In the final issue of the Practice Journal for this year, we will be consolidating the work of Practice Lab, The Theatre Practice’s sub division. For a start, let’s begin by looking at “viewpoints”.
When the Practice Journal first began, I told myself, I need articles with a view. However, what exactly constitutes a view? Every time someone tries to answer a question, or explain something, he would inevitably be providing a view. At times, we are afraid of saying what we think – we are afraid of being rejected, or deemed as being superficial. And to explain or define something, as we know, sometimes might just kill the very thing we are trying to define. However, if you do indeed try, and realize that questions do not simply become crystal clear just because you answer them, or that clearly defined statements can still be disproved, then Whatever you are trying to define will still be “alive”.
This is because in actual fact, every view, once proffered, will stand to be contested. To actually believe that a view can stand uncontested is to deceive oneself. That is because any view is essentially only one view in the entire scheme of things. However, it is only with doubts that one questions; it is only because one wavers, therefore we can move forward. If there is no one view we hold, then we are constantly drifting, following the direction of the tides, ergo directionless. As such, having a view is only a moment of respite, for us to have a an anchor at one instance. It will then help to orientate ourselves, so that we can find a direction to continue trudging on to further places - To ponder upon issues we have never even considered before.
Under the leadership of Liu Xiaoyi, director of the Practice Lab, the Lab participants, which included 9 actors and 2 playwrights, each went through different levels and methods of “training” over the course of one year. Instead of defining it as “training”, it would be better to define it as a big experiment that everyone went through. Whether it was testing the actors’ playwriting abilities, or the directing abilities of the playwrights, or the ability of the director to assume the role of an audience, there have been varying degrees of experimentation that each member of the Lab experienced.
There have been many questions posed and points discussed over the course of this one year. This process, actually, is the formulation of various viewpoints, and essentially a process of sharing and questioning. There are a lot of thoughts which, if you had never articulated them, or written them down, you would perhaps not comprehend what is it that you actually wanted to say. As such, I began to ask the actors and playwrights many questions – some of which we have discussed before. I also got them to write down what their answers to these questions were. Perhaps the Practice Journal is just a platform, or an excuse, to sort out and organize my thoughts. You need to constantly hone your thought process, and sorting out one’s thoughts is one such way of doing so. Just as what I have mentioned previously, once you have found your footing then can you trudge forward to more places.
As such, this issue of Practice Journal will present you with various viewpoints via a series of questions to the Lab participants. A play, an issue, a social event, or an individual… Only with the aid of various viewpoints then will we be closer to the reality of things.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue, and discover new insights through the various viewpoints raised in this Journal.
Continue reading on Issue 4 / 31 March 2015:Experiment • Viewpoint