"there are never second chances in a single moment"
And yet, the mind is able to bend the continuum of time and space and here I am revisiting the memory of performing Candlelight over and over again. 22nd and 23rd March certainly marked an important day for Singapore English Language Theatre and I'm ecstatic to have been part of it.
First and foremost, Candlelight is an experimental fringe drama so it is honestly harder to assess and enter the world as compared to a naturalistic play. It is more emotive than narrative; you cannot rationalize it but rather, receive and react. To put it simply, it is quite the Inception and there are layers and layers to peel apart. Frankly, I never understood it until about 1 and a 1/2 month before production day.
It is about story-telling; we are all spirits that enter this realm to help Jonathan and Jadene convey their stories to the audience. The ensemble embodies the stories and characters needed. At the heart of it is Jonathan's inability to confront his own dyslexia while bearing the burden of passing on the legacy of Ah Kong and his stories. His self-resentment and anger is channelled towards both his memory of Ah Kong and his family creating tensions in his life. However, when he finally came to terms with it and overcame that one problem that plagued his life, his sudden death brings about a new burden upon Jadene. Underscoring this play is a cyclical theme - just as how Jonathan's Grandfather relates their lineage to People of the Sky, Jonathan identifies himself as the sea, while Jadene relates herself to rain. Likewise, the burden of legacy is passed on from generation to generation.
It's a hard story to tell but it is an important one all the same. Extra points to you if you caught the Noh-elements that were prevalent in the play. I can never forget all the super-slow Suzuki walks around 2.4m pillars, the intense ritual of donning the blue shirts, the devising to become mimosas and raindrops, the drastic physical and vocal change from playing Grandfather to Mimosa to Neutral Spirit to Julia and back again. This is probably the craziest and most tiring play I've ever done. All the slow walks were surprisingly exhausting and draining. It is truly the toughest 1 hour 10 minutes I ever had on stage, and we only started proper during January? W-o-w.
Thanks so much to the very talented and brillant cast - Karynne, Judy, Chester and Walter for the fun and wild rehearsals and deep & meaningfuls during supper. Also much kudos to Koon Hui who is simultaneously as annoying as he is passionate about the theatre; so much gratitude towards you for believing in me and calling out on my bullshit. Thank you to one of the theatre doyens, Peter Sau who whipped us all into shape because he is the Peter Sau.
To Christabel and Tricia, who are the world's cutest SM and ASM! Even though they got scolded an insane amount, they kept trudging on and never losing their optimism and enthusiasm which was so admirable! Totes love all the encouraging Tumblr photos and messages y'all keep sending me.
To those in the production team - crazy Claudia, qt Jacq, zai Yi Ting, jammin' Jordan, Hwee Bunzzz and the rest, thank you for all your hard work and being the ultimate sai-kang warriors because this success really goes out to you guys!
So much love to those who came and supported me - both theatre and non-theatre family and friends! This is the first time my family actually watched me performed. Even though they attended my bowling competitions, I never seen them give me a look of pride as they did when I came out of the theatre.Hugs and kisses to Chang and Gracia who swore they didn't sleep during the performance even though they woke up at 5am to do some rekke work for our next project; The Rascals who is always there for me; A3 gals for coming down to watch and support me just because; Suren, Low Ann and Philip who popped by unexpectedly (but it was a welcome surprise); Yi-wen and Min Lu for your joy from watching Candlelight (Definitely picked the right theatre successors for hall!); The DP cast who are as kooky as ever and came all the way on a Sunday night just to support their Drama Director :-)
Look after your art and your art will look after you - never did this line speak to me more than it did now. (The) Peter Sau has even proposed for us to think about staging Candelight at The Substation which is HUUUUUGE. Or for me at least. All those bruises and exhaustion was worth it.Maybe it'll happen or maybe it'll won't; it doesn't matter now. I am just (finally) mustering the courage to face my (apparently unfounded) fears and switch my majors around to making Theatre Studies my primary course of study instead of my second. All my friends knew this would happen since I was Year 1 and they said it was just a matter of time. I guess the time is now; Arts Festival really gave me a greater sense of clarity and gave me the impetus to take that step forward.
I don't know where this will take me. But here I am taking the plunge and I am exhilarated.
For now, snuggle time with Pao Pao panda and Ben Pieface Jr!