Two Songs and a Story: Artist Dialogue
Telling stories is what makes us human. How do we make meaning as artists amidst a pandemic, and overcome the sense of isolation that comes with it?
On Tue 11 Aug, 8pm live on Checkpoint Theatre’s Facebook page, the creative team for Two Songs and A Story shared the behind-the-scenes process of making the work and their personal discoveries. Co-directors Huzir Sulaiman and Joel Lim, and writer-performers ants chua, Inch Chua, Jo Tan, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, and weish, spoke on their individual writing journeys during the Circuit Breaker period, and their experiences behind the camera. This discussion was moderated by Nicole Wong (Checkpoint Theatre).
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Huzir Sulaiman is the co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of Checkpoint Theatre. A critically acclaimed and award winning playwright, his Collected Plays 1998-2012 was published in 2013. His most recent play, Displaced Persons’ Welcome Dinner, was a commission of the 2019 Singapore International Festival of Arts. Recent directing credits include Thick Beats for Good Girls (2018), FRAGO (2017), The Good, the Bad and the Sholay (2015). Currently an Adjunct Associate Professor with the National University of Singapore’s University Scholars Programme, Huzir has taught playwriting at many other institutions. Huzir was educated at Princeton University, where he won the Bain-Swiggett Poetry Prize, and is a Yale World Fellow.
Joel Lim is a fashion and celebrity photographer who has been translating his eye from one frame to many, dedicating his time and passion for unique compositions to the moving image. Photographing stills for the past decade and directing commercial advertising for the past three years, his latest project with Checkpoint Theatre allows him to capture his love of performance for the screen.
ants chua writes, directs, and performs. They most recently directed Beside Ourselves (2020) by .gif as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, and worked as an Assistant Director and Musician on Checkpoint Theatre’s Displaced Persons’ Welcome Dinner (2019) and Thick Beats for Good Girls (2018). ants also co-wrote, co-directed, and performed in Flamingos (2018), an original creative work which explored vulnerability and intimacy. They are interested in careful critique, disruptive play, and reimagining the social world.
Inch Chua is an international recording and performing artist born in Singapore, educated in fine arts, and inducted into the music industry in Los Angeles. Her passion for the arts, wild places, and technology has led her to play at numerous festivals around the world and to experiment in a variety of art forms. An appreciator of good gin, random animal factoids, and dense film essays, Inch was a recipient of the National Youth Award in 2018 for her contributions in the arts and was recently awarded Best Sound at The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards 2020 for her multisensory theatrical music production ‘Til The End Of The World, We’ll Meet In No Man’s Land (2019). She is currently based in Singapore with her two cats and nursery of plants.
Jo Tan is an actress, singer, and host who trained in Paris, and has performed internationally to audiences in New York, London, Beijing, and Yeosu. In Singapore, she won Best Actress at The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards 2020 for her one-woman show Forked (2019), and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2018 for her performance in Checkpoint Theatre’s FRAGO (2017). Additional television and film credits include Mediacorp Channel 5’s 20 Days (2018), Scrum Tigers (2019), Channel 8’s Jalan Jalan (2018), Ho Tzu Nyen’s Cannes official selection film, Here (2009), and Tiong Bahru Social Club (upcoming). Jo has also starred in various online productions including Daniel Yam’s The Helper, and her self-penned King, featured in the T:>Works NOW Festival 2020.
Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai is an actor, singer, and voiceover artist. Recent selected theatre credits include her critically acclaimed solo show, Building A Character (Wild Rice’s Singapore Theatre Festival 2018), Discord of Discourse (UK, 2018), The Art of Strangers’ Miss British (Esplanade’s The Studios 2019), Eloquence (in collaboration with Santiago, Chile, 2019), and Three Fat Virgins Unassembled (T:>Works, 2019), for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards 2020. Sangeetha has also written songs for the stage – in early 2019, she debuted her solo jazz concert Sangeetha Sings Sinatra: Live at the Esplanade. Her next concert, Sangeetha & Simone, is slated for 2020/21. Follow her quirky dogs and music @ms.dorai or msdorai.com.
weish is a versatile artist whose work spans genres and disciplines. Her compositions have taken her around the globe –– from the Sundance Film Festival (US) to the Golden Melody Awards (Taiwan) –– and she has toured across Europe, Australia, and Asia as part of electronic duo .gif and experimental group sub:shaman. Other international collaborations include her construction of sound art installations in London and her work with DJs in Tokyo. As a theatre-maker, weish was the Musical Director for Checkpoint Theatre’s Displaced Persons’ Welcome Dinner (2019) and writer-performer in Beside Ourselves (2020), a form-bending production presented by .gif for the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. In Two Songs and a Story, weish presents her most difficult work to date, laying bare a part of herself she never thought she could show anyone. More about her at wweishh.com.