We engaged in a conversation with one of our actors, Al-Matin Yatim on his experience in bringing his character to life, as well as working with the creative team. Been practising theatre since 2007, Al-Matin further his passion for theatre in Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI). Since then, his understanding of working with different people from different cultural background has deepen. Al-Matin was exposed to different form and styles of both traditional and contemporary, and is looking forward to this new role he take on, as the father of a special-need son.
“Nobody would totally understand what is happening inside a person’s head, what more a mind that functions more specially than others.”
– Actor, Al-Matin Yatim, Between Consciousness
1 What was your initial reaction upon first reading the script?
I was confused and lost many times in the first few readings of the script. As I dig deeper, it made total sense why I was in that state in the beginning, because mental disorder is very complicated subject and may seem intangible at times. Nobody would totally understand what is happening inside a person’s head, what more a mind that functions more specially than others.
2 In what ways are you and your character similar or different?
I have always had my reserve whenever I encounter people with mental disorder or down syndrome because I do not know how and what to react. I might react in a manner which society perceives negatively. My wife teaches students with special needs and she told me that in one of her class, while she was teaching, an autistic kid came and spit on her face. Instinctively, anyone in her position would flare up, but as a teacher she needs to keep reminding herself of the condition of the students. She always says god is teaching her patience and tolerance by sending them to her.
So similarly, my character is constantly struggling to find ways to deal with his special-need son. There are many things he does that seem socially unacceptable and cruel but his challenge is great and unguided.
3 Where did you draw inspiration from to bring your character to life?
Images, videos, movies, stories and real-life observations and references would be my source of research. The rest are natural actor instinct when one acts and reacts with one another.
4 Are there challenges that you face while trying to portray the character?
We are in the initial stage of rehearsal process hence I have not encountered any major challenges yet. Probably for now is finding the root of multiple characters we are taking.
5 What is it like working with Pei Qin and Isaac?
Pei Qin and Isaac have been very generous on and off stage and their energies keep bouncing. It makes the rehearsal session feel less tiring and individualistic, but of course, it’s because it’s a small cast. I am appreciating the flexibility the both of them bring onto the rehearsal space and the generosity of opening doors to explore.
Continue to keep a look out for more conversations with the creative team. In the meantime, do remember to check out previous conversations conducted, if you haven’t!
Conversation with Playwright, Isaac Lim
Conversation with Director, Thong Pei Qin