Pandemic podcast - directed by Huzir Sulaiman - helps listeners through disconcerting times

  • Arts
  • Tuesday, 29 Jun 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on all aspects of life.

But it has been particularly unforgiving for those with chronic medical conditions and freelance workers, who have had to contend with financial and mental uncertainty.

Singapore-based company Checkpoint Theatre's first podcast, Vulnerable, explores the life of an arts practitioner at that intersection. It is available for free on platforms such as Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube.

Freelance writer, poet and performer Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips, 27, has a congenital heart disease. And all her projects were cancelled when the pandemic hit.

In the eight-part podcast, she recounts her various pandemic experiences, such as being home-bound during the circuit breaker, creating work online and getting vaccinated. She is single and lives with her parents and younger sister in a Housing Board flat.

Phillips sheds light on the invisible struggles of the vulnerable, from logistical and financial troubles to the emotional loads they have had to bear. She also talks about the struggle to keep her health condition on an even keel as well as her existential crisis about productivity and purpose.

"It was definitely a very cathartic experience to write it all down," she says.

From July 1, Vulnerable will be featured at the National Museum of Singapore exhibition, Picturing The Pandemic: A Visual Record Of Covid-19 In Singapore, to complement the works on display. The exhibit will run until Aug 29.

The podcast is part of Checkpoint Theatre's efforts to broaden its range of multidisciplinary works amid the restrictions on live performances.

In 2020, it turned its ideas for plays, such as A Grand Design and The Heart Comes To Mind, into immersive audio experiences. It has also gone into holding music concerts and publishing comics.

The theatre company's joint artistic director Huzir Sulaiman, 48, says of Vulnerable: "The episodic podcast structure gives you so much potential to engage people emotionally and intellectually.

"As audiences, we will come away feeling that strong sense of collective responsibility to look out for one another, and to be maybe more empathetic of what one another is going through."

Vulnerable is available for free on platforms such as Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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