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Szu-Feng Chen – I came at last to the seas


    The production was commissioned for the Huayi International Chinese Festival of Arts in Singapore. Inspired by the six roots of sensation in Buddhist philosophy, it was a questioning of one’s cultural identity and a search for a moment of equilibrium in the current world. Told through characters as multi-layered artistic expressions traveling through six intertwined stories, each complex emotion had its own distinct journey.

    The project began with the themes of travel, diaspora, and migration, exploring vulnerability, aggression, and impact of history and environment on one’s identity. It was developed through a series of workshops with artists who shared common cultural backgrounds and similar immigration experiences from different countries. Over two years, theatre artists from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the U.S. responded to the ideas of “finding roots versus transplant/immigration” and “nationalities versus ethnicities” with their personal stories and family histories, from which the scenes, actions, movements, and visual designs for the production were developed.

    Inspired by the philosophy of I Ching (The Classic of Changes), the performance design showcased a morphing process of one’s identity and assimilation in the context of diaspora. Yin and Yang-shaped sceneries moved in a cohesive flow, transforming the space for the journeys of the Sentimental, the Absurdist, and the Futuristic. Brush stroke- shaped drapes echoed the images of water, showcasing multimedia projections that represented space and time. The characters navigated through the unknown, experienced depression and aggression, and found their way and their place in the scheme of things. The costume design featured the contrast between chaos-neutral and exaggerated styles, showcasing the distinctions between inner identities and outer representations.

    Production Credits

    Huayi International Chinese Festival of Arts
    Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Commission
    The Theatre Practice

    Playwright – Wu Xi (China)

    Director– Kuo Jian Hong (Singapore)
    Movement Director
    – Ming Poon (Netherlands)

    Set & Costume Designer – Szu-Feng Chen (Taiwan/ USA)
    Projection Designers
    – Genevieve Peck, Ric Liu (Singapore)
    Lighting Designer – Lea Xiao (China)
    Sound Designer – Sandra Tay (Singapore)
    Music Composer – Julian Wong (Singapore)
    Hair Designer – Ashley Lim (Singapore)
    Make Up Designer – The Make Up Room (Singapore)