Backstage

Reflecting on Life – Timothy Wan opens up about post-life choices

13 Oct 2016
Interview by Sam Kee
Photos from Nine Years Theatre

Nine Years Theatre continues the year with its second production,Red Sky – a sentimental classic by celebrated Taiwanese playwright, Stan Lai.

The story takes place at a retirement home, centering about 8 elders in their twilight years. Red Sky features 8 veteran actors of the local Mandarin stage. But today, we decide to turn the tables and speak to the youths who hold significant roles in the narrative of this play.

reflecting on life timothy wan opens up about post life choices

Timothy Wan plays a salesman. Not just any kind of salesman, but one who is trying to sell a columbarium’s “niche space” to these old folks at a retirement home (complete with “buy-one-get-one discounted” tactics!). I wonder what kind of hostility he might face from the veterans in the play for being so daring… Anyway, we speak to Timothy about death, and his post-life choices:

1. So… is this play about death?

Yes! But, of course, it’s more than that. The other side of the coin – of death – happens to be life, and I think we can’t really examine the subject of death without first looking at the lives of the characters presented in the play. [Instead of just] presenting the end-state, which could be death, I find that good plays delve a lot more into the process of how different people arrive at the conclusion in their own ways. It’s through that process (which we see on stage) that we find ourselves relating as an audience.

2. During the rehearsals, what did you see in the veteran cast – how they deal with the themes “old-age” and “death”, given that these topics are something close to their hearts?

One of the things my father once said to me about my late grandfather, is that there comes a point in one’s life where you find yourself having a lot more time, or mind-space, to think about what happens as you grow older, and as the idea of ‘death’ approaches.

I think in addition to a great deal of life experiences, and the knowledge they have about these topics, [the veteran cast] brings a quieting and calming peace, with regards to the issues this play deals with, and subsequently, bringing [the emotions] into the play when they perform. I’ve come to see this as part of what they’ve accrued in their many years of performing: learning and simply going through events of their lives. It is quite a beautiful thing to watch from an observer’s perspective.

3. Do you agree with the position of your character?

This is a hard one… I would have to say that I agree with the practicality of the ‘post-life’ solutions that my character brings up in the play! But then again, the kind of yearning for a place of belonging and the idea of what ‘home’ truly is, is something that I don’t think I fully comprehend as compared to someone who has lived through 70 years and been re-located multiple times. And that’s kind of what happens to these older characters in the story. They are constantly being shifted from one place to another, whether by choice or as a result of circumstances, and really, at the end of the day, I think all they want is to be able to find resolution in having a place they know they belong to. Even if that’s just a plot of land where they’ll be buried.

4. 如果你能选择,你会选择:
a. 灵骨塔
b. 下葬
为什么?

我应该会选灵骨塔吧。对我来说这是最简单的处理方式,而且也会很方便我的家人。在新加坡,下葬是[一种]有时间限制的处理方式,还不如省掉麻烦,直接火葬。

5. 你会如何向家人开口讨论“后事”这回事?

希望将来,我可以和家人很轻松地谈这件事。我会直接让他们知道我的意愿,然后把意愿写进进遗嘱,让律师去办! 我最大的心愿就是可以和心爱的人讨论、谈任何一件事,因为这将代表我们之间的关系非常的好。

About Timothy Wan
Timothy is an actor, singer, and musician. He graduated with a BA(Hons) in 2013, from the Theatre Studies department in the National University of Singapore. Since then, he has been actively involved in both the local English and Mandarin theatre scene.

Stage credits include: Army DazeGlass AnatomyHigh ClassRed Riding HoodFirecrackers & BombshellsRomeo & Juliet: The Musical,Hansel & GretelThe Nightingale (in both English & Mandarin), Junior ClausTitoudaoThe TempestDecember RainsWhite Soliloquy,Beauty WorldRed DemonKumarajiva.
Timothy is a core member of Nine Years Theatre Ensemble Project.

伟文是一名演员、歌手,以及音乐家。他毕业于新加坡国立大学戏剧系,目前是一名自由性质的戏剧 从业者。毕业了以后,伟文已参与了许多英语和华语剧场的制作。
他曾参演:Army Daze、 《搭错车》、 High Class、 Red Riding Hood、 Firecrackers & Bombshells 、 Romeo & Juliet: The Musical、Hansel & Gretel、 The Nightingale (中英文)、 Junior Claus、 Titoudao、 The Tempest、 《雨季》、 《白言》、 Beauty World、 《赤鬼》、 《鸠摩罗什》。
伟文目前是「九年剧场演员组合计划」的核心组员。

Group Young Horizontal Plain small

* * * * * *

Red Sky 红色的天空
Written by Stan Lai
Date: 20 – 23 Oct 2016, Thu – Sun
Time: 8:00pm | Additional 3:00pm show on Sat & Sun
Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT
Ticket Prices: $58, $48, $38
Details: www.artsrepublic.sg/events/2016/10/red-sky/

KEEP READING