Back in 2016, Joshua Gui was about to perform a dance piece for the launch of a new arts space.
There was one problem, though: Gui was feeling feverish. But as the saying goes … the show must go on.
“You just have to do the show. When you’re about to perform, forget about who you are and be the persona that you’re portraying,” he said, during an interview in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
As one of the co-founders of PJ-based company KrossJenre Entertainment, Gui believes that he has to do justice to the material that he has to perform. So on that very day in 2016, despite feeling unwell, Gui danced his heart out.
“The moment you start performing, your mind is just focused on that.”
After Gui’s performance ended, he did seek medical treatment and actually had to spend a few days resting in bed.
The 28-year-old graduate of the Australian International Conservatorium of Music (AICM) has taken on many memorable roles throughout his career as a performing artiste. Last year, he played ringmaster PT Barnum in a special The Greatest Showman movie sing-along session at a cinema in the Klang Valley.
“The sing-along thing is a hit in other countries but the concept is still quite new here. So this cinema company wanted to see if we could bring that experience to our audience. We came up with this flash mob idea.”
Gui and his team of nine dancers were asked to perform two songs from the movie: This Is Me and From Now On. Costumes were made from scratch. Other characters in this sing-along included The Bearded Lady and The Siamese Twins.
“We had to pretend to be one of the audience members. So we wore hoodies to cover our costumes. It was quite funny because we looked like people trying to smuggle a lot of food into the cinema.”
When the songs came on screen, Gui and his team sprang up from their seats and performed for the audience. He recalled how the audience cheered for them.
“Everyone was smiling, clapping and singing along. It was a fun experience.”Looking back, Gui said the long hours he spent preparing for the show had been worth it.
“The unglamorous side of my work is that there is a lot of planning that goes into a performance. We spent hours brainstorming, rehearsing and preparing our costumes. For The Greatest Showman sing-along, we really worked hard to make sure we didn’t ruin the surprise for the audience.”
His job also comes with missing out on family time during festive seasons. Last Christmas, Gui played a magical creature in a series of musical performances at a popular shopping centre in Petaling Jaya.
“I remember telling mum and dad that I was sorry for missing out on Christmas. Then I said they could come to the mall to watch me perform (laughs)!”
But Gui is not complaining. The passionate performer is game for anything that will help to push him creatively.
“When I see the joy on the faces of the people I perform for, it makes everything better. It just reminds me that this is why I love what I do.”