Dance theatre company, Maya Dance Theatre is back again this October with a brand new digital dance-theatre presentation. This time around, they’re focusing on the ever-growing issue of loneliness in the elderly, inviting audience members to experience the life of social isolation led by the elderly in Behind Closed Doors.
With an aging population and a rapidly-paced lifestyle, seniors are increasingly facing loneliness and social isolation. By 2030, it is estimated that one in five Singaporeans will be 65 years or older; and the number of elderlies facing social isolation and loneliness will increase two fold! The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the impact by cutting many in this age group off from social activities, rendering them isolated and vulnerable.
Behind Closed Doors then provides a glimpse into the lives of elderly experiencing loneliness even though some reside with loved ones! Shunned and disconnected in an age of technology coupled with a fast-paced modern lifestyle, the elderly today are unable to bond with their grandchildren and at times even their own children! This loneliness, when unnoticed, often leads to an array of ailments both physical and psychological like: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death. It is vital to shed light on this situation and create awareness.
This work is presented by a diverse team of creative artists comprising of dancers, composers, film makers and interface designers, some of whom are making their debut with Behind Closed Doors. Eva Tey marks her debut as Content Creator’ with Behind Closed Doors. Until recently, Eva has served in various artistic roles. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and lock down propelled her to delve into the issue of social isolation and loneliness, especially among the elderly.
Eva’s key motivation for working on the project was based on her own experience of not being able to go back home to see her aged parents in Malaysia. “Throughout this pandemia, I was not able to go back to Malaysia to visit my parents. I was concern for their physical wellbeing. But more so for their mental state of mind as they were not able to go out or have anyone visit them due to the MCO (Movement Control Order- Malaysia’s version of Circuit Breaker),” she comments. “Throughout this ordeal, I started to realize how lonely my parents could be due to our physical distance apart. It was at this time that a lot of stories surfaced of elderly being lonely and isolated. Even those (elderly) staying with their family members! This discordance inspired me to begin my journey of researching and crafting for Behind Closed Doors.”
Behind Closed Doors is the result of five months of extensive research involving views of experts as well as the experience of the elderly, premiering as an interactive website to enable audiences to have an experiential journey. Similar to how Maya Dance Theatre’s live performances are, the site will be multidisciplinary, including a dance film, photo exhibition, interviews and resources to give a comprehensive view of the situation through the eyes of the elderly. Dancers Eva Tey, Subastian Tan, Shahrin Johry, Bernice Lee, Muhd Sharul Mohd, and Luqman As’ad will be featured, along with music composed by Kailin Yong, and poetry by Cyril Wong.
Says Imran Manaff, producer for Behind Closed Doors: “Behind Closed Doors is presented as a website featuring photos, film, interview etc. The aim of the project is to provide audiencers (users) the experience of how the elderly social isolation and alone. The platform (web) was a suitable choice as it not only allowed many more people to view it but is accessible for all over the world. and for a long time to come.”
Behind Closed Doors premieres 15th October, 8pm online. For more information, visit Maya Dance Theatre’s website