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I came at last to the seas

What does it mean to be “Chinese”?
Six individuals in various stages of migration cross paths, reflecting the multiple identities of the Chinese diaspora.
Six stories reflect one journey, woven together as a meditation on displacement.
Six roots of sensation in Buddhist philosophy, searching for a moment of equilibrium.

The phenomenon of uprooting and searching is as old as the human race. I came at last to the seas is a questioning of one’s cultural identity, told through multi-layered artistic expressions where each element has its own distinct journey. Director Kuo Jian Hong paints a spell-binding landscape of cinematic storytelling, as she is joined by a team of the region’s most inspiring composers and designers.

Featuring an international team of creatives from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, it is the first ever original work by a Singaporean theatre company to be commissioned for Esplanade Theatre as part of the Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts 2018.   

Date: 23 – 24 February 2018

Venue: Esplanade Theatre

Festival: An Esplanade Commission – Huayi –Chinese Festival of the Arts 2018

Director: Kuo Jian Hong (Singapore)

Stories and Initial Text: Wu Xi (China)

Script Structure: Kuo Jian Hong (Singapore)

Additional Text: Huang Hung-Chun (Taiwan) and performers 

Movement Director: Ming Poon (Singapore/Netherlands)

Set & Costume Designer: Szu-Feng Chen (Taiwan/USA)

Projection Designers: Genevieve Peck, Ric Liu (Singapore)

Music Composer: Julian Wong (Singapore)

Sound Designer: Sandra Tay (Singapore)

Lighting Designer: Lea Xiao (China)

Assistant Lighting Designer & Programmer: Bei Wen

Hair Designer: Ashley Lim (Singapore)

Make Up Designer: The Make Up Room (Singapore)

Graphic Designer: Ric Liu (Singapore)

Research Dramaturgs: Ang Xiao Ting (Singapore), Huang Hung-Chun (Taiwan)

Cast: Joanna Dong (Singapore), Fung Wai Hung (Hong Kong Repertory Theatre), Huang Yu-Ting (with the support of U-Theatre, Taiwan), Sugie Phua (Singapore), Rosa Maria Velasco (Hong Kong), Ethan Wei (Taiwan), Wang Wei (Hong Kong Repertory Theatre), Zhao Yu Tao (with the support of Jiangsu Performing Arts Group, Kun Opera Theatre)

I am not an intellectual. I am not trying to tell you something. 

I just want to tell a story and I want to tell it well, with a bit of humour. 

I believe that as much as stories can be fragmented and broken up into pieces, the experience for an audience is always linear. So, I construct my work with the audience’s experience at the forefront of my considerations. 

As a filmmaker, my work is also about the mise en scene – the bringing together of various stage practices with as little hierarchy as possible amongst them. 

This work is about multi-layered artistic expressions. Text is only one aspect of the story-telling. If you pay enough attention, there is a journey in every element of the storytelling we present before you: characters, text, space, music, sound, multimedia, lighting and movement. 

It is a total collaboration.

– Kuo Jian Hong

 “The message – coming at a time of reunions among family and friends – is rich in timeliness, making I came at last to the seas a thought-provoking watch.”