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“Two Nests – Love from Both” multimedia performance

(Finalists of Gender Innovation Awards 2019)

“Two Nests – Love from Both” is the first Readers’ Theatre work which is acted by divorced family members and professional actors, attempting to dissect the concept of “Child-focused Co-parenting”in the community with true stories in Asia. In 2018, we interviewed divorced families and wrote their stories into a fiction and poems. Although the parents went through different stage of marital break-up, they shared similar emotions which they felt guilty and empathy as they thought they were incapable to perform the role of mother and father. The complicated internal struggles revealed the dominant power of patriarchy under monogamy.  

The wisdom and companionship of storytelling shows the aura of empathy and humanity. Walter Benjamin says a storyteller is a chronicler whose gift is the ability to relate his life, his distinction, to be able to tell his entire life. We transformed the stories of the book into an interactive theatre performance which encourages the audience to share their own stories. We embroidered their stories into our next performance. The audiences become the storytellers enriching our journey of storytelling.

Through transforming these true stories collected into theatrical plays on stage, we hope to spread the enamoring values behind “Child-focused Co-parenting”, as well as depicting the everyday struggles these co-parenting families have been facing. In addition, this community art campaign also support the survivors of gender base violence from divorced families to use art as companionship.

“Readers theater allows me to know that the problems encountered by divorced families are very similar, so we don’t have to enlarge our problem, but to face it and solve it.”

Not just performers

We brought the stories of the <Two Nests> into the community and did public performances.  A mother among the audience walked away from the performance and cried for a while before returning to the seat.
“I faced divorce, domestic violence and many difficulties 3 years ago. I’m still worrying my basic needs in life now. Thanks for the performance today, it made me face my own feelings.”

We did not have any sharing from any guests, but to invite the audience to write down the answer to the question. Then we put the cards in a circle in the middle and the answers were read by the actors. So we can hear the mind of those divorced parents.

In the last performance, we tried to loosen the boundary between the actors in the stage and the audience in the middle of the theatre. We invited the audience to write down “A thing I have worked hard to do for my child”. There’s a mother in the back, not speaking a word but crying and writing this: “Transform myself, forget the hate to forgive my ex-husband, try my best to give my child a happy life.”

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