Open Forum (Nov 11) – “Embedding / Dwelling”

This is the transcript of my presentation at the Southernmost Open Forum on Nov 11.

The slides I used can be viewed here.

Photo credit (above): Lim Sim Lin for Emergency Stairs


Embedding / Dwelling: being intimate with Southernmost

Hello everyone, it’s good to see all of you here. Thank you for coming.

For the past week, I’ve been “critic-in-residence” at the Southernmost festival. I use air quotes to describe my role because I realise I have been many things. I have been a witness, an ethnographer, an archivist, a participant, an observer, a writer, a performer, a student, a critic, a listener, a supporter, a researcher, a provocateur, a voiceover, a dramaturg – and a friend. I’ve titled this presentation “embedding” because of what it has been like to embed oneself in the front lines, down in the trenches; but also “dwelling” because I have learnt what it is to be with and commune with everyone who was a part of Southernmost, to make this place my temporary home.

If you’re wondering why I’m the only Open Forum speaker without a partner, my dialogue partner is actually supposed to be Southernmost itself. So I thought I would give you a very brief overview of what happened throughout the festival before asking some questions of my non-speaking dialogue partner.

Over the past week, from 9am to 6pm each day, the seven featured artists of the festival, whom you can read more about in your programme booklets, have come together for an enormous undertaking. They’ve embarked on a performance research project, the main thrust of the festival, where they’ve had dramatic encounters and intense conversations with each other. All of them come from performance lineages that we might describe as the “traditional”, but which I’ve come to realise is a reductive and monolithic term for performance forms that are ever-evolving, whose practitioners are experimental, irreverent, slippery, sinuous and extraordinarily powerful.

We began the week with workshops, where each practitioner got to spend one hour with every other practitioner for a one-on-one, bespoke masterclass. It was up to the “teachers” to decide what to teach their students, but it was up to the “students” to direct the eventual five- to ten-minute presentation that resulted from the process of teaching and learning. We would then all have a group discussion about what we had experienced.

Through this process we interrogated modes of knowledge production and transmission, of what happens when bodies learn the vocabularies of other bodies, of new pedagogical approaches for the various performance forms, of negotiating boundaries with the state, of the different and similar challenges each cultural, national and political context poses. All this is the work that has taken place underneath what you have seen, or will see of Journey to Nowhere. In that sense, Southernmost has acted more like a performance incubator or an intensive academic programme, with workshops, masterclasses, small-group discussions, showcases, and a symposium-style forum like today’s – dedicated to the artists who have been invited to participate in this festival. The fulcrum of the festival is not the Journey to Nowhere production, although it does allow you a glimpse of the playfulness and transgressiveness that the artists have relished over the past week, dismantling boundaries between what we assume to be the “traditional” and the “contemporary”. While Journey to Nowhere has a very strict structure, every scene was based on a devising process by the featured practitioners, who collaborated with Xiaoyi to produce what you’ll have seen or will see later today. There’s also the thrill of improvisation and arbitrariness built into the production, even if the audience might be less privy to the mechanics of the performance that takes place beyond this stage.

What I’m really sad to have missed were the nightly masterclass workshops conducted by Didik and Rady. But I did get to see the presentation by their students, who knit together what they were taught with their own attempts at experimentation. And what a privilege to be able to witness Shimizu-san, Didik and Rady perform what they have spent decades of their life dedicated to honing and perfecting – I think those were two evenings that we will cling to and savour, to feel that electric shiver of connecting to something much larger than we can comprehend, and then being able to engage with these incredible performers about their work after.

I won’t go into further detail because you will be able to read most of this on my website, but I thought I would go into some of the questions I have for Southernmost. And these are questions that I hope will linger. They aren’t meant to be defended, or answered now, or even within the next few weeks or months, or maybe even years. All I ask is that you might sit with these questions for a while.

(1) How can we shift audience’s expectations of the Journey to Nowhere performance – so that they see it not as a “culmination” or a “final product” but as a platform for experimentation, joyful irreverence and play? 

I think most of the immediate feedback I’ve heard from audiences who’ve come to see the showcase is that they aren’t quite clear how it connects back to the workshops or ethos of the festival. The showcase wrestles with a lot of notions about what we expect intercultural engagement to look like, and I’ve heard audiences wonder why it looks like a “work in progress”, or why the masters didn’t do a “traditional” traditional performance in Journey to Nowhere. In some parts of the production, we see the performers referencing performance forms that are not their own in very subtle ways, like Rady fusing the sharp, precise head tilts from his masked dance with the silat movements that Amin taught him, or Didik borrowing from the delicate heel-toe movement of Chinese dance, inspired by Elizabeth – but so much of this is inaccessible to those without, as Bourdieu would put it, the key to decode the gestures and movements they are seeing. They could interpret these movements independent of the weighted histories and granular detail attached to them, but I think that would be such a shame, to lose that layer of knowledge. I also wished that we could better communicate how the practitioners are here to cross borders, to leave the confines of what they are expected to perform or how they are expected to behave as “traditional artists”, and to revel in what they cannot do on other platforms, with mischief and glee.

Which leads me to:

(2) How can we make this artistic process more visible? How can we encourage audience members to become ‘spectator-collaborators’?

I think the work that Southernmost is doing is vital and profound. But I understand how it can be difficult for audience members to excavate, to go beneath – especially if they don’t have time to attend the open rehearsals or the masterclasses. It took me an entire year, as well as this process of “resident” and “embedded” criticism, to understand what Emergency Stairs is trying to scratch at, to learn the language they use, their specific performance vocabulary, and the questions they are asking of our art and of Asia. Is there a way we might invite audience members to invest interest in this project throughout the year? Is there a way we might encourage them to pleasure in making meaning of the stage, that the images we give to them are open-ended and available for multiple interpretations?

To give you a sense of the labour behind the performance, and the fun had, this is the script of the production, which is basically a performance score that can also contain improvisations. And this is what four of the performers were doing to decide in which order they would enter the space for one of the scenes.

And finally:

(3) Should we be using the work and bodies of international artists to comment on Singapore-specific cultural policies, even if these policies are markedly similar in their own countries? Is this their burden to bear?

The National Arts Council’s SG Arts Plan (2018-2022) forms the framework of Journey to Nowhere, and during our rehearsal process Xiaoyi talked about how the performance was one of his responses to and negotiations with what he saw as a five-year, durational script provided to him by the state. Each of the artists shared the challenges and triumphs they’d faced and accomplished in their various cultural and national contexts, both Singaporean and non-Singaporean. But the framework for Journey to Nowhere is very much a specific Singaporean one, with particularities to this local context that may not be the struggle of other artists. I must say that Didik, Rady and Shimizu seemed more than delighted to collaborate with us to make sense of Singapore’s cultural policy, but I wonder if this is their burden to bear.

Because Southernmost cannot respond to me, I didn’t think it fair to end this presentation on such an interrogative note. 

So I wanted to end with gratitude instead, with a series of thank-yous for Southernmost.

(1) Thank you for inviting me in.

It’s hard to think of many performance companies in Singapore who would willingly open their doors to a theatre critic, and to have basically allowed me to do whatever I wanted with this platform as “resident critic” – or “resident writing participant”, as Elizabeth put it. This has been a transformative process for me, and I have learnt so much from simply being in the same space as all of you. I have tried my best to sit with you and write with and about you this week, but also for you, and everything I have written is my gift to you. You can use it in any way you like. In the same way you have gifted performances to audience members, allowing them to think and respond in any way they wish to it, this gift is no longer mine – it belongs to you.

(2) Thank you for giving practitioners a community, and room to play – and for all the kindness and generosity you have shown us as guests in your home.

I’ve been having conversations with all the artists involved this week, and a recurring refrain is how cared for each of them feels. Some have told me about how amazed they are to have had an equal voice with everyone else, such that no one felt neglected at any time. You worked around the demanding schedules of all the artists: we didn’t have Andy around for four days because he was performing in Australia; Shimizu-san flew off on Wednesday night to Tokyo to perform and returned yesterday morning, just hours before the first matinee; Ee Vian had to leave for several hours at a time to teach her private students. In the same way, the artists moved mountains to be here, altogether, even if the cast was at full strength for only two hours. And everyone told me that they felt heard, that they were listened to, and that they were finally understood.

(3) Thank you for being brave.

This has been such a difficult undertaking. I’ve seen you struggle to convince the public of the value of these performance forms. I’ve seen the box office receipts and the financial risk you’ve taken on to get this festival off the ground. I’ve seen the criticism and frustration you’ve had to engage with – some of it my own, from my previous reviews of your work – with patience and grace. I would like to acknowledge and thank you for that.

That’s all from me.

Thank you.

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Sacred spaces, sacred bodies (Nov 9)

I don’t know how to write about this yet.

It feels almost profane to capture in words.

The dark of the room, the shimmer and glint of Rady’s costume, the basket of fruit and sticks of incense, the sharp-toothed gape of the Hanuman mask – the Hanuman of the 12th century – the steady thrum of the drum. He kneels before the mask, chanting words and prayers we can’t quite hear. We’ve seen Rady drop into his monkey character before, with each quick turn of the neck, his knees sinking closer and closer to the ground but quite never touching it, always hovering above. But this, this is different. We have been invited to witness something; we are witnessing an invitation to something larger and stranger and more powerful and far beyond.

He arches his back, the curve of his spine rounding back on itself, and then lowers the mask over his head.

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And then Rady is gone.

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There is a shivery electricity in the air as Hanuman moves among us, rearing up on his heels and then hurtling past us on the ground.

I can barely breathe. I am crying. I finally understand what Shimizu-san said earlier this week, about his traditional form as a source of power that reverberates from the past and into the present, this incantatory summoning of practitioners and bodies in the now and those who have come before. I can feel the weight of Rady’s performance lineage heavy in the room, riven by war and then fiercely reclaimed. I can see the artist as the shaman of the present-day, the conduit between who we are now and who we have been, the reminder of what we will never understand, that we are bound to forces we know nothing about, that we are at once infinite and infinitesimal.

I wish we weren’t so far away, in these two rows of chairs so stiffly arranged in the dark shadow of the room, I wish we were closer, on the floor around him, being with him, and not just watching him.


Rady/Hanuman invited us deep into the dark of our selves, and Didik gently brings us back up to the light.

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That’s his back towards us, the mask over the back of his head, his back now his chest – everything inverted and elongated the way a wayang kulit puppet might articulate its limbs. He sashays towards us, the sensual thrusts and arcs of his shoulders and hips, his slender, delicate fingers telling us what we need to know; then the music changes and he turns around – and he’s two characters in one, each sharing him the way he reconciles, he embraces both the masculine and the feminine in the borders of his body.

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Then they’re both together, the monkey and the madonna, savouring the pleasure of each other’s company.

And then it ends, and the lights come up, but the room is still aglow with something else, something residual, something that was glad to be here.


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Xiaoyi sitting between Didik and Rady for the Q&A session, and also wearing a mask – but because he isn’t feeling too well.
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Thank you for allowing us to be here.

[*Update: The day after, a Saturday, Rady laid out the Hanuman mask with its prop sword and a basket of fruit with incense sticks in them as part of a small ritual honouring the mask. He usually does this ritual on Thursdays and Saturdays. He showed me and Shimizu-san the insides of the mask – which isn’t his but belongs to his teacher – it’s a papier-mache construction with foam padding inside the cheeks, and occasionally you’ll have to bite down on the mouthpiece to prevent the mask from moving or falling off during a performance, or at least keep your mouth open throughout. Rady pointed to the angular jawline: “He likes to be strong.” Then he shared the bananas with us to eat, because the fruits had been blessed. They were good.]

[**Update: I had a long conversation with Didik the day after about the various masks and roles he’d showcased. The mask he has on in the photograph above is of Dewi Sarak Jodag (also known as Retno Cindogo), the sister of Rahwana (Ravana) from the Ramayana – these are the Javanese spelling variations. He told me he prefers to work on original choreography for lesser-known characters, and Dewi Sarak Jodag is one of them. When he turned to face us, bare-faced, he was performing the Balinese legong dance from Bapang Saba, a specific village. In the image right at the top of this post, he’s performing topeng palimanan in the red klana or “king” mask. He’s spoken before about how, when he performs male roles, his choreography is textured: feminine performing masculine. Didik also showed me pictures of a mask-in-progress he had commissioned from his mask-maker – it’s a tiger, its expressive eyes wide and steely. He told me about how mask-makers also work on the masks based on the spirit and feel of the object, when it decides to emerge from the wood. This could take two weeks or two years.]

Masterclass student showcase (Nov 9)

“When we teach, are we translating our limitations?”

I wrote this down in my notebook when I met Xiaoyi in early September to discuss the ethos of the festival, and today that very same question appeared on the screen behind the masterclass participants as they attempted to perform five-minute solos based on the five days of three-hour workshops they’d attended earlier this week. Rady and Didik had been conducting the masterclass sessions based on this structure:

  • Day 1: Engage your core
  • Day 2: Groundedness
  • Day 3: Circularity
  • Day 4: Balance and control
  • Day 5: History through movement

Xiaoyi had sprung the solo performance element on them belatedly, and some of the participants were panicking over what they would present to the audience. My assumptions about a student showcase were overturned – I hadn’t attended the masterclasses every evening, much to my enormous regret, and if I get the chance to do this again (*glances at Xiaoyi and Jo), I’d love to participate in the masterclass as a decidedly non-movement person to see how my body adjusts to or resists the forms.

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Rady (upstage) performing with a student (in monkey mask).

Rady made some very pertinent comments in the Q&A about how he approached teaching the students, blending the drive to preserve of “traditional” forms with the spirit of rediscovery and reinvention.

I thought, we should let the students explore. We should give them the structure, but let them find their own way. But they have to learn about history and theory too – do they understand the value of culture? Or are they just using it as a backdrop?

One of the students spent her entire presentation steeling herself to step forward and onto the stage, her arms tense by her sides, leaning forward and then catching herself, pulling back – terror, worry and a nervous smile flickering across the face. Another created a small homage to both instructors, her movements not always accurate but deeply respectful and delicate, taking her time to move through difficult gestures, her attention laser-focused on the tiniest of details, combining perhaps the handwork of Cambodian dance with the footwork of Javanese dance. And then another brought a chair onto the stage, sat on it, then pulled a Halloween party-esque monkey mask over her head. She attempted to move through a series of the precise hand gestures she had learnt, but these soon degenerated into frantic typing, a monkey drone chained to her desk, hitting the backspace key – our digital dystopia version of hand gestures. As Rady quietly joined her on stage, her hands began to quiver and shake, violently, her failure to control her own body deliberately and starkly set against Rady’s complete control over his.

Didik talked about how impossible their task had been – to learn the rudiments of these dance forms within the space of a week, to try to master hand gestures that had taken them years to perfect. The students’ showcase felt both reflexive – deeply aware of their shortcomings and imperfections – but also rebellious – pushing back against the boundaries of their untrained bodies, acknowledging but also ignoring the impossibility of measuring up to what they’d had a tiny taste of this week.

Day 5 (Nov 8) – putting everything together

We’re almost at the finish line. This is the final day to put everything together before the team goes into tech tomorrow, and they’ll only have time for one full tech run because they’re sharing the venue (the Centre 42 Black Box) with a few other presentations that require time for plot/tech as well.

Short post today because every tweak is on a granular level at this point and I can’t type too much without giving chunks of the piece away – I’ll upload Xiaoyi’s four-page “script” / “performance score” after the show is over so you’ll be able to see how much it’s a hybrid of space and specificity. The score hinges on “time”, “bodies”, and “space”. Everything’s timed down to the minute, but there’s also room within those strict boundaries to explore (in a sort of meta echo of Day 3). In the morning, the performers are left to be each other’s dramaturgs and “third eyes” in a dramatic final segment that they’re having trouble ironing out, and figuring out how each of them relates to the other in this nine-minute cadenza. We also have to imagine the ghost of Shimizu-san, now back in Tokyo for another performance, summoning back what his presence felt like and how he moves across a room.

Xiaoyi returns (after working separately with Ee Vian and Andy on other segments) to see what they’ve done, and he doesn’t think it’s quite there yet. We spend an entire hour doing a minute-by-minute (and sometimes by second) breakdown of the fluctuations and variations of energy and structure of this portion of the work, while the practitioners are scribbling furious notes on their scores. This changes again when we test it out with a few different soundscapes – many of the sounds are environmental cues for how long the performers have left, especially when they don’t have the luxury of a timer on stage. They do have two separate timers backstage along with their scores and various props. I think it was Celest, our production manager, who told us about how performer George Chan accidentally reset his timer during Einstein in the Carpark earlier this year and could never get his timing back, which meant that for the rest of that show he was fumbling in the dark for his entrances and exits and had to do mental gymnastics by adding and subtracting exact minutes to his new start time – which makes me realise that the audience isn’t privy to a lot of the obsessive attention to detail that’s part of the fabric of the show, but also the complete arbitrariness built into some sections of the performance. e.g. For one scene of Journey to Nowhere, the performers came up with the idea of doing a quick scissors-paper-stone game outside to determine the order in which they’ll enter the space.

There’s also the contribution of the people not immediately visible to the spectator and critic.  Jing (who’s termed himself “the sound guy”) and Natalie (our steadfast stage manager) have also had room to wear the director’s hat in their own way, and Xiaoyi’s woven many of their developmental suggestions into the piece. I’ve noticed that much of this final day is devoted to Jing and Natalie’s very patient trouble-shooting – working around newfound restrictions in ways that are respectful of the vision of the work, whether it’s renegotiating certain entrances and exits, or how to cue in performers out of earshot, or figuring out how to move in a costume with less shoulder room than expected.

I’ll post up a separate reflection piece about my role tomorrow or the day after, but right now I’m headed into the tech run – I can’t quite believe they’re bumping in!

Day 4 (Nov 7) – the final pieces

The artist lineup is complete! Andy is back from Australia and he’s here to give us a belated introduction, i.e. the five-minute practical demonstration and ten-minute verbal introduction that the other six practitioners went through on the first day. The moment he begins to speak it’s clear that he’s in the right room. While he wasn’t privy to the large-scale discussion that took place yesterday, he’s flagged exactly the same issues for discussion.

Andy playing the dizi.
Andy playing the dizi.

Andy first heard the sound of the dizi when he was eight years old, immediately went to hunt it down and eventually joined the school’s Chinese orchestra. But while he loved his instrument, he says he never felt connected to or satisfied with the thematic concerns of Chinese orchestral music, whether it was horseriding or the Cultural Revolution. While pursuing music as a flautist in the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa), he was also learning how to play the gamelan over at the Lasalle College of the Arts, along with some training in theatre and dance. He also began composing music that dealt with local ideas that resonated with him, the soundscapes of everyday experience. He identifies his own lineage with that of his master’s – the 江南丝竹 style of Chinese instrumental music (jiangnan sizhu; Jiangnan silk and bamboo, where silk stands for stringed instruments and bamboo for wind instruments like the dizi). He appreciates its embracing of improvisation, where it has “a simple, structural score, and people can improvise around it, which gives it its personality through reinterpretation”. He’s also very influenced by the gamelan and often incorporates its scale, ideas and structure into his music.

Like almost all the other practitioners in the room, he lays out his challenges as “the preconceived notions of who I am and what I’m expected to be”. When he first “broke out” of the traditional music framework, he faced “a lot of wrath”, and was told that “the apple has fallen very far from the tree.” In particular, he contests the connotations and impositions of the word “traditional” that seems to lock practitioners like himself in time, in the past – when in fact culture is evolving all the time. It’s part of the reason he founded SA (仨), a collective of musicians that is both inter-disciplinary and multicultural, which has embarked on all sorts of collaborations (including a deeply sensorial and hypnotic audio-visual experience with NADA and Brandon Tay, Anticipation of One, which I attended at the Singapore International Festival of Arts earlier this year).

One of Andy’s biggest concerns is how there’s a lack of a crossover from audience members of the various art forms in Singapore, e.g. the audience for a Beijing opera production is probably going to be very different from a ballet one. So although there’s a substantial audience base, he feels they aren’t being cultivated across forms and disciplines. He proposes developing arts audiences from a much younger age, giving them access to exciting pieces of art when their tastes haven’t quite cemented – because these tastes become more and more fixed as audiences reach the 25-45 age bracket, the prime ticket-buying demographic.

Like the day before, the group has a discussion about what’s been brought up. I’m focusing on the tail end of the conversation, when Shimizu-san asserts that even what we know today as “traditional art” began as artists focusing on their individual practices, then coming together and consolidating over time into a “traditional form”; they were, in fact, experimenting. “Even when you’re practising today, you carry that history on your back,” he says through Sim, “It’s a long, connected story, and maybe we can reconstruct and picture that journey.”

Amin agrees, but he says, “I’m aware of my history, but often policymakers and people who want our services only see us as the past.” (Quote of the DAY.)

Andy echoes this – he brings up how what we know as traditional Chinese orchestral music today was in fact a construct of the 1960s, a response to Western orchestral music, which is what Ee Vian brought up on the very first day. She says: “Maybe some people don’t want to move from that script.”


The rest of the day is spent on putting together their script. The various segments of Journey to Nowhere have all been sketched out, it’s now a matter of stitching the modular pieces together. Andy also gets to see what’s been created in his absence and where he enters the picture. A lot of the development work now involves some freedom to improvise within structured frames (not that dissimilar to the jiangnan sizhu music Andy mentioned earlier), and working on how all seven of the performers sense and listen to each other, like a mega Viewpoints exercise. It helps that all the performers have developed a fondness for and intimacy with each other over the past four days.

I’ll probably flesh this out more in my actual review (or not, I don’t know what form that response is going to take yet) of Journey to Nowhere, but as much as I am all for the Southernmost format, I still have my reservations about the kinds of imagery and sloganic text that Xiaoyi likes using, and using repeatedly across productions and time – although this really could be a matter of taste. We also have external spectators in the room for the open rehearsal (2pm to 6pm), and it’s interesting to attempt to gauge their reactions to the half-formed work. I ask one of them what she thinks, and she tells me about the gendered relationship she’s interpreted of a particular scene that she finds odd because it isn’t referenced in any of the other excerpts, and she read into it associations with the #MeToo movement. This is something that hasn’t occurred to me as someone so embedded in the behind-the-scenes intentions of the work, but it’s fascinating to see how a single scene, out of context, is already producing its interpretive garden of forking paths.


I've taken 80 pages of notes over five days. (Photo: Emergency Stairs)
80 pages of notes in five days. (Photo: Emergency Stairs)

Here’s a break from our regular programming to say: this daily writing practice has done wonders for my discipline. The plan this week was to attend daily 9am to 6pm rehearsals with the practitioners and Xiaoyi for Journey to Nowhere, followed by the daily masterclass with Didik and Rady from 7pm to 10pm. Unfortunately I’ve had to miss out on the evening classes because it would have left me with no time to write. But I will be attending the masterclass showcase this coming Friday (Nov 9) – I can’t wait. (This week I’ve been writing from about 8.30pm to 12.30am every day with no time to properly edit any of my posts, they just go straight into the world in horrible unedited shapes – I was hoping to revisit them and clean them up after the festival but I think that will be a long time yet…)

In that vein – a concern I had, which I shared with Xiaoyi, is how overstretched Didik and Rady are from 13-hour days. I wondered if it might have been possible for the masterclass to have been conducted the week before. Xiaoyi acknowledged this; the reason was financial and had been very difficult to make. It constantly frustrates me how this system – which isn’t entirely Emergency Stairs’ fault – demands extraordinary labour from artists. Day 4 was also the day where all the physical hiccups began to show up – Didik’s voice was sounding a little hoarse and he was coughing, and Rady stubbed his toe while performing and almost dislodged a toenail. They’d recovered by the day after, but it’s still been bugging me. Shimizu-san, with his insane touring schedule, flew back to Tokyo on Wednesday night for a performance and will only be back on Saturday morning on the red eye flight, barely in time for the first 3pm show that day. Ee Vian had to miss a few hours of rehearsal for her regular roster of teaching jobs with private students.

I know these really aren’t uncommon scheduling challenges for any performing arts company, but I thought I had to talk about how stretched artists can be as they juggle ways to make ends meet, and how this really shouldn’t be normalised as “starving/struggling for your art” or valorised as a symbol of one’s commitment to a craft. We only had two hours with the entire cast in the same room – and even then it’s been a luxury to spend so many full days with almost all of the practitioners in one place. And in the vein of ensuring that artists are cared for and have a safety net, sure, there’s going to be a freelance resource centre set up for artists in Singapore, but I wonder why we haven’t already implemented an equity system, emulating similar unions in the United States and the United Kingdom. Maybe I’m idealistic, but sometimes I wonder if our system is so broken that burnt out, overworked artists and production teams have become the norm. I know I’ve sometimes been afraid to say ‘no’ to projects even when I’ve been overworked because, well, you never know when your next project will come in to give you another brief period of financial stability.

To every creative practitioner out there, I wish you the utmost care for your bodies, the instrument of your work.