It Won’t Be Too Long

for Singapore International Festival of Arts 2015

In a country as small as Singapore, space – both physically and psychologically – comes at a premium. Drama Box explores the dynamics of space in Singapore in It Won't Be Too Long, which blends performance and participation in two arts projects, The Lesson and The Cemetery. The two socially engaged art projects also reflect the different approaches to performance-making that have characterised Drama Box’s philosophy for 25 years.

It Won’t Be Too Long asks important questions about living, dying, thriving and surviving in a country where space is limited and precious. How do we create or reclaim a sense of space that allows us to debate and dream, learn and live, recall and retrieve what we have lost? What forces are at work in shaping our space, and when is it worth contesting the dominant uses of space? Is there space for a shared heterotopia, or are we confined by a utopia defined by the elite?

More information & ticketing

It Won't Be Too Long: The Lesson

Photos taken by Kevin Lee

9 & 11 September (in Mandarin)
10 & 12 September (in English)


1hr 30, no intermission

GoLi – The Moving Theatre: outside Toa Payoh Library

Performed in Mandarin or in English.

The Lesson centres around a new MRT station that's in the works for a housing estate. But there is little space left and something else in the area must be demolished. What will stay, and what will go? Members of the public enter this scenario and participate in the roles of policy-makers, power-brokers and property agents. With the help of seasoned facilitators, theatre practitioners Li Xie and Jean Ng, as well as a panel of experts, participants and observers alike will learn about the costs, risks, stakes and sacrifices that come with creating a community.

Directed by
Li Xie

It Won't Be Too Long: The Cemetery

Photos taken by Tan Ngiap Heng and Kevin Lee
© The Pond Photography

18 & 19 Sept 15

Time & Venue
Dawn: 5.30am at Bukit Brown Cemetery
Dusk: 8pm at SOTA Studio Theatre

1hr 30 for each part, no intermission

Performed in multiple languages with English and Mandarin surtitles.

Unfolding in two parts (Dawn & Dusk), The Cemetery examines the notion and reality of a burial ground – looking in particular at how Bukit Brown represents loss and being lost. Do we need a new road for economic growth or do we need to hold onto some roots in our land?

Slip into the rhythms of Bukit Brown in the wee hours of the morning as the shadows of performers evaporate, giving way to daily routines when the sun rises. From the ghostly to the earthly, this performance of everyday life situates us firmly in the Bukit Brown Cemetery, which may disappear as contestations continue. Experience the very nature of Bukit Brown in the early morning, a site that has dominated the news in the last year but which you have perhaps never visited.

In the evening, Dusk shifts into the genre of verbatim theatre, as directed by Kok Heng Leun and shaped by playwright Jean Tay from the words and experiences of ordinary family members, various stakeholders such as the Heritage Society, civil society representatives, institutions and agencies. Discover the heartbreak and hope of everyone involved in negotiating the fate of Bukit Brown.

Dusk ends with an elegy to this process led by the indie pop band The Observatory.

Directed by
Kok Heng Leun

About Li Xie

Li Xie performs, writes, directs and teaches. She has undergone training in Vsevolod Meyerhold's Biomechanics by Gennadi Bogdanov (Russia) and has also started SOBX (school of Biomechanics). Li Xie is one of the few acclaimed playwright-cum-directors in the local Chinese theatre scene. Her directorial works include The vaginaLOGUE, The Magnanimous Cuckold, Little White Sailing Boat, House of Sins, etc. In 2004, she created the first mockumentary news theatre News Busters!. She was awarded the Young Artist Award by National Arts Council (Singapore) in 2005.


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