Drama Box returns to kick off their 2019 season with a brand new show from resident artist Han Xuemei, creator of last year’s MISSING: The City of Lost Things. Titled FLOWERS, the experiential installation is set to take place in a terrace house in Chip Bee Gardens, dealing with issues of patriarchal violence and its effects on others, regardless of gender, and invites audience members to (re)consider their lived experiences in relation to this violence.
FLOWERS was conceptualised and led by Han, and was developed in collaboration with acclaimed local playwright Jean Tay, award-winning sound artist Darren Ng and renowned lighting designer Lim Woan Wen. Han and Tay were also collaborators on last year’s MISSING, which Han felt benefitted a lot from their sensitivity and perspectives on text and sound. For FLOWERS then, she naturally brought this team together in order to receive the energy and atmosphere required of the work.
Since MISSING, where over the course of four hours, the audience underwent a personal journey – figuratively and literally – to seek out a lost connection in their lives, Han has continued to explore ways in which an audience becomes the protagonist of the narrative. For FLOWERS, she gravitated towards the form of experiential installation that invites the audience to enter the fictional world of the narrative and within the setting of a house, piece together the history of the family she imagines had lived there once upon a time. To allow for deeper engagement with the content, she is limiting the capacity to just ten people per session.
In her research, Han encountered an article by Rukmini Sen from New Delhi. Responding to the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, the academic questioned the overwhelming reaction to the case and spoke about “the need for an everyday culture of protest”. Instead of reacting only to high-profile cases of violence, would we “continue to protest when we witness the undemocratic nature of the everyday lives of” men and women? Han then hopes that FLOWERS is “a start to placing attention on the everyday experiences of men and women, that it provides a reflective space to consider how living within a patriarchal system has cost us and how it has altered our relationship with ourselves and the people around us. Says Xuemei: “FLOWERS is a project about our relationship with patriarchy. What is patriarchy? How has it sought to control and violate us? How has it cost us, men and women alike?”
Patriarchal violence is certainly not limited to affecting women alone, but men as well. Come on a journey into the dark world of FLOWERS and uncover the secret story that haunts this terrace house with Drama Box this May.
FLOWERS runs from 1st to 5th May 2019 at 74 Jalan Kelabu Asap. Tickets available here