Serendipitous – Dream Country at SINGAPORE ARTS FESTIVAL babyyyy

Some time back I wrote about a fitting I went to and promised to elaborate more. So here goes…

I’m going to be dancing in the Singapore Arts Festival 2012! =))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Yes, it is a dream come true. In fact, a dream I have never dared openly talk about because… well, because performers are people like Lady Gaga and Kevin Spacey and the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance/Royal Ballet/Royal Shakespeare Company/Insert any other company that features ‘Royal’ in its name.

I have been so out of touch with the arts since I started working. Any hope of going back to W!ldrice during term breaks went out the window because I’d collapse from exhaustion the moment work ended. Besides, when I was working in theatre, I was always running the wardrobe backstage. (I love clothes. I love dressing people. I love hanging out with the lovely make up people backstage. I even love being yelled at to hurry up while poking needles into my fingers.) Me? Performing? That is a fantasy reserved for the occasions when I’m commuting without my iPod and Edward Norton and Adam Levine are free to drop into my head.

Fortunately, the stars seem to have aligned themselves in such a way that my childhood fantasy will soon become a reality. (Years of prancing about shaking my booty in front of irate family members who’d much rather be watch crappy TCS shows paid off.) The serendipitous way everything turned out still makes me smile.

It all began in January on my end, when I was made to enter an email address on this website that I can’t even remember the name of. I wasn’t sure how much spam they were going to attack my mailbox with, so I decided to use an old email address I don’t even log into anymore. To my dismay (then – I was none the wiser, you see), the website had sent a confirmation email to that address and I had to log in. How I manage to remember the password is still a miracle, but I broke in anyway.

What happened next, I still can’t explain. Without clicking on anything at all, an email opened up on its own (it wasn’t even the most recently dated email by the way): “Wanna be in the 2012 Singapore Arts Fest …. ???

Dancers selected are to commit themselves from April to June. And what do you know? I ain’t working April to June!


Date of email: 21 November 2011

Date I opened email: 11 January 2012

Date of audition: 27 November and 4 December 2011

Date I read email: Still 11 January 2012

Since I was planning to visit Melb in Japan in April, the pain of missing this opportunity stung a little less. Fractionally. Okay. Who am I kidding? I was still rather miffed.

I dropped Charlene, my wonderful ex-lecturer who tipped me off on the audition, an email anyway to tell her about  my major booboo, and she was so kind to write back to tell me I could still help out in some way. I responded with my travel plans but said I’d love to find out more anyway. Then… things went quiet on her end.

I was still working then, so I could (literally) turn to D for moaning and instant gratification. In the end, we both agreed it was best to leave it to the powers that be to decide if I would stay or go, and that was the end of it.

Until I heard from Charlene. This time she brought news that someone had to drop out unexpectedly and asked if I could take her place.

Uh… YES?! (And yes, C. MQ has spoken.) Touched by an angel/The stars aligned./God having a great day./Someone smiling down on me./Discovering pot of gold at the end of the rainbow./Fate, Destiny, Love, all in agreement./Fortune Favours The Brave. Yes. I felt all that.

We set up a date to have tea and catch up. (And I informed Melb who so sweetly offered to host me anytime as long as I made it soon.) And before that I snooped around to find out more about this project, called Dream Country. For your convenience, I’ll just include the short description Michele, the producer, forwarded me.

Dream Country

a lost monologue
Dream Country – a lost monologue, is a work about journeying.  It was first called the Urn Piece and created for 3 performers in 1988 by Marion D’Cruz and Dancers (Five Arts Centre). Inspired by a monologue entitled Dream Country, written by Malaysian playwright Leow Puay Tin, the dance presents images of birth, life and death. The monologue has since been lost, as no copies of the text are to be found. However it lives in the dance, and the performance invites the audience to find their own monologues, journeys and stories. In this performance for the Singapore Arts Festival in 2012 we have 35 urns and 41 creators. The 6 collaborators, along with the 35 performers, have been engaged in a process of discovery. We invite you to journey with us through the urns, the water, the earth, the stars….in search of all that we have lost…in search of new horizons, new beginnings. Dream Country – a lost monologue is a journey of hoping and of dreaming.
And what a treat it is to work with Charlene – a person I admire so much, and Marion D’Cruz, whom as far as I was concerned, is a legend whose name is uttered with great reverence (and whose work I read about as a student).
So here I am, just aching so badly for rehearsals to start in April. And the costume fitting in February only whetted the appetite even more. Now. When I was told that we’d be in gunnysacks for the performance, I’d honestly thought that I would be popping my head out of a recycled rice bag with 3 holes sliced open for my head and arms. Not that I mind. I like the material. I’ll make it work. But Hayden (the designer) made ACTUAL CLOTHES and GOWNS out of the gunny sacks. There was a gunnysack KIMONO. Gah.
Michele, Hayden, Jeannie and Charlene were busy fussing over us, getting us to have fun trying on all the gorgeous costumes, encouraging us to move around, dance about. The girls as well, are so diverse and unique, I just want to get working and get to know them better.
In the meantime, I shall leave you with Jeannie’s amazing photography. Jeannie was quietly (and calmly) documenting the madness at the SDEA office on the day of the fitting. Having never met Jeannie and seen her flex her photographic muscles, I started off in the usual mugshot stance when she asked if she could take pictures of me. (Ah. Idiot me. I know.) Even then, she still managed to put some groove in me and her great eye produced the pictures you are about to see. (Thanks Jeannie!)
The actual costume I’ll be wearing eventually is not in these series. So if you wanna find out what I’ve got, you’ll just have to come down to the Festival Village which the Singapore Arts Festival team will be building (!), located at the Esplanade Park on 31st May 2012 and 1st June 2012. More details soon!
Charlene stands, with her arms folded, overlooking her empire and contemplating her next move with her Gunnysackeroos.
Erm. Genius, people! Recognise!
 That’s Michele right there. She had on a dress that had some gorgeous draping that day. I must add here, that Michele is such a great person. She’s co-ordinating this project as well as other ongoing events for SDEA but she was helping so generously and corresponding so frequently with me when I asked for these pictures. Thank you Michele! =)
 I remember saying, “I want the slits to be up to here.” when this shot was taken. =D
All Photography © Jeannie Ho. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all photography are copyrighted. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any forms or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission by Jeannie Ho.

2 thoughts on “Serendipitous – Dream Country at SINGAPORE ARTS FESTIVAL babyyyy

  1. Pingback: Three Month Mark | Stealing Time

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