strut and fret Theatre Company Being and Nothingness



Being and Nothingness is a bilingual piece of new writing presented by Strut and Fret Theatre Company. The idea was first proposed in March during National Student Drama Festival 2018. Focusing on identity crisis, Being and Nothingness explore the complexity of individual identity in an international setting.

An experimental version (previously titled: Lost Life) was rehearsed and performed at Also Festival 2018 Warwickshire in the format of contemporary dancing. A first draft script of Being and Nothingness was written in August and revised in October. The immersive theatre version was sponsored and supported by Institute of Advanced Learning and Teaching (IATL), University of Warwick. It entered and was shortlisted for the National Student Drama Festival 2019.

As social animals, the desire to belong roots in the nature of human kind. The certainty and clarity of one’s identity not only provide a sense of security, also shape and form how one thinks, acts and reacts to the world around him. In this age of globalisation and displacement, those who have left home and immersed in a different culture(s) since, often find themselves in a state of identity crisis.

A state of uncertainty, blurriness, and trouble of defining oneself.

A cultural in-betweener.

A foreigner at home.

The battling of the original and present culture makes us wonder - when geographical location no longer defines who we are and when we find it difficult to pin down home. What is it, that makes home home? Through the fragments of Xiao’s dream and glimpses of her haunting memory, we explore, what home means to her.

A 70-minute journey crossing time and space, to the small town in the south of China in 1990s. The humidity of a melting-hot summer’s day, the vague voice of Grandma’s bedtime story, the smell of mint and mugwort smoke. Through the fragments of Xiao’s dream and glimpses of her haunting memory, we explore and experience , what home means to her and how she discovers who she really is.

The show will be presented in multiple languages including English, Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects. English subtitle will be provided where it is necessary. For non-Chinese speakers, you are not disadvantaged, with more than 300 dialects existing in China, the native Chinese speakers will not be understanding any more than you do. Language is used as an instrument to create unfamiliarity and foreignness in this show.

This show was part of our Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Programme