By Orientation Committee 2016
Additional reporting by Choo Shuen Ming (16A01E), Daphne Tang (16S03M), Karen Cuison (16A01D), Louisa Li (16A13A) and Olivia Tan (16A01E)
Hyped, happy, and ever-so-ready to answer your next burning question or take the MPH stage 2 these are the Orientation Group Leaders (OGLs) you’ve come to grow fond of along your 4-day Orientation journey. Or maybe you’re a J2 falling asleep in LT1, wondering about the shenanigans your OGL classmates are up to. Whether you’re a cheery J1 or dreary J2, Raffles Press has put together an exclusive, never-before-seen behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for Fiore 2016. Dive in.
Who says OGLs can’t have fun too? Megan Gwee (16S07C) revealed that the best part of being in war games, for her, was “[getting] to experience orientation again, but from another perspective!”
She continued, “The hours that go into planning, getting logistics, getting them to work and actually testing the games, can be pretty tiring.”
“But it’s all worth it in the end when we see the OGlings having the time of their lives. That’s when we know our hard work has paid off.”
The Station Games committee – bringing you their linueup of all new games for 2016!
Like any other part of Orientation, the successful execution of Storyline called for an immense amount of dedication and time. Cast members ran scenes over and over to get them perfect; the crew was often seen slaving away at the sets and props; while scriptwriters and directors often Skyped at strange hours over the holidays to write draft after script draft.
It certainly wasn’t smooth-sailing: director Caitlin shared how they had a full script (with songs all written!) rejected at one point, on account of it being too violent and morbid. They had to rewrite the entire script and all songs over the holidays before any practice could begin. Their problems did not stop there – they also found themselves short on manpower as the same team of people juggling props, sets and costumes had to handle stage handing and lights as well, and one of the directors even fell sick and was unable to attend rehearsals the week right before orientation.
Another obstacle was getting approval for the narrator character. “People were worried it was too meta but that was precisely why we wanted to try it out,” Caitlin explained. That adventurous spirit carried through Storyline’s direction as a whole. From ensemble-style scenes and straight-up slapstick humour, to a scene with mascots, and even the OGlings as voice characters, Storyline this year certainly brought many a novel concept to the MPH. It was through their desire to adventurously cater to different types of audiences that they arrived at the varied and dynamic final performance.
Sparks of creativity and humour also allowed the cast to ‘improvise’ during rehearsals. Unable to do anything “morbid”, they decided to make it all about flowers (because ‘Fiore’), and proceeded to enthusiastically throw in flowers at every possible moment, just because. At other points, the cast would find themselves spontaneously changing key halfway through a song without realising; or, unable to reach a certain high note, suddenly start singing in a lower octave. In other blooper-worthy moments, some even fell asleep during line runs, stumbling or mispronouncing words and saying completely wrong lines.
On hindsight, however, the team recognised that some of their challenges were actually blessings in disguise. Having their first script rejected gave them to space to experiment with ensemble work and lighter jokes that they couldn’t with the more morbid first theme; having to push for the idea of a narrator also helped them further develop the character to explore its full potential. The team would also like to thank their teachers, too, who stayed back with them until 9+ sometimes, and who gave a lot of support and approved all of “their whacky shit”.
And indeed, everyone was in it together. Goh Qi Shuen (16A01B) said that she felt as if “[she was] part of something bigger than [herself]”, and ultimately, “everything [they] went through was really for the juniors and to make Storyline something they’ll enjoy.” Caitlin echoed that cast and crew alike were “willing to work hard and slave away for hours practising scenes”, all in order to execute the vision that was Storyline 2016.
The artful design of the chalkboard in the middle of the canteen walkway was carefully crafted by the talented Decor team – who, like many other sub-committees, were able to overcome obstacles to present innovative and pleasing new ideas for their beloved juniors. Their combined efforts to make Fiore a unique and colorful experience proved fruitful in the end, as they were proud of the results that they have achieved as one. One of them being the chalkboard that we see now in the canteen walkway (which took hours of meticulous hard work) – and here’s how it went down:
And what about the ones coordinating this entire event? Orientation IC Natalie Lim (16A01B) confessed that “there’s definitely a lot of pressure… Let’s just say that leading 252 OGLs to plan for 4 days of different activities for 1200 J1s is definitely not the most relaxing way to spend the holidays.” The ICs definitely have a lot of things to manage, especially considering Orientation’s scale, and so it’s no wonder that they may make mistakes here and there. Still, Natalie noted that “seeing their efforts coming into fruition” only “made us feel a renewed sense of respect and gratitude for our seniors who put in so much effort to plan our Orientation.” The “invaluable, heartwarming” sentiments Natalie expressed are undoubtedly shared by all 252 OGLs, who bloomed with the spirit of Fiore.
That’s all for Part 1 – check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our behind the scenes article, where we will showcase Song, Dance, PLogs and Highlights!