How does Pooja Nansi’s You Are Here excite and inspire you?
The reason why I love You Are Here is because it’s so deeply personal and deeply specific that it forces me to reflect on my own experiences. I’m always constantly reminded of my own parents. My own grandparents. My own origin stories.
There’s also a deep undercurrent of love for Singapore and a deep undercurrent of concern for the future. You know – how do we tell who we are and who our families are to our children and our children’s children? And who are we within that family tree? What makes a family? What makes a home?
I’m always forced in a really beautiful way to question what makes Singapore home – what makes Singapore special? I’ve been working on this show for more than a month, and I’m still thinking about the answers to these questions!
Can you share your own story of how you came to live and work in Singapore?
I came to Singapore in 2006 because I was extremely interested in Asian traditional theatrical art forms. At the time, I came here to work with what is now known as ITI (Intercultural Theatre Institute) as their movement lecturer.
I stayed because I absolutely adored the theatre industry here. I could see so many different shows, so many different genres, different aspects, different viewpoints of the world, and in so many different languages as well, every single weekend. I really did a deep dive and, after six months here, I fell in love. It’s like Singapore became my boyfriend and I didn’t want to leave!
Would you call Singapore home?
Home is where the heart is. I stay here because my friends are here. I stay here because I’m still so very passionate about the work that Singaporean artists do. So there’s a lot of heart here. I do miss my parents, who come over to Singapore quite often – it’s like Singapore is their second home as well. But yeah, I feel very much at home here and I do love it.
Which aspect of the show particularly resonates with you?
The women are very strong in this piece – Pooja’s mother, her grandmothers and Pooja herself. And I really adore certain sections because they talk openly about what it is to be a woman in Singapore. So we find out where Pooja gets her strength from and that it runs in the family, which excites me a lot. I really do adore listening to her stories because it reminds me about how strong the women in my family are.
What’s it been like working with Pooja on this show?
I love Pooja and it’s so much fun to work with her! She’s a poet, so you feel like you’re sitting with greatness, I suppose, when you’re rehearsing. We have a lot of laughs during rehearsal, so it’s been really great!
What do you hope audiences will take away from You Are Here?
It’s a real gift to the audience, I think, to spend an hour with this deeply personal story and reflect on your own experience. There are openings for that all the way through the show. It’s funny, but it’s very deeply resonant. Yes, I laugh, but there are times when I remember my own family, when I remember my own home. And there are also really sparks of joy in it as well.
So, yeah, come along. It’s going to be great!