Joe Sidek explores the concept of loneliness in directorial debut

Joe Sidek explores the concept of loneliness in his directorial debut, 'The Human Voice'. — Picture by KE Ooi
Joe Sidek explores the concept of loneliness in his directorial debut, 'The Human Voice'. — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 23 — What does it mean to be lonely? What is it about loneliness that it touches even the rich and famous who seem to have everything?

The Human Voice is a play that explores this very concept; in this play, a woman tries to come to terms with her partner leaving and marrying someone else.

This play, featuring Susan Lankester, is also George Town Festival director Joe Sidek’s directorial debut.

Joe chose The Human Voice by French playwright Jean Cocteau because it is something he always wanted to do, to explore the meaning behind loneliness and depression.

He first saw the play when he was 18 years old and the concept of loneliness continued to fascinate him over the years.

“Having studied the concept of loneliness for 40 years, I finally got an answer for myself.

“This play is about me coming to terms with my own loneliness and I want to share this with people,” he said.

He said GTF has made him a balanced person. “This festival makes you love yourself and makes you comfortable with who you are,” he said.

“When I look at suicide cases, of people who jumped because they were heartbroken, and I look at famous stars who are rich and have everything and yet, they too have suffered loneliness.

“Whatever the reason, people still suffer, they still feel lonely so this play is about suicide, it’s about death, it’s about loneliness,” he added.

Susan Lankester plays the woman who had to face heartbreak, anger and a multitude of feelings upon learning of her partner marrying someone else. — Picture courtesy of George Town Festival
Susan Lankester plays the woman who had to face heartbreak, anger and a multitude of feelings upon learning of her partner marrying someone else. — Picture courtesy of George Town Festival

Joe said he picked Lankester for the role after he saw her performance in Pearl of the Eastern & Oriental at last year’s GTF.

“I wanted someone who can convey their feelings without talking too much, I want it to be more intense and Susan Lankester is uber professional,” he said.

So far he has had two rehearsals with Lankester and is due to have a couple more before the play which is set to show on September 2 and 3 at Loft 29.

He has mixed feelings about his directorial debut and insists that he does not want to be seen as pushing his own play for the festival.

“I don’t want to be a director but I wanted to direct The Human Voice I actually wanted to do 1901 which is a story about Japanese women in Penang. In fact, I want to do stories about Penang, its people, its history,” he said.

The stories unveiled at the annual festival over the years have inspired him and because of this, Joe said he may direct another play next year.

The Human Voice is part of this year’s GTF events. Find out the full GTF programme at georgetownfestival.com.

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