Fear of Writing: The smell speech

A few weeks ago, our Singapore Society staged the play “Fear of Writing” by Tan Tarn How. It was staged in an oddly appropriate small theatre called the Garage Theatre, hidden in a small, dim alleyway where some rubbish bins and other paraphernalia had been stashed. This is an excerpt from the play from Tan Tarn How’s blog, one that I found deeply penetrating.

Tan Tarn How Too

Actor (as Writer): I once lived in a place which was almost perfect. It was beautiful in many ways. It was safe and clean. People were nice and polite. All the services one could want were a handy distance away. I had a nice job. The only problem was there was a faint almost imperceptible smell hanging in the air all the time. It was just the slightest hint of an odour, actually, always wavering just below or just above the limits of my ability to sense it, so sometimes I could smell it for sure, however weak, and sometimes I could almost not smell it, if you get what I mean, so I couldn’t tell whether the smell that I couldn’t smell was there or not, or was just a trick of my memory or mind. I don’t know if I am making sense in saying that something…

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