Manchester MNight 2016: A Night to Remember

The stage lights went dark. It was a wrap. Viva la Vida started playing in the background as the emcees for the night announced the end of 2016’s Malaysian Night and I yelled out, “IT’S OVER!” while throwing both my hands into the air triumphantly. My fellow props team members were seen in similar moods, joining in the collective cheering all the stage crew and cast and dancers were inducing.

I tweeted a series of tweets right after I got home that night at 4 in the morning, a rare emotion bubbling in my chest until I figured out it was satisfaction. Satisfaction of all our efforts paying off. During curtain call, when everyone gathered on stage to bow and thank the audience for watching, all I felt (besides obvious exhaustion) was happiness and gratitude for being a part of something as amazing as this. It hadn’t always been this way; being the extreme cynic I am, I wasn’t entirely too gung-ho about the whole concept of MNight, and I initially signed up to volunteer to help out just so I didn’t have to pay to watch the show. But I gradually warmed up to it. The people, the production, the work. All the meetings and Having To Socialise and minor conflicts and spending hours after classes at rehearsals to come home and pass out from the exertion — all of them paid off. I noticed the effort every single person was putting into the show and appreciated it so much, and gradually grew to admire and love what I was working for and thus was able to put in all my effort to make it work too. And that, was the huge blossoming feeling within me that made me grin non-stop at the end of the show, seeing the literal incredibility of everyone coming together to make something as huge as this production work perfectly.

Just an hour and a half prior to the final call, during the intermission, there was a point when May and I exchanged looks, declaring in disbelief that half the show was already over. The lengthy amount of time spent to refine the show, the running around, trying to remember which scenes we had to exit and enter and with what props, the actual construction of the props in the form of umbrella trees and box bushes, all of them amounted to only these four hours (or so) of showtime, and at the end of it all, there was, in place, the satisfaction of putting in the effort and seeing the end product materialise amazingly. But most important of all, the satisfaction was shared with so many other people in the room.

I am aware I barely possess the right to feel proud of something that I only contributed slightly to, but I am just in awe that this is what success feels like. And for something that I don’t even feel very attached to like MNight, I sure do feel a lot of emotions about it. Good job everyone, I am super proud of the MNight committee and literally everyone who piled in efforts to make The Kampong happen. It was an incredible experience and I couldn’t ask for a better MNight performance to be my first.

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Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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