I’m writing this from my apartment in Singapore, looking out over the river. It’s amazing and strange to have done the summer show, flown home for seven weeks (it felt like a weekend) and now to be back!
The Nightingale played successfully in English for six weeks, and then in Mandarin for a further three weeks and I was thrilled to have been able to see the Chinese version 夜鶯 in its final week, as I returned to Singapore to begin rehearsal for Junior Claus. The cast were exceptional and the show seemed to work even better in Mandarin – the speech rhythms and musicality of the text were especially fascinating. It was also a huge treat for me to be able to see a bedded in show as all too often I open the show and get on a plane to go home the next day!
This show has gone on such a journey from my initial meeting with writer Mike Kenny in an East London pub, email drafting and dramaturging, a reading in my living room in London, three weeks of rehearsal and six of performance in Singapore, another two weeks of rehearsal in Chinese taken by fantastic associate director Danny Yeo and a whole new audience of little people and their parents coming to be inspired and imaginative. I felt quite emotional to be watching something I knew so well yet in a language that I don’t have even the most basic grasp of – and to still feel so engaged and connected to it. I was with my regular collaborator Ashley who is choreographing Junior Claus, who knew nothing of the Nightingale story, text or lyrics, and who was similarly touched by it. The cast were so honest in their delivery and simple storytelling that we were both able to see and feel everything that was happening. It was the first time that my work has been presented in another language and it was a very special morning to be part of. Later in the day we had cake to celebrate the success of both Nightingales and to hand over the baton to the team who are doing the Christmas show – oh wait – that’s us too! This theatre and team are rapidly becoming my second family.
Thank you Mike, Ruth, Gaurav, Trev, Bec, Danny, Nat, Cherilyn, Bryan, Madeleine, Tim, Ann, Rachel, Shou Chen, Yvonne, Ben, Joanna, Edric, Sunitha, Klaire, Tennie, Geraldine, Marco, James, Yvonne, Joyce, Petrina, Juliet, Sarah, Kim, Tara, David, Shan Shan, Aaron, Derrick, Elim, Mamak, Charlotte, Parveen, Ina, Cat, Sumon, Frank, Claire, Debbie, Fetin, Vanessa, Matt, Daniel, Emilie, Charlie, the workerbees and everyone who has supported Nightingales of all varieties x x x