It is only until recently have we heard of ghost writing as being a proper profession. Writing and working long hours only for the final masterpiece to be credited to somebody else’s name sounds almost unfathomable to most. After all, we all fight for the credit due to us when a project is completed at school, work or any creation that required effort. That is only fair, or is it?
The Necessary Stage‘s production Ghost Writer will explore the question of independence and tempting of fate. Going beyond tradition, recognition and a sense of change, this meditative interdisciplinary performance seeks to challenge our perception on what it means to live on one’s own terms.
With so many questions spinning in our heads, we sit down with three cast members Ebi Shankara, Sukania Venugopal and Ruby Jayaseelan to talk ghost writing, the idea of recognition and their craft.
Popspoken: What are your thoughts on ghost writers and it being a profession?
Suki: I think that being a ghost writer is fine as long one feels comfortable doing it. Write with sincerity and it will not feel like a chore. If you connect emotionally to your writing then you will feel a sense of accomplishment. As a profession I do not think I would succeed much, as I am not disciplined enough to do it.
Ruby: I find it very intriguing and believe there is definitely a psychological reason behind it. I cannot imagine doing it myself, especially for a living. I think I would go a little crazy.
Ebi: I have not really given any thought about it prior to this production. Ghost writing is a very interesting concept, at a time when everyone advocates intellectual property rights. It would be interesting to explore the life of someone who allows another to claim credit for your work. It is an interesting profession.
PS: Which would you choose: being the one working without recognition or the one receiving recognition for work that’s not yours?
S: The former.
R: Definitely the first. I would feel bad about it, but not as bad as taking someone else’s credit.
E: It really depends. The degree of recognition varies from project to project. It is very subjective. However, I would want recognition for whatever my contribution is.
PS: Have you ever been unfairly discredited from a work you have done?
S: Not that I can recall.
R: Not in a scale that ghost writers are but to an extent, yes. I found it quite annoying, especially because I did not call anyone out on it. Bottling up my feelings about it up did not feel too good.
E: I honestly cannot remember. I think there was once when I was but I cannot remember what it was for (laughs).
PS: What is your opinion on young people working for “exposure”? Have you ever been there yourselves?
S: It is sad if they do things which goes against their grain (their values and principles), because they might feel an initial buzz which will probably be temporary in nature. In the long run however, they might start feeling a certain emptiness, a creeping void, which could become detrimental for their personal and professional growth. It could also affect all of their other activities. They might lose sight of their actual self-worth. This “exposure” might come back to bite them later in life and it will be too late to regret then.
I have not been there myself as I have been fortunate in receiving good guidance from my parents, teachers and spiritual mentors.
R: I believe that to each his own. Whatever makes one happy, one should be able to do it without apology, as long as it is not at someone else’s costs. One should always give the benefit of doubt as to why someone does it. Yes, I have and I do not regret doing so because I feel that the experiences I got in return were worth it. I try my best not to though, because it is definitely unfair to everyone. We can work around it and figure a way out to treat everyone fairly and still pursue what we want.
E: Yes I have. I think it is the rite of passage sometimes but you have to know when to stop and how much you will do. There has to come a point where you know that your work has to be valued.
PS: What was the best advice given to you that has helped you come so far in your careers?
S: Be true to yourself. Be kind to others irrespective of race, colour, gender, belief, sexual orientation etc. Above all, respect everyone because Divinity, which resides in you, also resides in them.
R: If you feel it, it is real. Don’t doubt it.
E: Know your worth. Understand your craft. Be honest and reasonable. Most importantly be true to your heart.
Where: Esplanade Theatre Studio
When: June 9 – 11, 8pm, June 11 – 12, 3pm
Tickets: $35 from SISTIC. ($28 – Concessions for students, senior citizens and NSFs)
Photo credits: The Necessary Stage