A couple of months ago, I was invited by the Melbourne Writers’ Festival to host a couple of post-show Q&As for their theatre series ‘Staged’. I was absolutely thrilled. I hadn’t been back in Melbourne since December 2016 and on August 26th 2018, I took on the role of a Q&A chairperson for the first time.
We are no different from dragonflies. With their tiny transparent wings flapping at 30 beats per second, these creatures travel thousands of kilometers to reproduce, to find a new home, to fight for their survival. This is what Pangdemonium’s Dragonflies alludes to: like dragonflies, our existence is dependent on long-distance migration. From the nomadic homo erectus to our forefathers arriving on distant shores, human beings share this animalistic drive to seek out greener pastures.
Dragonflies begins four years in the future, in a post-Brexit United Kingdom where xenophobia is rampant. It reads like a Nigel Farage wet dream – all non-British citizens no longer have the right to own property and are forced to return to their home countries. Despite having made England his home for thirty years, Singaporean citizen Leslie Chen (Adrian Pang), finds himself back in Singapore. He is greeted by a country that is equally hostile and brimming with racial tension.
The only thing inevitable about life is death. So why do we focus on leading a good life, without any thought on how to lead a good death?
A Good Death is a one-woman play led by palliative care doctor Dr Leong (Karen Tan) who helps her patients through their final days. Death creeps into her personal life as well, as she worries over the care for her dementia-ridden father. Despite these heavy-handed themes, A Good Death takes on a soft, composed approach, mainly bolstered by Tan’s graceful performance.
Memories come in fragments. They are never methodically organised or neatly categorised as the way you had first experienced it. When someone asks, “Do you remember?”, it takes a while to jog your memory, to recollect a longgone moment in time. This is what Pangdemonium’s The Father attempts to recreate—a collection of memories in disarray, but bound together by an ailing protagonist’s mind.