eNewsletter Pilot Issue

Danny Yeo, “My ‘sexual awakening’ came from the theatre.” – from cross-selling to cross-dressing!

Some friends of mine have the impression that Drama Box often puts up "women plays". How interesting.

Many years ago, I asked my mentor, "Why is it that female characters usually have more changing dynamics, and offer more interesting stories?" As I asked, I had in mind certain plays, as well as some book titles and also various movie images.

"Between the oppressor and the oppressed—whose story would you prefer to hear?" my mentor asked in response.

My "sexual awakening" came from the theatre.

In 2003, Drama Box presented Caryl Churchill's "Cloud Nine". The ticket price was a tad higher than usual— I can't remember if it was because of the copyright fee. I was worried about ticket sales then, so I took the initiative to call a reporter in an attempt to boost publicity. I said, "I play two roles... I have to cross-dress. It is very stressful."

I tried painstakingly to introduce the reporter to the play, sharing that it's heavily charged with gender and sexual issues. I also mentioned how the playwright was an iconic figure as a socialist and feminist playwright who won numerous theatre awards in England. I added that the play reexamined how people under different systems would identify and misinterpret gender and sexual issues. The play also took a critical look at colonialism, class division and sexual oppression.

That should make it very newsworthy, I thought.

The reporter asked, "Besides cross-dressing, are there any other controversial scenes?" "Oh. There is one scene that we have not been able to deal with yet, it's too difficult—a mass orgy scene, through which we hope to reflect..."

"Gang bang! Ah! This should suffice. Sexual abuse, incest... these would do. Anything more would be too difficult for our readers to understand. You should know lah."

Newsworthiness. Masculinity, Femininity. Humanity.

Danny is a well-established media personality in Singapore. He has accumulated a wealth of experience in various fields including education and theatre. Danny embarked on his stage-acting voyage with Drama Box back in 1994. Since then, he has performed in many theatre productions. A multi-talented person, Danny also wrote the scripts for Drama Box's "ignorLAND of its Name", "angel-ism" and "ignorLAND of its Desire". In 2010, he was nominated Best Director for his directorial debut Bondage in The Straits Times Life! Theatre Award.
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