Checking into HOTEL
Dear friends and W!LD RICE Angels,
After more than a year of dreaming and scheming, we will throw open the doors of our HOTEL for the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) this Thursday. In creating this epic two-part odyssey through the history of Singapore, we have been on an incredible journey with our top-notch cast, crew and creative team. Together, we have grappled with big ideas and reflected on what it means to be human. Even as the Jubilee celebrations wind down and Singapore is once again heading to the polls, we have found it meaningful to explore the nuances of empire, power, race and language through the prism of one hotel room. What is it that makes us a nation? How is this relevant given that we, as Singaporeans, have been colonised by the British, occupied by the Japanese, absorbed into Malaysia and divorced from it to become an independent sovereign nation-state?
HOTEL is the most ambitious project W!LD RICE has undertaken in its 15-year history. To my knowledge, this four-and-a-half hour production is Singapore’s longest play to date. I am very grateful to my dear friend, Ong Keng Sen, for inviting us to be a part of SIFA 2015 and challenging us to embark on this risky and deeply satisfying endeavour.
In this issue, we invite you to uncover the inner workings of our HOTEL. Glen Goei, my partner-in-crime, and I talk about the genesis of this project, while our playwrights, Alfian Sa’at and Marcia Vanderstraaten, provide insight into the blood, sweat and research that went into crafting the 11 scenes in the show. We also chat with a pair of our ‘short-term guests’, Ben Cutler and Moo Siew Keh, who have come respectively from London and Malaysia to make their stage debuts in Singapore.
But that’s not all – even as we put the finishing touches on HOTEL, we are eagerly looking forward to young & W!LD’s upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, not to mention taking our acclaimed production of The Importance of Being Earnest on the road to Brisbane.
Enjoy W!LD TIMES, and see you at the theatre!