Creative Showcase: Kintsugi

By: Edward Goh Khiam Li

About Kintsugi
The play Everlife was performed from 20-22 January 2017 by USProductions at Yale-NUS’s Black Box. The poem Kintsugi chronicles how a play is born and is dedicated to the playwright, director and cast, and the supporting crew of Everlife and other productions teams everywhere, who have both agonized and delighted in their work. Because it was inspired by Everlife, it incorporates elements of the play’s narrative, primarily Abigail’s suicide and ghostly reappearance and the two haunted protagonists, Richard and Xinyi. The metaphors of the play came in two waves of inspiration: the Japanese craft of Kintsugi, and the dedicated religiosity of those involved in bringing mere words on a script to life.

 

Kintsugi (for Everlife)

Noun

  1. The art of repairing repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold.
  2. As a philosophy, to treat breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

 

Chapter 1: The Death of the Innocents

The crockery smashed three years ago

The jars were broken, and so were the plates

And no longer could they hold wine or bread

The source of life was lost unto the abyss

That was Abigail, lost unto herself

Hanging on at the end of her rope

She had fought the good fight

 

Chapter 2: The Beatification

A heavenly playwright came along

Sorting the pieces of her life out

Wondering if it could be put back together

But to hide it, or beautify it

She was not sure

 

And she sorted the pieces of her life out

Joining them with gold

Embracing the cracks and crags as her own

A masterful work in human glory, the lives of Richard and Xinyi,

And Abigail, known but to God

 

Chapter 3: The Canonization

Then the high priestess and her actors were gathered

And they killed themselves every day

Over the presentation of the blessed broken

They tore themselves up

A blood sacrifice for their darkened deeds

 

They broke their bodies and minds

Immolating themselves on the altar of the drama

Their baptism of fire

That they may be remade with the lacquer of the saints’ essences

That they may transfigure the inanimate and breathe life into it

 

Chapter 4: The Celebration

And so the celestial chorus was summoned

The angels who sang the play into being

The playwright composed the movement, the priestess orchestrated the rites,

And the choirs moved heaven and earth for them

All these in three days

 

And tireless these heavenly movers were

Their toil the soul of the world

Autopsying their performance at the end of every day

They killed it, and rebuilt it

Each day harmonizing a better song

 

Chapter 5: The Resurrection

And so it was, at the end of the third day

The masses witnessed a miracle

Actors became else, worlds changed

And for a brief moment, infinitesimally small,

The dead rose to haunt the living in the confines of that black box

All who were present proclaimed the broken spectacle

And god beheld the play, and he found that it was good, and so it was

 

Amen