According to the local newspaper, I am considered an “elite” because the schools that I had gone to were “elite” schools and I had, more or less, excelled in music, sports or the arts.
As much of an “elite” as I was, there were times when I wished that I been truly great at theatre and Literature because good as I was, I knew I was not Angus Ross prize material.
And as I left school, I also left most of my association with those that I had once loved fervently behind. I chucked my Beckett and Golding into the back of the cupboard and hooked up with fashion magazines instead, shallow being that I am.
Last weekend, when I caught the Phantom of the Opera at the Esplanade Concert Hall, that niggling thought came back as I sat back to admire the opulent and elegant set. I marvelled at the ingenious way they staged the underground tunnel scene, the lush swishing of skirts during “Masquerade” and the rich music of the orchestra. I admired the immensely versatile voice of Christine, at how she sounded so warm at her low notes and hit the high ones with beautiful clarity.
Why, oh why couldn’t I have been born with such a soaring, spine-tingling voice or a designer’s vision?
Tonight, while watching the Singapore Repertory Theatre‘s outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I was brought back to the same thoughts.
I was impressed by how the company had managed to replicate the theatre in Fort Canning Hill, complete with scaffolding holding spotlights house lights. Their use of long platforms running down the slopes was clever as it managed to bring the actors closer to the audience. Casting was spot on, with the actors portraying Helena, Demetrius and Bottom making the most impression on me. I had no problems following the olden prose of Shakespeare and I was suddenly stricken by a wave of longing and nostalgia.
It made me wish I had been better at Theatre Studies and Drama back in my VJC days because it was apparent that the SRT team loved what they did. I have always believed that finding something you believe passionately and excel in is as hard to find as a needle in the haystack.
Writing is the only thing that I can count on now but even then, I sometimes wonder at the reason why I am pursuing it with such vengeance. Is it sheer idealism or mere stupidity, when my peers are moving up the corporate ranks faster than I am and earning twice as much as I do? Do I want to remain a poor writer for the rest of my life? Am I good enough to truly excel at it?
If only, if only, if only.
So, how now spirit, wither wander I?