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Why Theatre?

Zach: I'm doing theatre because it can be as simple as one person talking to another and yet it has the potential for complexities simply because we are dealing with one person to another. Theatre is evolving because the way we communicate is evolving and yet it reminds us constantly why we have that need, that urge to communicate and to express. I feel that in a world that's becoming used to soundbites and 15 sec videos, taking a moment to clarify our thoughts and figuring out how we want to express that thought is becoming increasingly important. Many things may have changed but the questions we ask are still the same so for me, art will always be relevant in that sense. Unless we make some leap in humanity, but then I also assume that art will also make that leap together with us. We are born expressive and emotional creatures, even though both words don't necessarily give enough scope or justice to "the human experience". Theatre is a medium that I would say is fluid enough to allow a lot of breadth in how an individual chooses to express. It incorporates words, sounds, lights, music, video, images, objects, and most importantly people. You can't call it theatre if there are no people involved. I am doing theatre because I am fascinated with life, and with people.

Edward:It's the most interesting thing I've ever done in my life. And still is.

Wah: I remembered a television series I have seen before, and there was a line which went like this: “Everyone would have a place that belongs to him. If you situate yourself within this place, you would shine in it.” The theatre is ever-changing, mysterious and possesses infinite possibilities. I believe it is the place that belongs to me. All these years, I have not given up on it – and I have also come to realize that it is a very magnanimous place. Not only does it allow anyone to showcase their creativity, it also accepts different perspectives about issues. It also shares with others these perspectives, thereby infecting others with empathy. Instead of saying that I chose theatre, in fact, it had chosen me. It has allowed me to shine in its embrace. I have fallen in love with it, and this love is incurable – I don’t think I can ditch it at all!

Ric: Life's a stage, everything is but a game, a story.
Working in theatre allows me to get in touch with stories. I can read them, play them, even create them! Compared to television and movies, I feel that theatre is the closest to Life. It is a performance based upon the moment, very spontaneous, and once it is gone it is gone, there is no "re-take". Theatre gave me the space to understand myself on a deeper level, and it makes me want to discover and understand my surrounding environment as well.

Rei:Other than that. I'm of no use for other things.

Suhuai: When I was still studying in the polytechnic, I would be a part time shop assistant outside school hours. In the day when there are no customers, I would be behind the counter reading the Collection of Qian Zhongshu, which I have borrowed from the library. When the boss returns and discovers that I am always hidden behind the counter, he would then take the chair away. This makes reading even more difficult. In the end, I stopped reading. Working in the theatre is like the chair that helps me to read. Of course, those who are able to read without sitting would even be more admirable.

Liansheng:To be honest, it’s a question I don’t ask myself often. Theatre’s something I just do. I have asked myself why I write though.  In this aspect, if I can quote from a feminist rally cry, I think it is best summed up in this sentence I have been hearing recently. Essentially, “the personal is political”. In addition to the idea that a lot of problems the characters in my plays face can be systemic problems, I also believe that with the sharing of stories of characters usually not talked about, this might add to the possibility of generating more empathy through sharing. It is about generating more possibilities – whether they are possibilities of dialogue, understanding, or conflict. To be honest, we can never really know what happens with all these works being created. That’s why I don’t ask why I am doing theatre often, because I don’t know if the answers I get will be adequate for my questions.

Issy:I have concluded that I do theatre because it's in my nature. I am a "story-reteller". I have always loved creating stories in my head and acting them out ever since I was a little girl. And as I grew older, I came into contact with as many formats of storytelling, as I did stories. For a period of time, I was really into using film to express all those ideas - it was a language I was fluent in and understood quite well. But weirdly enough, as I evolved, theatre became my medium of choice for retelling the stories that were collected and digested in my head. There is something about theatre that intrigues me. It combines the transient nature of photography, with the movement and excitement of film, and is so much more layered and complex then the other visual mediums. (No offence, each medium is an art unto itself) Its something I don't fully understand, which explains my fascination with it, I guess. Whatever it is, theatre has become a means for me to be myself - someone who loves telling and dreaming up stories. It is a somewhat romantic notion really; that I can hopefully become one of those "collectors" that catalogues human experiences through the process of telling them.

But one of the biggest reasons why I do theatre is because it challenges me, and frustrates me and makes me remember the important things in life. It constantly forces me to learn new things about myself, and is a driving force for me to live my life the way it should be; happy but not to the point of ignorance, with a confidence that comes from humility and empathy that comes from the struggle to be a good person. Also, it is a constant reminder to have fun!! Theatre is basically a kind, honest way to examine your own life and the world around you and also enjoy it for all its worth :)

arrow  Continue reading on Issue 4 / 31 March 2015:Experiment • Viewpoint