In globalize and modernized times, the world has become generic. Invaded by the same stores with the same interiors across the globe, similar spaces and experiences are created. No wonder they say the world is getting smaller. It is just becoming homogenized. Which is perhaps why countries are clinging onto their culture and roots in a struggle to remain unique.
The infant nation of Singapore has just turned forty and we question the presence of a culture to cling onto since it belongs to a nation of migrants. With whatever little heritage it has, Singapore needs time to evolve it’s culture and identity. Memories, space, place all form the foundation to its creation.
Furnitur. sees the exploration of space, time, memories and objects in Mandarin theatre. Like the missing “e”, Furnitur is missing and yet complete as spaces, places, scents, sunsets and settings are evoked and created in the mind on the empty stage. The only props being an empty suitcase and shoes, the performance depicts the empty burden we carry upon ourselves as we travel through time.
Beginning from the beginning, the tale is narrated from the view point of a child’s memories. We trail the retrospection of two characters on their journeys home. Carrying emptiness in a suitcase, security comes in the form of memories, as if they possessed us.
Set in a Toa Payoh HDB [Public Housing] one room flat where the comical scenes of a house hold unfold in a toss of English, Mandarin and Cantonese. To Guanxi where water drawn from the well is depicted in Mandarin and Cantonese. The awkward dialogue of English syllables and Mandarin sentences are strange to the initial ear, it is however a reflection of how Singaporeans speak. A coherent sentence of Singlish is made up of an incoherent mishmash of all the major languages of the nation.
With a muffled soundtrack of music from a next door neighbor, everything is incomplete in Furnitur. There is a part missing and it will never be complete. For it belongs to a different realm and space. One where the passage of time blurs the recollection ever so more.
Date: 25th – 28th August 2005
Place: Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay, Theatre Studio
Text: Fann ZJ from npsea Enterprise