank Minniti, owner and founder of “After Dark Theatre Company” to operate sound for the entire season of “Limbo, a Circus Journey.”To be able to achieve this, and a few little things on the side, in my first half year of study left me astonished, and surprised at how far I have come, and how far I wish to go within the entertainment industry.
This last week however, I’ve exceeded my limits by pushing myself to the absolute edge mentally and physically. I volunteered to work for the National Institute of Circus Arts Australia in celebrating their 10th Birthday. To highlight this special occasion, NICAA honoured the Circus Arts by organising the first Melbourne Circus festival, which I was very privileged to be a part of.
Working with such people as:
The cast of: Circus Trick Tease
Picture from: http://www.circustricktease.com/images/ui/history-hero.jpg
Shannon McGurgan, Farhad Ahadi, and Malia Walsh were amazing people to work with, and just good people to have an all round good time. It was a great season lighting the trio, and drinks to the hilarious conversations on headsets with the brilliant Stage Manager - Bek Moore. Me Gusta!
Marko Respondeck in putting on NICA’s: Circus Cabaret:
Every day for the week, we would have an extremely quick tech rehearsal at 2pm and end at 4:30pm, as the show started every night at 7:30pm (and usually with a Circus Trick Tease show running at 5:30pm). The most challenging part of this was being able to plot different acts for every night, in such a short space of time. Marko Respondeck, being a world class Lighting Designer, was able to quickly liaise with performers and the Director, and plot lighting states in 15 minutes per performer, ready for the performance at night. To be able to witness this, and work alongside him was a huge privilege just to see what kind of level the professionals at. Marko really inspired me.
“...to be able to do this job, you first need a system your lights obey by; when you have the complicated maths out of the way, you can focus on vision. Not just the Artistic Vision, but using your mind to see what the lights must do to compliment the sound and music.” - Words of wisdom from the trusted Lighting Designer for Circus Oz.
The Circus Cabaret was mainly a display of Circus acts over candle lit tables, showing what NICA has produced of 10 years of Circus Art. The show was hosted by a different Ring Master every night from the best NICA entertainers, to Cath Jamison (Melbourne’s best Female Magician), to Australia’s very own Frank Woodley. It was a huge honour to be able to illuminate Mr. Woodley, and a defining moment when he thanked me onstage.
Meeting people from all years at NICA, and the crew behind the Circus Festival has inspired me to step up my game, and work harder towards what I dream to be. Even though throughout the festival, my schedule was working from Monday 26th of September, to Friday 30th of September – from 8:30am to 10:30pm every night, I did not complain. This was only a small taste of what the industry will be like, and I have realized there is soo much more to learn.
If this is what I have done in just my first year of study, who knows what opportunities lie out there in a full career? Just in one week, I’ve made a huge network of important people, but better yet, making friends and having a good time working with all of them. They have all inspired me and taught me what it is like to live a life making the stage work – to make the stage go from vision, to reality. I don’t think this is a dream anymore. By working hard, to the best of my ability, and using EVERYTHING I have learnt, and putting it into action, I have made this dream I have so whimsically dreamt, into the reality I want it to be.
To the kids at Casey Grammar reading this, I tell you now to not doubt the education the teachers there have to teach you. Their wisdom and guidance will shape you to the person you want to be. Even if you think they are wrong, it’s only a part of the learning process – to accept. The knowledge they pass onto you will never be left useless. When you leave school, you will meet people with a wide range of likes and interests – and everything the school has left with you comes into action.
Whatever field you wish to get into, be dedicated, passionate, and strengthen your resolve; do the research, put in the hours to learn – do this, and the dream melds with reality, because reality is whatever you want it to be.
The quote above is from a song I have been listening to on repeat since I got home from my last night of work. It’s a song that has prompted me to reflect on everything that has passed, and the people who have defined my character.
Charlotte sometimes would tell me “Things happen for a reason,” and being cynical, would brush these words aside. But as History develops, and as the story progresses, I realise that if it were not for the things that happened, and if it wasn’t for the people I loved and hated, I wouldn’t be writing this very piece about the things I have achieved in my first year out of school. She will always be my greatest inspiration.
What you wish to be is never out of reach, all your dreams and aspirations – keep them close with you. There will be times when you will tell yourself you can’t do – and if you leave it be, those words will haunt you. But when you hold your aspirations close to your heart, the plans in your head and the will to just do it – then you’re unstoppable.