Reality is a sliding door – Ralph Waldo Emerson. And we (the audience) get to choose which one to open, unravelling the destiny of the characters we encounter. Yes, thanks to the people at Skinned Knee Productions (SKP), this has become a reality with their upcoming site-sympathetic production Mind Map Of Love.
You’re invited to dinner, while two couples – Brendon Fernandez & Elizabeth Lazan, Rosemary McGowan & Amanda Tee – a heterosexual and lesbian duo respectively – share with you stories of love, travel, life… but you get to decide what happens next. Held at the beautiful restaurant/art space that is Zott’s True Alps, you literally determine fate over your (3-course dinner) feast.
LASALLE Alumni Actors/Directors/Producers Rayann Condy (director of Mind Map) and Pavan Singh initially set up SKP as a space for new LASALLE grads to continue to work together and build on a shared skills vocabulary. Now, Skinned Knee Productions works with performers from different backgrounds as the focus of their work has evolved over time too.
As an artist, Rayann shares that she has “… always loved spaces. The way they ‘speak’, the echoes of all the people who have been there before. It fascinates me. I can look out of my window and spend hours imagining who lives in the little box across from mine. Or better still who stood at my window before me and what did they think and feel?”
Why Mind Map Of Love? Rayann first came to the story as a book. Written by Christian Zott (above) – inspired by his travels throughout Europe – she loved how other-worldly it was. “These people live lives of such luxury and opulence. It felt like a glamorous, old movie to me. And I thought this could be a play…” With that, Marcia Vanderstraaten adapted the novel. “I’ve done a site-specific restaurant play with Skinned Knee before and really enjoyed it…” Actress Rosemary shares, “When I heard they were doing another one, I was super excited. I read the book and was intrigued at how it was going to be put together!”
“The audience members do the steering for this show”, Amanda continues. “It will be very exciting but scary at the same time because the actors don’t have control.”
This ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ trajectory is reminiscent for many of us of our childhood. I remember my mother reading Arabian Nights to me as a bedtime story, where I got to choose my path. And as Brendon says, “It reminds me of the joy I felt as a kid when reading books like the “Lone Wolf” series, where for the first time, I got to be the protagonist in the story. I think we tend to forget that when we grow up. We forget that each of us is still the protagonist in our own life’s story. Too many of us feel railroaded as adults, living out someone else’s narrative instead of our own.”
Having been in Singapore for over a decade now, how does Rayann see the arts scene changing? “The strata that interest me is the space of smaller upcoming groups. In other places it’s the fringe theatre scene or the off, off Broadway. In Singapore, this space is largely lacking.” As Singapore explores more of this genre of non-conformist, site-specific drama – “I think what we need is time. We are a very young scene comparatively. More importantly, I think we need space. Literally spaces to work that are affordable and given for use with out the conditions of specific ‘development’ programs.”
So what else can we look forward to from SKP in 2016? “We are venturing into theatre for youngsters for the first time. Pavan has written a script that we plan to stage next year. So that’s a whole new challenge… Also, bigger buildings! I’d love to take over a whole warehouse or an old house or an office building. I’d love to make a kind of installation theatre piece.”
Considering the sell out runs of her last shows (The Woman Who Cooked her Husband and Ragnarok), it seems like Rayann is living her own exciting adventure as an artist, and Singapore has chosen to come along for the ride.
Mind Map Of Love , 4th – 11th Nov
Directed by Rayann Condy at Zott’s True Alps
Get tickets here: http://www.skinnedkneeproductions.com/tickets.html
By Celebrity Columnist, Elizabeth Lazan
Instagram @lizlazan & www.FaceBook.com/ElizabethLazan