This post has been sitting in my Drafts folder for the last few months because I never found the chance/opportunity to post it. But today, I have the perfect excuse to do so: Google Alerts notified me about this article earlier this morning, and me relating this incident to you provides a nice segue for me to put up the e-mail interview and my responses in full!
- How is it like working with each other?
Great! Jon and I have learnt a lot from each other over this production and the last. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to work with him, as he’s very committed to the craft and is always working to get the best out of the text: whether it is in terms of using the best line to convey a certain meaning, or in terms of putting the actors through their paces in order for them to convey the best emotion.
- What changes were implemented from the previous run of OTOT in 2008?
The main consideration has always been giving the customers what they want, so we’ve listened to audience feedback when revising the plays. We wanted to make the play a better experience for audience in terms of entertainment and artistic value, so I’ve made changes to the action and the dialogue. For example, there were some concerns that last year’s version of Full Tank! was draggy and heavy-handed; I’ve gone through the script again to cut out repetitive lines and reduce clumsy expressions.
At the same time, I actually experimented with a few different scenarios, character motivations, etc. while making revisions to the script that was used during the OCBC Singapore Theatre Festival 2008. However, I’ve returned to the original plot that made Full Tank! a success, because I realised the stories that were told were what endeared the play to the audience. All that was needed was a bit of tweaking to the mechanics of the plot and it’d be good to go.
- Did you join any Arts clubs/Theatre societies when you were an undergraduate?
I was a hostelite through and through so I participated mainly in activities within Kent Ridge Hall. I co-wrote and edited two Hall Productions and contributed three short plays for an Inter-Hall Drama Fest in 2008 (one of which – The Last Political Animal – was censored by the Media Development Authority).
However, I think it wouldn’t be wrong to say that participating in activities outside of clubs and societies might have had a greater part to play in helping me hone my writing abilities. I read two modules taught by Huzir Sulaiman – EN2271: Introduction to Playwriting and EN3271: Advanced Playwriting. It was during that period that an early draft of Radio Silence, an absurd play about National Service, was read by Ivan Heng. This resulted in Ivan nominating me to participate in World Interplay 2007, an international playwriting festival held in Australia. My participation in this festival was co-funded by grants from the University Scholars Programme.
- What led to your decision to pursue a career in the Arts?
Unlike the others, I’m not working in the Arts full-time. I’m actually teaching the General Paper at Saint Andrew’s Junior College, but I still enjoy writing as a means through which I can take part in the Singaporean conversation about things that aren’t always very easy to talk about in the mainstream.