Country Directing Country: Day 5

It’s been 5 days and time has really passed by really fast. I am barely over jetlag and counting down the days, I only have 5 more days left here in New York City. Too fast!!

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The process of rehearsal is better described as devising and experimentation. The Actor in this case is a vessel and a pawn almost. Audrey and I work with two sets of directors. Our days are long, starting at 10am and ending at 10pm most days.

David Daimond and Glory Kadingan, the two American directors, Use storytelling as the basis of then devising work. We begin by sitting on a chair on stage. We share a personal story based on a prompt. For example, share a story about family. After collecting stories, we go off to write short scenes inspired by anythings we heard.

Here is one of mine, it had to be written really quickly, like less than 1 hour in fact:

Narrator: Kate is afraid of water. She rarely ventures  near the pool or the beach. And on the occasion thst she does, perhaps for a birthday party, she always manages to find a reason to stay fsr away from the water. But this time her best friend is getting married

Isn’t the most romantic thing?  To have the wind wafting through your hair and the waves brushing your feet as you kiss against the golden backdrop of the sunset?

Yeah, was all Kate could muster in support of her friend. And that’s how Kate ended up in Phuket. Standing ankle deep in water, holding her best friend’s bouquet as she was dipped by her husband for that romantic kiss she had longed for.

All Kate could think about was being wash away by the ocean. with each wave crashing against her ankle, all she could hear were the screams of the victims washed away by the tsunami. Eventually, my inner screams became much louder than those that the pastor had to tap her on the shoulder to tell her the ceremony had ended.

The reception was a beautiful event, still on the beach, but at least off the water, under a beautiful white canopy. The food was modest for wedding standards but there was this beautiful three tiered wedding cake, ganauche chocolate with brandied cherries: a perfect combination of the bride and groom’s favorite desserts.

The wedding was at it’s peak, food had been feasted on, and the the beautiful three tiered cake shared among the guest. Kate found a quick respite from her bridal party duties with a glass of champagne and a slice of that decandent cake she deserved for braving the waters. An old woman approached her.

Old woman: Food?

Kate: No.

These short pieces of text were eventually woven together to form a 30 minute play which we staged for a mini showing. It had a clear narrative.

Danny Yeo and Elizabeth de Rosa, the Singapore directors, had a different approach. We had begun our work in Singapore, first by using storytelling to excavate material. We retold the story with a simple staging, after which,  the directors swapped our physical text wihout swapping our stories.  I took on Audrey’s physical text with my story, while she took on mine with hers.

Arriving in the States, we began working with two American actors. The directors asked us to create lists around specific topics. These included,  what makes you not an “other”, what would you do to protect your group, community, country. Using games and viewpoint-like exercises, the directors wove together a 15 minute piece. The showing will be on Tuesday, the day I have to leave New York City!

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The work continues!

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