The stage was set, and so was the rest. As guests slowly streamed into the cozy comfort of the Living Room, the event began — Glossolalia.
Glossolalia is a Latin word that means ‘speaking in tongues’, and it is an annual event by Writers’ Circle that showcases the works of their members through enactments and live reading. This year’s event was held on the 19th of May at the Living Room, with a theme of “Façade” explored through many different angles, while the special guest was Ms Christine Chia, an accomplished poet who formerly taught at VJC!
The first piece to take the stage was not actually a live reading, but rather a video — in fact, that was the title of the work itself (Video by Chloe Chua and Lau Yi Yi). The narrated speech described the process of putting up a façade in four short vignettes. While simple in composition, the piece was thought-provoking, a good lead-in to the rest of the performances.
“On the outside it seems like an impenetrable façade, but when you look through the cracks there is nothing.”
Following next was an interesting turn of events as the emcee, Ajay, took the stage alongside his friend to perform a dialogue piece (The Introspective Daffodil by Vincere Lee and Ajay Nair). Taking on the roles of a psychologist and his patient respectively, Vincere and Ajay debated at length about the “fakeness” of society. The tables turned halfway through, when Narcis the patient took to questioning Dr Narko about his own humanity and life, and a very deep and hard-hitting discussion of the world as we know it ensued. Suffice it to say that it was enough to get us questioning our values, our beliefs and maybe even our existence.
“People want to be real; they want to find their true selves. And yet they want to see only the best, wholly good parts of others, no matter how fake it is.”
The third performance was a reading of a work of poetry (The Prayer Poem by Evaleen Tan). This was also written in second-person, but it was a letter to a friend. The letter is, perhaps, a form of catharsis; a way of ‘getting over’ events, but also a way of moving on; a piece of fiction that spares us from the unnecessary details to invest fully in the emotions of the people involved, to great effect.
“The difference between you and a car in a crash is that the car is never quite the same afterwards.”
Immediately after, it was time for a band performance — Writers’ Circle had invited HD Quality, who had previously performed at MusicFest, to perform. Needless to say, they impressed the audience with their powerful strumming, while also giving a sneak peek at the Guitar concert!
Immediately after, the performances continued. The next piece (Façade by Venny Lewis) started out quite mellow, but took a dark turn when it became apparent that the deuteragonist was sexually abused by her father. Emotions poured forth as Venny narrated the piece excellently; the piece was so dramatic that it even had some audience members, such as Ben Tan (16S34), convinced that it was based on real events.
“One’s candidness is so beautiful, why do we need to cover it up?”
The final performance before the intermission was in the first person (The Melancholy of a Lonely Boy by Benjamin Lo). Described as a story about a boy who “lives a lie”, Benjamin explored and exposed his view of the world, backed by a haunting score that rose and fell with the tension in the recount. With this impactful performance, the event broke off for refreshments (free pizza!)
When the intermission ended, we found ourselves joined by a special guest. As mentioned earlier, Ms Christine Chia was the special guest, and we were treated to an enthralling reading of locally flavoured poems from this acclaimed artist, certainly something inspirational for the Writers’ Circle members. Following that, the performances resumed.
Taking the stage, the next student read her story (The Almost Universe by Esther Ong). Although it was fairly short, it neatly encapsulated one of the most striking themes of science fiction — the conflict of science and ethics, while harking back to the main theme of ‘Façade’ with a scientist who is misunderstood by the world around him.
“They simply did not understand! Is it not this very desire of mankind to discover more about itself that makes us human?”
The performance that followed (The Mask Bearer by Amanda Miwa Suzuki) was spectacular, not least because the performer was clad in a blue dress and wore a mask on her face. Amanda delivered an impassioned speech about putting on a front, before attempting to remove the mask only to discover that she could not. This realisation led to the conclusion that sometimes, our façades are who we are.
“All my life, I have been living behind them, conforming to the form of the masks. I did not shape them, they shaped me.”
Another band then took the stage — this time, the BANDanas. Also armed with MusicFest experience, they roused the crowd with two favourite pop songs, All Time Low’s Edge of Tonight and Jessie J’s Flashlight. This amazing performance helped to raise the mood for the final fiction performance of the night (Alcatraz by Jayne Lim).
This was the only fiction performed live by multiple people. Jayne addressed the crowd at first, narrating and introducing the characters — five ghost hunters exploring the prison island of Alcatraz (it’s a real location). The performance was easily the most interactive of them all, with the Living Room lights even switching off perfectly on cue and jump-scares on the PowerPoint slide show really giving us the chills! The actors playing the “ghosts” also delivered their lines from backstage… except there was no backstage. They hid behind the Living Room artifacts instead!
While the Glossolalia performances ended there, there was a surprise for the members of The Victorian Press present. The awards and certificates for Press Awards 2016 were given out in a simple ceremony, and the details are as follows:
|Best Feature||Give Me A Sign||Ng Xue Ying (16A13), Yeong Su Ann (15A12)|
|Best Writing Style||Zenith 2016 — Chrysonance and Deux||Adam Ahmad Samdin (15A14) and Megan Chor (16S31)|
|Best Writing Style||What Will YOU Be Remembered By?||Kwek Zhan Hao (15S49), Mark Cheng (15S48)|
|Best Opinion Article||CT1 — Ground Sentiments||Benjamin Chew (15S44), Fiona Lee Yi-Fan (15A11)|
|Best Event Coverage||Track and Field Championships||Ryan Ch’ng (16S47), Ren Jiaqi (16A12)|
|Victorians’ Choice Award||JXP: A Buddy’s Perspective||Ryan Ch’ng (16S47)|
|Overall Best Article||Drama Night 2016 — The Good Doctor||Wong Jean (15A12), Elizabeth Wan (15A12)|
It was certainly a fitting surprise to end the night, and congratulations to all journalists who had won awards! Glossolalia was a resounding success, and the audience certainly left with very deep impressions, a greater understanding of façades and who we are — and perhaps a stomach full of pizza.
Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47