Challenging Convention At Bound Theatre

Two people collide again after years apart, and fall head over heels onto the possibility of their ideal love. They have one evening together to float through the drain of old memories and soak in new experiences. After this time frame expires, they must make a difficult choice.

We are told to pursue happiness. We are told to do what is morally right. But what happens when we are no longer able to reconcile what society wants us to do and what we want to do?

This August, local theatre collective Bound Theatre returns with “The Taste Of Water“, the group’s sixth production since their founding in 2011.

We spoke with twins and Bound Theatre core members Wee Xuan Yi and Wee Jia Yi about the history of Bound Theatre and the creative and administrative work that goes behind staging a production.

Wee Jia Yi (left) and Wee Xuan Yi (right) of Bound Theatre

On how Bound Theatre began

XY: Bound Theatre started in 2011 and we staged our first show in 2012. We were part of Commonwealth Secondary School’s Drama Club. When we graduated, we didn’t wanna say goodbye.

JY: So we had these 9 co-founders from different schools and of different ages, keen on creating honest, relevant theatre.

JY: And now, along with Seet Yan Shan and Teng Zi Ying, the four of us are the ones making the executive decisions.

XY: And we’ve defined our roles quite clearly, at least for this production. Zi Ying’s the scriptwriter, and she’s co-producing this show with my brother. Yan Shan’s handling the marketing side, and I’m directing.

JY: We call the crew “project-based members”. Of course, a few of them are longtime members.

XY: I guess Bound Theatre is a special platform where they, as youths, can get theatre experience.

On funding an independent theatre collective

XY: Ticket sales are our main source. We never ever make enough for us to roll the money over to the next show. There have been losses, sometimes we break even, and if we’re lucky, we get a slim profit margin —

JY: Every year we learn a bit more about business.

XY: This show is pivotal; we’re trying to work towards making it sustainable. We’re applying to the National Arts Council, National Youth Council fund, etc.

JY: The process is straightforward, but whether we get it is another thing.

“We would love for people leave the theatre arguing about viewpoints, bringing their own viewpoints and experiences.”

On “The Taste Of Water”

JY: With “The Taste Of Water”, we hope to engage people who are keen on having experiences not confined by conventional narratives and media. The play’s themes that are very relevant because future generations will only challenge traditional institutions, like marriage.

XY: We have cast members who realise midway through rehearsal that their character’s story is their story. I personally have experienced the concept of social contracts in relationships — wondering who’s wrong and who’s right. We would love for people leave the theatre arguing about viewpoints, bringing their own viewpoints and experiences.

JY: It’s also interesting because sometimes when you watch a character, you can make a rational decision easily. But that decision-making process becomes a lot more difficult when something similar happens to you in real life. That dissonance in the human condition is interesting.

On Working With Different Teams Each Year

JY: With Bound Theatre, each year’s group is very different. Each production comes on an almost fresh slate. We’re still learning; we pluck what we like from other shows and we try to apply it. The project members come with varying levels of experience. Some have not acted in years, some have just graduated from LASALLE, and we all learn from one another.

XY: My brother and I always say, wah, doing theatre in Singapore is very difficult, especially being autonomous, independent and young. But I think with each attempt we get a bit more confident in our art, our administration, and our marketing.

Get your tickets to “The Taste Of Water” here:

Venue: Goodman Arts Centre

Thu, 2nd August
Afternoon, 3.30pm
$18 (Student/NSF)/ $22

Fri, 3rd August
Evening, 8pm
$20 (Student/NSF)/ $24 ​

Sat, 4th August
Afternoon, 3.30pm
$18 (Student/NSF)/ $22
Evening, 8pm
$20 (Student/NSF)/ $24 ​

Sun, 5th August
Afternoon, 3.30pm
$18 (Student/NSF)/ $22


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