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Script Written for The Gamble, a performance put up by the students of ACEA 2116: Performative Strategies in Western Theatre

on the 18th and 19th of May, 2012. Directed by Ong Teck Peng, script written by Grace Jerald, Joanne Lim and Sharon Roberts. The Gamble Cast Nora (N.) Raj (R.) Anand (A.) Su Ann (S.) Lisa (L.) Grace (G.) Joanne (J.) Sharon (Sha.) - Jodie Foster Woon - Kawsher Alan - Muthesh Subramaniam - Teoh Shu Kheng - Marina Melissa Ng - Grace Jerald - Joanne Lim - Sharon Roberts

Scene 1 (Onstage) Preparation for performance Nora paces nervously from left to right on the stage. Su-Ann and Lisa are preparing their equipment for a performance on stage. N. (Pacing) Hey guys, I'm so nervous la. Later tonight... So many people... What if I screw up? S. But Nora, you were great during the rehearsals. You'll be fine! Don't worry about it. N. But... but... that was rehearsal Su-Ann, this is the REAL THING! L. You'll do well, just stay focused and remember that we're right behind you.. Literally! N. But the audience will STARE at me! What if I forget the lyrics?? What if I sta-sta-stastammer?? What if I blank out? What if... S. Is it possible to stammer while you're singing?? Can meh?? (Confused face) L. That one for rapping only, you dunno how to rap one la! Aiyah don't worry, this is our final performance together, just do your best! S. Wow, 3 years have flown by so quickly.. Haih... Our FINAL year, our FINAL performance.. Pretty depressing thought... L. Ok ok, now we concentrate on the performance first, later we can de-stress together over a drink, all right girls?? Let's do this! (blackout)

Scene 2 Nora is singing, Su Ann playing the keyboard and Lisa playing the acoustic guitar. Music: At the Beginning by Anastatia Audience: Sharon, Joanne, Anand and Raj A. Eh Raj, why you so late lah?? Nicely drag people here and then make them wait!! R. Sorry man, I had lab. You have no idea how much work we have to do! Come to the Engine fac one day and see for yourself. Did I miss much? A. MUCH?? Almost ALL! The final performance is just starting! R. Wow, so quickly? I thought these events usually start late. A. You expect people to start late just cause you're late lah?? Anyway the best is the last. Just watch! (They both watch in silence for a few seconds.) R. Wow, stunning! A. The performance right?? Eh I know her lah! R. Who who?? A. The vocalist, man. I think I know her, she's studying in the cultural centre. R. Really?? That's why you're always in the cultural centre lah... What's her name?? A. I don't know, she's my friend's friend. They are in the same drama club if I'm not mistaken. R. Drama club?? Come let's join! A. You, drama club? Are you crazy! J. SHHHHHHH. R. Shut up dude, it's the final song. During the performance, 2 spotlights are on Nora and Raj. Nora seems to notice Raj and only Raj. Steals a few glances at him. Scene 3 (still in audience after performance is over) R. Ok, bye Anand! A. Bye? Are we not going back together? R. No, I'm sorry dude, I have lab now.

A. Lab? It's 10pm! R. Yeah, its the life of an engineering student. A. Ok then, have fun with your experiments. (Raj goes up to Nora as her band is packing up) R. Hey.. Your performance was awesome! N. (with a puzzled look) Oh! Gee, erm.. thanks. (Smiles hesitantly, shy) R. Well, I'm Raj. (put out his hand to shake hands) N. (Smiling bashfully) I see... I'm Nora. R. So are you from this university? N. Haha, isnt that a bit obvious... (says slowly) R. Oh yeah... true true. What are you studying? L. Nooraaa... lets go! N. Ive got to go... Nice meeting you, Raj. R. (Reluctantly) Oh... ok then, have a good night. Nice meeting you too! Nora waves, turns and walks towards her friends. Raj stares after her. Scene 4 (At the entrance of the drama class) A. Macha, are you serious about this?? R. Yes, what did you think? Come on, let's go in! A. I can't believe I'm actually doing this!! Why oh why do I ever listen to you? Anyway, why are you even interested in the drama club? You do realise that engineers aren't very dramatic people right?? And since when did u have an interest for all this kind of artsy fartsy stuff? R. Well... nothing wrong in trying, right? There's always a first time for everything! You never know, maybe we might even LIKE it! A. No....you have got to be kidding me lah! What on earth will an economist and engineer be able to do in a drama class? R. ACT, of course! Come on, we all love watching these drama shows right? A. Really? Like which show?

R. (Caught off-guard) Like... like... erm... A. See, you don't even know any drama shows!! How can you not know the Kardashians?? WHY in the world are we here??? R. I'm willing to learn k... hey, do this for my sake! You're my best friend and we have always been there for each other since our first year! Who else can I ask? (With a pleading face) A. Okay okay OKAY! Don't have to get all so emo about it! You owe me big time you know?? I repeat, BIG time! Dei, the things I have to go through just because I'm your best friend! R. Thanks man! Anyway, you have friends in the Cultural Centre so what's your big problem in joining the drama club? A. Yalah... They can be fine most times but sometimes they tend to get crazy... Seriously! You don't really have friends there, do you? There's this girl Grace, she's really nice and all but when she gets into her moods, man she's just sooo damn annoying and bossy! R. People are just unique in their own way! Plus I get to make friends with people from there.. (smiles) Come let's go in k!! (drags Anand into the room) Scene 5 (in the drama club) Everybody walks in together, starts mixing around. Anand and Lisa make friends and introduce themselves. Sharon and Joanne excitedly point at the people in the performance they recently watched. Raj seems lost in his own world, just looking at Nora as she talks to her friends. (Sitting Position Semi-circle. Order: Raj, Anand, Nora, Lisa, Su-Ann, Sean, Joanne, Sharon. Grace is standing.) G. Hey guys, sorry I'm late! You have no idea how hard it is to lead my hectic life! Anyway I'm Grace and as most of you might already know, I'm the president of this club which also makes the director of our annual theater production. I see some new faces here so let's start off by introducing ourselves. We'll start with you. (points at Raj) R. Hi guys, I'm Raj and I'm from the Engineering Faculty. A. Hey! I'm Anand and I'm from the Economics faculty. N. Hello! I'm Nora from the Cultural Centre. L. Yo! I'm Lisa from the Cultural Centre too! S. Hi... I'm Su Ann, Cultural Centre too. J. Hi, Im Joanne from the Law faculty. (Lisa and Su Ann whisper excitedly about a law student joining them.)

Sha. Hi, Im Sharon from the Arts faculty. G. Great, so now that we all have gotten to know each other, let's start throwing in ideas for our theater performance! Any suggestions? Sha. Let's do West Side story! G. Erm, nooo! Any other suggestions? S. Titanic? G. What! And where do you think I'm going to get a huge ship from? J. Hmm, Lion King? G. Do I LOOK like an animal to you?? Can we please do a play based on the human species! (Everyone starts throwing dirty looks as Grace rudely and arrogantly shoots down ideas.) L. Phantom... Phantom of the Opera! G. Aiyaa... So many times it's been staged already lah! Well, I have a fantastic idea! Let's do a musical like Glee! So I have come up with an awesome script! It will be our very own production! Let's be original! No restaging! J. & Sha. She just said NO RESTAGING! And yet were doing Glee! A. What? No way! Why do we have to do what you say?? G. The very obvious reason would be that I'm the director of this play! DUH. A. So what?? We are all going to be in the play! G. Actually, I decide whos going to be in the play! A. Oh, whatever! It's the teams effort! G. Every team needs a leader. And IM this teams leader! A. Youre just plain power hungry and power crazy! Who made you leader anyway?? G. I did, of course. Im a natural leader, and everyone else agreed to my decision! A. Thats because I wasnt present to pick a leader. I wouldnt pick YOU as a leader if youre the last person left on earth! G. Excuse meee, I happen to make a very good leader okaay! A. Good leader my foot. More like a wannabe-dictator! And I dont even WANT to be here! (Glares accusingly at Raj.)

R. Stop it, stop it!! Can you two PLEASE cut it out! NOW. A. What! Don't look at me, look at HER! G. Hellooo... YOU started it first! R. Shut up! Let's work together as a team and brainstorm. N. I agree with Raj, let's put our ideas together. A. I'm no way working with her! G. Me neither! R. (Looks at Anand) Be a gentleman please... A. Great, first you drag me here, and now you want me to work with her! R. Ok... I think we all should get into groups of two. Anand and Grace, you two can form a group and learn to sort your differences out! You, you and you can be one group... (points at Joanne & Sharon), you with you (point at Su-Ann and Lisa)... And that leaves... Nora and I. Okay guys? G. (displeased tone) Ok FINE, everyone do as what RAJ says. Breaks up into groups. Nora and Raj to take centre stage, the others have quiet conversation. Scene 6: Raj & Nora (Crucial relationship blooming scene) N. I think what you did just now was very impressive, Raj. It takes plenty of guts and courage to do that. R. No no, its no big deal. Its nothing. They were behaving very childishly. N. Haha, you dont understand Grace. She always thinks shes right. Its nearly impossible to stop her when she starts arguing with people. Especially when she thinks shes right. (pauses to think for a moment) Which is all the time, actually. R. Its okay, its okay. Lets not talk about that. N. Oh... okay. Lets start our discussion then. R. Hmm... okay. So, how come youre in this club? N. Well, it is a part of our final years project. Its compulsory for us to participate in this play. R. Everyone from your faculty? N. My department.

R. Which is? N. Performing arts. R. Ahh... okay. You have a beautiful voice. I really enjoyed your performance the other day. So N. Thanks. So, what brings you here, anyway? We hardly get such a crowd volunteering from other faculties. R. Well, Im here for you... just kidding! (grins) I just need to do something relaxing besides my lab work. N. Lab, huh? You must be a genius. (Admiring tone.) Guts and brains... what a combination! R. (At a loss for words) Errm, nah, you think too highly... N. No, Im just stating facts. Anyway, I think we should start our discussion. Its getting late. R. (Speaking nervously, hurriedly) Before that, would you go out with me... some time? I know this is a sudden... but... You can say no, but I hope you wouldnt... Just as friends. Nothing more. It could be like a study date or even a discussion thing... Only if you are willing. Okay, gosh This is embarrassing. Im sorry. I shouldnt have asked. I N. Haha. Calm down, Raj. Its okay. Sure, no problem! Would be my pleasure to get to know a gentleman like you more. (Smiles widely) R. (Relieved face) Oh ok, thats great! (Grace enters) Grace: Alright everyone. (sarcastic tone) I hope it has been a fruitful discussion. (rolls eyes) Since youre all gotten better partners than I obviously did! Anyway, we are out of time. Gathering will take place weekly, same time, same place. See you guys here again next week! (turns to walk away, then turns back) Oh, and for the record, I HATE latecomers! J. & Sha. WHAT? SHE was late! Everyone starts to leave, including Nora. Raj gets a hold of her before she leaves. R. Erm, can I have your phone number, Nora? N. Yup, of course. We will be meeting soon, right? My number is 016 2313445. Call me soon? R. Definitely! Su-Ann hears the entire conversation and starts to become suspicious.

Scene 7 Grace meets Nora a few days later. G. Heeeey Nora! How have you been?? N. Hi Grace! Im fine, couldnt be better! (Happy smile) G. Yeah, you seem really really happy! Any reason for that humungous smile on your face?? N. Well... maybe... G. Aww, come on, you can tell me anything. So why that big smile?? N. I think... I think Im in love. G. REALLY?? With who?? N. Hehe... Raj. The peacemaker between you and Anand... (awkward smile) (Hurriedly) Before you say anything, let me assure you that Raj is a really good guy, and I admire him for what he did during the meeting! Anand and you WERE getting out of hand after all. And I think Im falling for him more and each time we meet... G. RAJ! (Thinks for a moment.) Each time you meet?? How often have you two met?? N. Errm... Everyday since our drama club meeting. Weve been having dinner, and sometimes lunch together. I first noticed him during my recent performance... but now that Im getting to know him more, I think hes really the right guy for me. (Excited, happy that she can finally tell someone) Youre the first person Ive talked to about this! G. You havent even told Lisa and Su-Ann, your best friends?? N. No, not yet... Im planning to tell them tonight... I just thought Ill tell you first because I know you are currently in a relationship with Sean. G. Oh well, hes a nice guy I suppose. Has he been treating you well? N. (Nods eagerly) Yes, he is! Hes a real gentleman, and hes kind... there are so many qualities in him that I think Im looking for in a man... G. Whoa! Now thats love! Take things slowly, k? N. Yes, we are taking things slowly... as slow as we can... G. Yeah, these things take time. Well, Im always here for you if you need advice on this, ok? N. Yes, I know youve been in a relationship for sometime now... I will definitely turn to you for advice! G. Im glad to hear that! Catch ya around!

N. See ya! Scene 8: Drama Club (A week later) Anand and Raj walk in first. Soon everyone except Grace walks in. Everyone takes their respective places. L. Now all we have to do it wait for the drama queen. (Grace walks in at that moment.) G. Hey! I heard that! Everyone else. Oooh, scarreey. G. Oh whatever. I hope you have a better suggestion than mine since we spent the last session discussing all your inferior ideas. (Anand rolls his eyes) So, who wants to go first? R. Well, Nora and I can go first. I think we have a quite a solid idea, right Nora? N. (To Raj) Which idea are you talking about? The one we discussed on Sunday or yesterday? (Su-Ann is alarmed but remains silent. Tries to get Lisas attention but fails.) R. Yesterday. G. Okay, you guys can go first then. R. We were planning to come up with our own version about a love story between a girl and boy of different ethnicity. G. Ahh, common. Too common. A. What do you know Miss Smarty Pants? R. Enough. The rest of us arent interested in your cat fights. L. (Pretends as if nothing happened) I like Rajs and Noras idea. It depicts the inter-racial relationships in our diverse society. Su-Ann: Depends... (Silence) G. Anyone with a better idea? (The rest): No... G. What? What a bunch of hopeless beings! After a whole week and still no ideas? Pathetic! The rest to act irritated, Anand looks ready for another heated argument. G. Anyway, fortunately for you, I have another idea. Its about a students life.

A. Booooo! That idea is purely hers. I have no part in developing that lame story! Lets vote. Who wants Raj and Noras story, please raise your hand? (The rest): (Raise their hands) Sha. Can I raise TWO hands! (The rest enthusiastically follow suit.) A. Ok, Grace your story is out. The end. G. No, wait! How can you just vote my story out? After Ive thought so hard about it, Ive planned everything, the plot, the setting, the characters, the actors! (Anand can interrupt anytime, just giving Grace lines to say incase Anand forgets to interrupt.) A. Shhh! Zip it. G. This is so unfair! How can you treat me like this! (Same thing, Anand interrupts earlier.) A. No one cares, ok? Do you see anyone who cares?? G. (Dissatisfied and angry tone.) Ok, whatever, just get into your groups and discuss what you have to do. Stomps off the stage. Scene 9: Su-Anns outburst. Su-Ann grabs Lisa to group up with her. S. Lisa... (sigh) L. Whats up? Whats wrong with you? S. Something... something is definitely going on. This has got to stop. We need an intervention. Its going too far now, Im getting really really worried! L. Calm down, calm down! What is going on girl? What on earth are you rambling about? S. Them. Something is fishy about them. L. I need more information here. Hello? Who are you talking about? S. About Nora and Raj, who else?! L. What about them? S. I think they are dating. L. What makes you so sure?

S. Didnt you see the way they behave around each other?? And clearly they are meeting up outside club meetings. L. What makes you so sure? S. Didnt you hear Nora asking Raj which idea he was talking about? Sunday? Yesterday?? L. So what if they do? It could be for discussion. We met up yesterday to discuss didnt we? S. Its different lah. Oh, oh, and yesterday after our discussion I told you I was going out, remember? L. Yeah. S. I saw them at the movies. Just the both of them. They seemed very intimate. L. You sure its them? S. Yes! L. Okay, so what if they were at the movies? Everyone needs a break. It could be to relax. S. Okay, fine! Even if they are not dating, something is definitely fishy. We cant let anything more happen. L. Why not? Raj seems like a nice guy. After the Johan jerk Nora dated last year, Ill be happy if she falls for a decent guy like Raj. S. Raj is Indian lah. Indiaaaaan! L. Yeah, so? I am Indian. S. Is Nora dating you? L. No, but you are friends with me, right? S. Yeabut youre a Christian laa, hes Hindu! HINDU! She shouldnt be dating him! L. Enough with this bickering. If you want to find out more, ask Nora herself. Instead of all these mindless speculations. Scene 10: Su-Ann, Lisa and Nora (confrontation scene) Lisa walks up to Nora looking very fed up. L. (To Nora) Nora, can I please talk to you about something? N. Yeah, whats up?

L. In private? (Irritated tone) N. Oh Okay. Hang on, Raj. R. Sure, take your time ladies. They walk to a corner where Su-Anns at. L. (To Su-Ann) You tell her. I dont want to get involved in all this drama. N. Ask me what? S. Are you and Raj dating or something? N. Well... I dont know yetbut I suppose we are getting there. S. (To Lisa) Seeeeeee! N. Really, guys? Weve got to do this now? S. How could you??! N. I was planning on talking to you guys about it tonight. L. Why didnt you tell us sooner? N. It has only been a week. I wasnt too sure yet. S. Yeah, but how could you? N. Well, it happened too fast. L. Its not that. Shes talking about his race. (Rolling her eyes) N. So what about his race? S. (Tone stresses to show she is in disbelief how they are still missing the point) He is Indian lahhhhh! N. Indian, Indian lah. You are Chinese, I am still mixing with you, right? Lisa is Indian you got no problem? L. Exactly what I told her. S. Gal, hes not just Indian, hes HINDU! Do you know what you have to give up? You cant eat beef in front of him. N. He does the same for me. He doesnt eat pork when he is with me. S. Everyone knows Indians are really cunning. Hes probably just sweet-talking you for now!

N. Raj wouldnt hurt a fly. Hes sincere. I know it. S. Oh sure Thats what the lady claims. Its all an act. You cant be with Raj. N. You are nuts. You barely know Raj. L. Well, thats true. You barely know him yet. Su-Ann. What will your family say about this?? N. Forget it! I thought youd be happy to see me happy. What more with a good guy! Nora stomps out of the room angrily, her eyes teary. Lisa follows Nora. Everyone watches. While all these took place, Raj watches from afar, looking worried. Scene 11: Raj and Anand (Confession) Subdued atmosphere, awkward silence. People know Nora is very upset, but unsure why. G. I think thats enough for today. I think everyone is tired. (Everyone packs to leave.) R. Hey Anand. I need to talk to you. A. Yeah? R. I think Im in love. Though A. Serious!!! R. Yeah, though its a lil too early to say the L-O-V-E word. A. Ya, ya.. Whatever. Oh my gosh. Who is it, who is it? Who is the lucky girl? R. I am the lucky guy. A. Ahhh, cut the crap la bro. Who is it? Priyanka??! No, wait, Diknes?! Hahahaha, cmon bro. Who lah? We need to celebrate lah. Why didnt you tell me earlier?! R. Actually... its Nora. A. (Caught off-guard, loses excitement. Pauses for a moment to think.) Nora? R. Yup, Nora. A. Which Nora? THIS Nora?

R. Yeah, this Nora. Why do you sound so surprised? A. Nora isnt Indian. Nora isnt Chinese. Nora is Malay lah macha! R. I know, but she is cool isnt she? I thought you liked Nora too. A. Yeah, as a person, as a friend. Not dating material. You are going to bring disgrace to your family. Your father is going to be very angry. Are you even thinking lah bro?! R. I am serious man. Dont tell me you didnt know. A. Sure, I didnt know. You didnt tell me. R. Why did you think I dragged you here? A. Because you like performing? R. Do you think I have the extra time especially when Im in my final year. A. Then quit! R. She is special. She is special... A. Priyanka is special too. Why cant you just choose Priyanka?? Shes liked you for so damn long! R. I dont control these things man. I thought you would understand. A. I dont. R. I cant fall for Nora but its perfectly fine for you to date different girls every week? A. Those are friends. Friends with benefits. R. Grace is dating Teck Peng and thats okay? A. Teck Peng is Chinese la cha. Christian! Pork also can eat. Beef also can eat. Can eat anything. Eh, you date Nora need to give up a lot you know?! R. Im willing. Willing to give up anything. You should know that I dont play a fool when it comes to things like this. A. I dont care. You need to think it through. Its just too much. R. I love her. I love her. Shes my everything. I cant explain why Im drawn to her. I cant control these feelings. A. You feel too much! Real men dont feel too much.

R. I... I... I just... (sigh) She makes my heart leap, she puts a smile on my face. Havent you ever felt like this before? A. Yeah, with every other girl I go out with. What rubbish are you talking about man? R. (sigh) You just dont understand. Never mind. Forget it. Raj walks off. Anand paces up and down. No one is on stage except Anand. A. Does he even know what hes getting into. There is too much cost to bear to be with a Muslim girl. His father is going to be mad. He will bring shame and disgrace to our people. He needs to wake up. What is this talk about feelings?! Hes not behaving like a real man! Stomps off the stage. Scene 12: Raj & Nora meet and suddenly things arent so sweet after all. Raj puts his arm on Noras shoulder. Nora pulls away uncomfortably. R. Whats wrong, Nora? (Nora shrugs, annoyed.) R. You know you can talk to me. N. Im not sure I should. R. What do you mean? N. I think this is wrong. R. What? Why? N. It just wrong. No why. R. Is this something your friends said the other day? N. Dont bring my friends into this matter. R. Then why are you so different? You werent like this. N. That was a mistake. This is a mistake. YOU are a mistake. R. (Hurt, sad tone) Dont say that. N. If you dont like it, then dont listen to it.

R. Come on Nora. We are better than this. You are better than this. Dont let people influence your decision. I am serious about you, Nora. N. I dont know. I need to go. Nora is crying. Leads to monologue Scene 13: Raj's Monologue Spotlight on Raj as he walks in. Anands lines are said from the backstage. R. I don't know what to do... (A. YOU CRAZY MAN??? Why NORA??!) R. Cause I love her... (A. She's Muslim for heaven's sake!! Are you out of your mind??) R. It never bothered me before, why now?? I mean, if I love her... (A. You have ANY IDEA how much you have to give up??) R. Isn't love about sacrifices? (A. THINK dude, THINK. Your family...) R. My family would only want the best for me... And isn't being happy the best thing for me? (A. Use your head dude, be a MAN! Think with your head, not your heart!) R. Perhaps Anand is right... Once this excitement fades, our differences may be too many... (Ram paces around slowly, deep in thought.) R. But so many couples have overcame their differences before... (A. Dont feel so much! THINK like a man!) R. Am I feeling too much?? (Stares into space) R. But I love her... Spotlight off, Raj leaves.

Scene 14: Nora's monologue Spotlight on Nora as she walks in. Su Ann and Lisas lines are said from the background. N. Why is love so complicated?? (S. Hes HINDU! How can you date him!) (L. So what if hes Indian?? Nothing wrong about inter-racial love!) N. Its never bothered me before... why should it bother me now?? (S. Hes just sweet-talking you!) N. Is he? Why would he do that?? (L. Raj is a decent guy. Im happy for you!) N. Yes... Raj is a true gentleman. At least... I used to be so sure of that... (S. Think of what youll have to give up! Think of your family!) N. Isnt love strong enough to overcome all these obstacles?? (S. This whole thing is completely, absolutely ridiculous!) N. But I love him! I love him! At least I think I do... And yet.... (voice slowly trails off, softer and softer) (Sighs. Walks around slowly, thinking) N. Why is love so complicated?? Spotlight off. Brief Interval Raj walks in. Spotlights on both Raj and Nora. Both turn to stare at one another in silence. Blackout. THE END

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