Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has authored 15 books and edited more than 20 titles. He is the recipient of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, Poetry World Cup, and Singapore Literature Prize.
From FOODPORN cum Maundy Thursday (2016) by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Ibsen’s Wild Duck On Apron Stage
“This three-room HDB will not be big enough,” Sze Leong says. “Where will the attic be? Where will the elderly Ekdal emerge from, to show he wasn’t the one upstairs, there to shoot the duck?” Min lifts her camera, and scouts the small place through her viewfinder. She has the intensity of Hjalmar, as if photography or film was her field of work. “This home cannot accommodate the stage,” Sze Leong insists. The point is to have an audience of no more than four persons. They’d be seated on a raised dais outside the living room window. Along the corridor. This limited gaze would reflect the closed setting, the claustrophobia — the wild duck would have been a witness of this kind, if it had been peeping through a hole in the ceiling. It’d see Gina pull Håkon towards her chest, spooning him the salted mustard greens, then daring a kiss on the lips. It’d see Gregers brooding in the spare room, thinking about the lies inhabiting these walls. And it’d see Hedvig’s young naiveté, and how she looks to it for a proper denouement. A wild thing turned symbol. Of despair. Of a rescue, the salvific and the redemptive. Then of a circular motion, of death by association, and a misguided sacrifice. Min will rid the play entirely of Relling, a character she feels says too much. Too much reading into things — their psychology. Even if Ibsen liked to do the same, like a shorebird nearing saltwater, awaiting slaughter.