August 2019, SOTA Studio Theatre, School of the Arts, Singapore
Director: Claire Wong
Set Designer: Aaron Yap
Lighting Designer: Liu Yong Huay
Produced by Checkpoint Theatre
The plot of Eat Duck carries from the final moments of a grandmother on her deathbed all the way through to the 7th day of her passing (and end of her wake). Most part of the play happened during the wake at a void deck, with the opening and closing scenes happening within her house. As SOTA’s Studio Theatre is a regular black box theatre with limited backstage space, clever use of set to create both the scenes of the grandmother’s house and the wake is important, taking into account also that this play should be set relatively naturalistic.
The resultant set featured a series of gauze panels, which can be arranged to form the walls of the grandmother’s living room in the opening scene, and rearranged in other configurations (with other dressings) to represent the Taoist funeral tentage, paper house and burning bins. The gauze material that wraps over the panels allowed possibility of looking through them when being lit from the back, to create interesting perspectives, such as peeking into the grandmother’s bedroom even though it was behind a “wall”, or the build-up of paper offerings in the burning bin.
Minimal furniture pieces were used in this play, and they were equally transformable, with the adding on or removal of items from them, to create a different look to create a sense of a different space.
As a complimentary touch to the mourning mood of the play, 6 black mesh panels with condolence inscriptions, abstracted from typical condolence blankets in Taoist funerals, were dropped down from the mezzanine of the theatre.