"Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." -- Sanford Meisner


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Saturday, June 23, 2012


. .

Title: Cigar (10-minutes)
Script Writer/Director: Raven Navaro, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)
Actors: Michael Chua, Jack Ngu, Esther Low.
Production date: 17 April 2012.

This is a final year project of Raven Navaro, from NAFA. I accepted this role in part to support a student project  and also because I like the character of the emotionally beaten up cynic who expresses his romantic jeopardy eloquently using the metaphor of cigars.

I had only one day to memorize and internalise the script and the whole ten-minute film was shot in six hours in a pub in Little India, Singapore. It didn't help that the location was available one hour late, to start off with. 

Eventually, we overran by two hours to the dismay of the pub owner, who was also upset that we smoked in his premises - something he thinks is illegal in Singapore - which could well be a mere paranoia, as a pub is not a 'pub' (or 'public house' in full) until it is opened to the public. Indeed,  a uniquely Singaporean argument through and true, one that is self-regulating and self-censuring with a blind obedience to the law. 

This film is about the main character Matthew, played by yours truly, who has just broken up with his girl friend, only to stumble onto an attractive young lady in the pub who was irritating him with her cigar smoke. As it turned out, the young lady was lighting the cigar as a sign of respect and remorse for not being able to safely deliver a baby and that the baby finally died the day before. 

As he found out later that she is a doctor and her reason for lighting up, he felt embarrassed and apologised, thereby turning the unfriendly and accidental encounter into a blossoming romance. That in part facilitated by the bartender who brought the two together to rekindle, while keeping the distance and etiquette that bartenders are not to interfere with the private affairs of customers.

In the end, just out from a failed relationship, Matthew felt cold feet at the prime time to commit his love for the young lady and brought the otherwise happy relationship to an abrupt end. Instead, he lays the blame on a Goddess that he thinks exists in the pub who is jealous and loves putting any romance that happens in the pub to disappear just like his cigar smoke.


By the way, did I look miserable enough to play the role of the heartbroken Matthew? :)
I normally do not smoke, but did this only for the purpose of the shoot. Esther (playing the lady character) on the other hand, was enjoying her cigar away!

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