SIFA 2017: Inspiration for the Soul (Open Homes Week 3 Review)
It’s the final weekend of Open Homes, and this time around, we stuck around in familiar territory in the East. Today, the homes we visited were inhabited each by an incredibly strong, determined woman: Wendy Wand in her home at Frankel in the afternoon and Anthea Ong’s ‘Bliss Loft’ in Marine Crescent. Both of their performances happened to touch on their stories of divorce, and how they’ve recovered from them in very different ways and come out much stronger on the other side. Check out our reviews below!:
Magic In Our Hands by Wendy Wand (Frankel)
Motivational speaker Wendy Wand lives in a beautiful landed house in Siglap. Stepping into her home, one is immediately taken by how open the space feels, with its high ceilings, skylight, open concept kitchen, pristine white walls and shelves lined with fascinating paraphernalia, from books to little statuettes to photos of her children.
Structuring her performance around journal entries she has penned down, Wendy explained how her life has always been motivated by goal setting (and later on, achieving), and even shows us how the house she now lives in closely resembles the photo of a house she pasted in an old journal when conceptualizing her dream home. But Wendy’s life hasn’t always been the very image of perfection, having divorced her ex-husband not long after her third child was born. It hasn’t been easy being a single mother bringing up three children, but with a resilient spirit and a can-do attitude motivated by her love for her family, she’s since rebuilt her life – marrying a new husband (a single father himself) and moving in to the new house about ten years ago, filling it with new love, memories and stories.
Bringing us up to her study, Wendy read off her and her husband’s wedding vows and told us how she’s managed to fulfil her own wishes over the last couple of years, from going back to school to giving back to society in her own way through her company. It was clear that this was a woman so full of life, of love and possibly, filled with a kind of optimistic magic that constantly drives her forward, and for us, Magic In Our Hands managed to imbue us with a quiet sense of hope just watching Wendy live her life to its fullest and a timely reminder to always be thankful for every little joy we already possess.
Between Sunset and Sunrise by Anthea Ong (Marine Crescent)
Rounding off our entire Open Homes experience was a visit to Anthea Ong’s home on the 18th floor of an HDB building in Marine Crescent. Anthea’s home was the very image of peace and zen, with various religious symbols and figures arranged around the living room, while she sat on a colourful rug meditating. It figures then that she’s nicknamed her home ‘The Bliss Loft”, and even holds group relaxation sessions there weekly.
Naturally, as we began the process, Anthea led the audience in a group relaxation exercise, helping us reconnect with our bodies as we closed our eyes and focused. With nothing but the sound of Anthea’s voice to guide us, we were slowly lulled into a familiar yet long-lost sense of comfort with our bodies, and Anthea moved on to the second part of the performance, where she played a recorded monologue and moved around the living room as the voice recounted (in poetic, ethereal language) her story of coming home one day, broken from the countless meetings with divorce lawyers and with only $16 left in her bank account, simply lay down on the floor, completely at a loss.
Much like our earlier experience at Wendy’s house, Anthea spent most of the aftermath of her divorce penning down her thoughts in a journal as a form of recovery. But instead of finding strength through motherhood, the ex-high flying MD sought solace in spirituality and travel. Anthea goes by the mantra that “You can only lose what you cling to”, and in the years following her fallout, has since found happiness and satisfaction not in amassing material goods, but the wealth of a simple existence and a clean soul full of love.
As the show drew to a close, we were timely enough to catch the last rays of sunlight, as Anthea explained how her home gave a spectacular panoramic view of the estate and surrounding sea, allowing her to see both sunrise and sunset in their full glory each day. One can only hope that our lives can one day be as rich and fulfilling as Anthea’s, as she has truly transformed her existence into an abundant one, having made peace with her losses and learning to live and love unconditionally.
Open Homes is in its final week and the last shows play tomorrow, 20th August at various timings in various ‘living room theatres’ all around Singapore. Each ticket entitles the holder to one 30 minute show. Book tickets via SISTIC and then pick your time slot on the SIFA website Strictly no door sales on the day itself.