Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hokey Performance

We had our Christmas lunch last Friday at the nearby clubhouse of an exclusive golf course. It was suppose to snow based on the weather forecast the night before. Instead, there was a cold rain in the morning with a bitter wind. It did snow for a minute and sleet came in the late afternoon. But it was a cold, dark and cloudy day for the Christmas lunch though it did not dampen any spirits in the party.

In fact despite the inclement weather the party went well. The food was great and everyone was in a good mood. There were some performances after lunch which everyone enjoyed. There was a lot of singing, jokes, pantomime Ala Mr. Bean and bands playing rock and roll, blues and blue grass music. I volunteered to play a homemade bass instrument. It was made out of a wash bucket, broom stick and clothes string. I thought it gave out a deep sound, slightly like a bass guitar.

It was an instrument that is perhaps used by hillbillies up in some mountain homes in the Appalachian.It brought out a lot of laughs and I also had a belt which I used to simulate a whipping sound for one of the cowboy songs. That portion of the song elicited a lot of laughter. All in all, the performance was well received and my role was not as a real performer but as a 'comedic' act in the band. My friend said that most of the attention was focused on me rather than the others.

The rest of the band were actually great. I am glad to have been part of this troupe because it was like attending a master class in jamming. The lead singer is my friend, he is in his 60's and near retirement. But he is great with his guitar. The other players where great as well and being in their 50's or 60's. I was the youngest members of the group and least skilled. I guess my role was to get laughs from the crowd which was achieved.

Normally this type of performance scares me, especially performing in front of a large crowd. But I guess I have gotten used to it with my various public speaking exercises. The last time I performed in a musical show was in Singapore where I also joined a singing band for the Christmas party. We spent a lot of hours practicing in a private studio but when I got up in front of the act I nearly froze facing all those people in the ballroom. My voice came out in a squeak.

This time we only had a few minutes practice. Two days before the show and a few minutes before showtime. But I was not nervous as I should have been because I was not singing or really playing a musical instrument. I was there strictly for laughs and if I was able to bring out a few bass tunes from that contraption then it was a welcome bonus. I thought that I would play it 'straight', by being very serious about my role and allow the absurdity or the uniqueness of the situation to provide the laughs. Something like John Belushi's performance in 'The Blues Brothers'.

I think I succeeded because of the smiles in the faces of the people and the fact that a lot of people I did not know shook my hand and congratulated me after the show. I think being absolutely serious was the key to the performance. Sort of an understated Belushi moment. The department head like the show a lot and thanked me with laughter in his eyes. My immediate boss said it was a hokey performance. Being the new boy around, I think it spread a lot of goodwill and warm feeling. I hope this would help me in the next year.

The Christmas show is my last major effort in the office if I can say that. I will be off for a 2 week vacation visiting my relatives in the West Coast. It is going to be a pleasant experience seeing my old friends and seeing the coast and new cities and new things. I hope this would re-fresh me for the coming work ahead. I think it's a nice way to end the year after the work I have done and after the show the other day. I guess I don't need to exert more effort to get my self known and just have a 'low key' existence in the office. The Christmas show is the last 'foolish' thing for me for the time being to get myself recognized.

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