A singer journeys to the ends of the earth

A singer journeys to the ends of the earth

Singer-songwriter Inch Chua found herself at a loss when she returned from her expedition to Antarctica last year.

She had made the trip with the 2041 Foundation, started by veteran explorer Robert Swan, to raise awareness of climate change. The expedition had such a profound impact on her that she found music and lyrics, her usual modes of expression, unable to fully capture her time in the South Pole.

So, she has ventured into newer territories to talk about her awe-inspiring adventures in the vast continent – a multi-sensory theatre production, commissioned by TheatreWorks. ’Til The End Of The World, We’ll Meet In No Man’s Land marries music with theatre and the use of technology.

If the title of her performance sounds sombre, she reassures: “I’m not trying to be didactic and scold people for using plastic bags or straws.

“I hope I can get people to reflect on their connection to the environment. We are so insignificant [in comparison to nature], but we have such a huge impact [on the environment].”

The new production is not the first time she has drawn on her interest in nature and the environment to fuel her creative work. For example, her 2015 album, Letters to Ubin, was inspired by the time she spent four months living alone on Pulau Ubin.

Neither is her upcoming performance at TheatreWorks in Mohamed Sultan Road her initiation into the world of theatre-making. She wet her toes in the local theatre scene in 2017, and last month, she played a special education teacher in the theatre production, Not In My Lifetime?, by The Finger Players.

Music, however, remains fundamental to her upcoming performance. She says it is “anti-musical” because there are no show tunes with dancing penguins à la Happy Feet. Instead, audiences can look forward to an immersive and transporting experience because of the sound technology used in the show.

For one, the audience will get to hear sounds of Antarctica, which she recorded on the expedition with a binaural microphone that faithfully reproduces the conditions of human hearing. The audience will also be wearing headphones throughout the show for a more absorbing experience.

She says: “I want to create an experience that is beyond YouTube. It’s a show that you have to come down and experience in person.”

Details on ’Til The End Of The World, We’ll Meet In No Man’s Land here.

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