TO THEE DO WE CRY,
POOR BANISHED CHILDREN
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Human experiences are indescribable. In the first play, a middle-aged woman who has lost all her children, overcomes grief through music. In the second play, Cedric, who has Mosaic Down syndrome expresses the excruciating anguish of his humiliation through dance. In the final play, a man with a devoted wife displaces his pathological obsession for another woman through writing and painting.
However, even art forms fail to describe such experiences. After all, the human experience is indescribable and perhaps, inexpressible.
Geraldine Song’s three plays form a mosaic as they assemble poignant scenes between different ‘special’ people confronting an uncaring society. In a shuttling between genres and stage techniques, a juxtaposition of musical and performative elements dramatically visualises the lead characters’ attempts to re-assemble their memories, relationships, and foiled hopes, and to communicate these attempts through their art. The image of the mosaic – the title of the middle, or centre piece – most strikingly conveys both the aesthetic and thematic significance of this piecing together of fragmented elements. To try and express what often ultimately remains inexpressible and also fragmented, if always both open and vulnerable to an additional reassembling, is shown to shape artistic expression itself.
---TAMARA SILVIA WAGNER, Associate Professor, Division of English, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Geraldine Song’s work strikes a chord because of the way in which she draws our attention to pressing social and human issues. Her three plays suggest the complicated fragility of human relations and people’s complex emotional responses to each other and the world. Emphasizing the dynamic interplay between language and stagecraft, and slipping productively between genres, her plays open our eyes to life and all its possibilities.
---ANGELIA POON, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, National Institute of Education, NTU, Singapore.