Just recently, HCAC staged ‘Flipped!’, a showcase of works produced from the ‘One Act Plays’ workshop instructed by Toby Papazoglou. Meet with the people who experienced the workshop first hand!
I joined One Act Plays because I had really missed being in a theatre production (my last was in 2012) so, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to feel that adrenaline rush all over again. I also saw this as a platform to air test the 10 minute play I’ve written years ago.
I appreciate Toby’s patience and calm throughout the workshop despite the many moments of madness. He has some really creative ideas on how to bring the best out of actors and scenes.
In 2016, I had written a 10-minute play in another HCAC workshop, The Art of Short Scripts. I joined One Act Plays because I wanted to stage this play. At the same time, I wanted to try my hand at directing too, because I’ve always admired the way directors seem to know everything. The play I directed and wrote is Lavender 2026 starring Yuko Ishii and Yamin Yusof. The story is set in Singapore, in 2026. The country is facing a population crisis and the government has put in place policies to get its citizens to procreate. Two best friends talk about their future in this society, leading to an unexpected solution to their problems.
The workshop was a lot more hands-on than I expected, which made it quite challenging as I had no idea what I was doing. You could say I learnt the hard way that directors don’t actually have all the solutions. They’re experimenting as they go along, just like everyone else. The one thing that really struck me was the number of people we needed for a 70 minute show, and the amount of hours we had to put in for rehearsals when the actual play itself was just 10 minutes. All that, and it was over in three shows! Honestly, I didn’t even get to see the final performance! But the knowledge that it was ‘out there’ in front of an audience gave me a sense of accomplishment. I had come here to learn directing and get my play staged, and that is exactly what I had done.
Also, the more I worked with the people in the workshop, the closer we became, until we formed a little community united by our shared purpose and experience. I am really glad that I did this workshop with them and hope we will continue to be there for each other in the times to come.
The biggest takeaway from this experience is to never be afraid to experiment. Always have hope that things will work out. As a director, you don’t need to have all the solutions immediately but you have to believe that you will find them along the way. For rehearsals to go well, there needs to be trust between the director and the actors. Also, as much as actors need to listen to their directors, directors also have to listen to the actors. After all, they are the people you put in front of an audience, and if they are uncomfortable or confused, it’s a director’s duty to help them out.