• Lihong

Confinées

I had a ball of a time performing my first ever musical (and in French too!) with this bunch of French ladies! We performed an original musical written by Nathalie, which was about women who are literally and figuratively imprisoned, and then we find solidarity in each other while in prison together.


At first, I just wanted to challenge myself - perform in French. And why not a musical? I love singing and dancing.


I joke often that my years in France were actually spent performing (haha) under whatever gaze the intersection of my early twenties insecurities had created in my head. Aiyah.


Anyway, along the way, friendships were developed, and while it was kinda hard to really get to know everyone, it was still awesome to start to see each of us in our unique colours. I also realised I just really wanted to engage with this language and culture in a different way than I had in the past.


Thanks so much to Nathalie Durot Ribette for bringing us together, to Sing'theatre for the space and manpower, to the awesome Yu Khing Poh for making us look so good! Thanks also to Mina Kaye who taught us those smokin' Fosse moves!


Making a performance is such a team effort and while I absolutely loooove that adrenaline pumping experience of being on stage and the uniqueness of every show (same same but different), the real enjoyment for me is the time spent together with cast members, director, stage manager, crew, costumes, set designers, lighting designers, photographers, writers, dramaturg (if we have the luxury of having one), etc. Not every production has so many people involved, and most of the time people wear so many hats.


Confinées means "confined" or "locked in", which is a jeu de mots because for the last two years we have also been confined by the pandemic. Perhaps through this enforced return to self, it has thrown up more than a few questions about whether or not we have been locked out of other things as well. What exactly are we a prisoner of? I have definitely struggled with this question a lot, as I am going through a big change in work and life, everything as I know it is different from just three years ago. I am still finding the courage wherever I can, to continue on this discovery, this unfurling and unfolding. It may take forever, but it's the only thing I can do.


I am and have always been enamoured of the kind of performance making that's a tool for self and community empowerment, beyond having fun, of course. I hope to do that more in time to come!


I also like to just approach a question by engaging in the creation of a performance, and in the process, I gain some answers. It's funny because we often feel pressured to be certain about results before we even commit resources to something, especially in Singapore. I've had way too much conditioning in that area. That actually blocks the creative process and I'm learning to trust myself and my co-creators, and be more like Dirk Gently, that we will find what we need in the process.


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