I guess our greatest human struggles and joys are centred in the experiences of loss. They are in losing, looking and longing. They are in releasing, remembering, regretting and reaching out.
Our immediate associations with the word ‘loss’ might be negative ones. Our tendency might be to think of failure, defeat, brokenness and grief. And what about that word ‘loser’ that often gets thrown around? It’s awful, isn’t it? The way it writes someone off as being a total failure due to their lack of this, that or the other. And while we all lose stuff, isn’t it true that the last thing we would want to be is a ‘loser’?
But don’t we all lose teeth, investments, cares, hair, friends, and weight? Don’t we all sometimes lose sight, courage, or fear? We all lose our way, and our mind, from time to time. We all lose coins and keys. We all lose friends, pets, jewellery and opportunities.
Sometimes the loss is temporal, sometimes irrevocable.
Sometimes what we thought was lost, was in fact still with us all along.
Sometimes what we thought was stolen from us, was something we in fact willingly gave away. It can be an uncomfortable process to admit that we had some power, choice and agency in our loss. It can be painful when we realise that we in fact threw something precious away. But it can also be an empowering and illuminating discovery.
When we lose something we are always first encouraged to retrace our steps, in order to help find what is missing. When things go astray, we are challenged to reconsider, reflect and to re-create and reinvent.
There are a lot of truthful clichés about loss:
‘We don’t know what we have until we lose it.’
‘It is often in losing ourselves, that we find ourselves.’
‘We win some, we lose some.’
‘One person’s loss is another person’s gain.’
‘When one door closes, another one opens.’
‘The glass isn’t half empty, it’s half full.’
All the world faiths have something important to say about loss and gain, attachment and detachment, fullness and emptiness, failure and success. And what they have to say varies very little, as I understand it. I think most faiths, in one way or another, lead us to see loss as a positive and powerful thing. An invitation to grow.
In Fringe ’15 I proudly present to you a range of creative works that will invite you into a collective celebration and commemoration of all things lost and gained. While Nguan’s How Loneliness Goes and Nicolas Cantin’s Grand Singe (Great Ape) look at the impossibility of connection, works such as ponggurl’s The Malay Man and His Chinese Father and Pat Toh’s Terra Incognita explore the possibility of deep connection in a time of loss. And while Nassim Soleimanpour explores theatre with the loss of the director in White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Loo Zihan’s With/Out explores theatre with the loss of the performer. Jason Wee invites us to reimagine and rewrite our histories in Mambo Night for a King, and Por Piedad Teatro’s The Duchamp Syndrome invites us to recreate the present.
I hope these brave and beautiful works can stimulate you in a range of ways that you may find enriching as both personal and communal experiences. The installations by Tan Ngiap Heng, Shelly Quick and Asha Bee Abraham are among a few works in the Fringe that invite you to participate directly in their creation. And many of the works will free you to laugh very loudly in the face of loss.
We have all lost stuff. So let’s come together to laugh, blush, cry and cringe about it. Let’s retrace, regret and recreate.
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival