From our Associate Director, Joshua Yang of Vertical Submarine

Life is ironic. And isn’t it true that the things we try to run away from become the very things that we end up running into? But that’s the truth. It’s like death, when it comes towards where you are, you have to greet it with humility, to steal a line from Luba.

The fact is, as many of you already know, I’m not a big fan of theatre. Things are always bigger in theatre, more exaggerated, more “epic” than I’m accustomed to in real life. But I realized that that’s what these four stories are about: conversations and dialogues between two people in a room, but there’s always something bigger, something epic going on outside the room; a battle, a revolution, death, love. Epic themes! And you might ask why take on such big and heavy themes? Why not deal with something simpler? Babies, perhaps? But the fact that you ask the question, proves you can’t understand. No. It’s not about us choosing these themes. It’s quite the other way around.

These themes are bigger than us, any one of us and bigger even than all of us put together. They choose us as the medium for their story to be told. And all we can do is to accept it and not try to run away from the truth. Everyday life is mundane enough as it is that if we didn’t embrace the epic, how can we hope to face the mundane? There will be times, and it has already started with the newspapers and blogs, where there will be people, some of whom could be your nearest and dearest who might tell you that you’re not good enough, and ask you why is it you’re doing whatever you’re doing? Is it just about the money? We all know that’s not it. The fame? The glory? And when you run out of answers, and everything goes silent and there’s nothing to be heard, you should know this: we do this because we must! And because the alternative is even more terrible.

Throughout this process there were those who ran away from it and I shall not name them but there were those, like yourselves who stayed, accepted and embraced the truth and on behalf of vertical submarine I want to thank these people for not running away.

Keng Sen and Tay Tong, for believing in us a second and a third time.

Soo Mei, for getting us our tickets and for everything else that we needed for the set.

Mervyn and Brendan, for selling the show and reaching out to the students and readers at the library.

Cody, this show would have been a very different one, a much less brilliant one without such an amazing, tight-assed production stage manager as you.

Albert, for shedding some light when we were bungling around in the dark.

Shawn, for making us believe that we were drowning in the ocean surrounded by seagulls.

Azmee and Zhiting, from A to Z, for never missing a cue.

Lyra, Yiting and Raden, for all your work behind the scenes and in between.

Ashley, for turning Vanessa into a forty-something Argentine spinster and for all the other hairy matters.

Ray, for giving us Vincent Moon’s scar.

Rayann, for giving us Luba, a whore whom we’d all love to be slapped by and for all those sensual movements in bed.

Stephane, for the French accent and for trying so hard to do without it.

Tim, for giving us Vincent Moon, how can we not despise you?

Vanessa, for haunting the set with the ghost of Marguerite Duras, whose birthday was 4th April and maybe that was why there were so many glitches.

And last, although they’re not here, I want to thank Justin and Fiona, my comrades, my extra pair of eyes, ears, hands and feet. Thank you for the past 10 years.

Thank you all for your hard and good work! And here’s to a great run tonight and for the rest of the shows!


Joshua Yang, Vertical Submarine
Associate Director, TheatreWorks
FourPlays: ABCD (2013)

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