So last week, Theatre Memories finally completed all 50 interviews…
Hi-fives all round!
Our 50th was with theatre veteran, Mr Nadiputra Almahdi, whose stories ranged from funny, moving to a rather spine-tingling one about working late at the Victoria Theatre…
It feels momentous. I recall back to the day when we first discussed doing 50 interviews (50 being the number of trend this year). It seemed such a insurmountable task. And yet as we worked on the project, it increasingly felt like 50 was far too small a number to account for the many many people who have worked tirelessly, with much sacrifice, to grow and develop our local theatre scene. There is much more to be done.
Thankfully, Theatre Memories seems to have triggered something larger than itself. Not the least was a heartfelt article by Straits Times journalist, Corrie Tan – who questioned the value of nostalgia and went on to expound most movingly about how her theatrical experience in the Theatre Studies programme made a huge impact on her life.
This came after a very cosy sharing session when we interviewed Rey Buono, my old tutor from Victoria Junior College’s Theatre Studies programme who currently resides in Thailand. Many of his ex-students wanted to meet with him when he was in town. One of his ex-students, Joanne Poon, is now a Theatre Studies tutor herself, and she brought along a few of her ex-students, including Corrie. It was a rather special moment, to see how these theatre legacies continue, down three generations.
In addition, over the last few weeks, I saw via social media much recounting from practitioners and ex-practitioners of all ages. Many dug up and posted old photographs, drawings and scripts – eliciting even more remembrances, and sometimes sparking off a new awareness of a previous connection between people.
One of the cherished discoveries of working on Theatre Memories, is this sense of connectedness – of community. From interview to interview, I’ve heard people highlighting one another – even across different theatre companies and decades, speaking of shared inspiration and mentorship. There is a strong sense of having grown and developed together, in the same context, with similar struggles and successes.
So we go into this week with much to do – as it is, it’s almost 4am and my night is just done. But despite this, I’m going into this week with much excitement. Tomorrow (yikes, today) morning we will meet our venue partner, The Arts House, to discuss the finer details of the exhibition set-up. Then we’re off to pick up Lai Chee-Kien’s wonderful collection of old theatre brochures and leaflets, and then will drop by Wild Rice to look at their props house.
I leave with you a little glimpse of what may be in the exhibition!
Wish us luck, and see you at The Arts House!