#hellotfp: Marilyn Ang

by fingerplayers

#HelloTFP is a series of anecdotes where we introduce and share more about the members of the TFP family; from core team members to office interns. In this latest #HelloTFP feature, we speak with Marilyn Ang, this year’s Maker under The Maker’s Lab.

I studied design at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). That was something that I really wanted to do last time, but after working in that industry for five years, I think I got jaded after a while. After five years of design work, me and my sister just felt that we wanted to get out of this industry. We went to London for 2-3 weeks and we watched a lot of plays, and we thought, why did we never think about doing theatre? Since that was what we liked doing since secondary school. 

Along the Thames and in front of the London Eye, baby! Image Credit: Marilyn Ang
At the Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Image Credit: Marilyn Ang

In secondary school I did an installation and performance art piece with The Necessary Stage for the M1 Youth Festival. From there, my sister and I had interest in theatre. It just never came into our minds to work in theatre, because nobody tells you how you can go about it. 

“Fires within fires” – the production that Marilyn did in secondary school. Image Credit: The Necessary Stage

After I left my full-time design job, an intern position for props at SRT came up. I went in without any knowledge, and started from ground zero, started to learn to make. From young I really love making things, when The Maker’s Lab opportunity came up, I didn’t really have an idea what it was, but I thought, just try. My initial thoughts was that I would have to come up with an idea, or like a show that I have to do, and then we do that process for that show. But it is very different, it’s more like there’s this theme, you have to discover what that theme can lead to. I’ve never had to do that since I quit designing. 

Marilyn carrying the tree trunk she constructed for SRT’s Shakespeare in the Park. Image Credit: Marilyn Ang

I found it a bit difficult at times. There were too many things I feel that I wanted to do, and too little time to explore those things, then I have to always pick and choose things, but I always felt stuck whenever something I pick didn’t work out. 

I never knew past the idea of rod puppet and marionette and shadow puppetry, but when I came into this then I see everybody elses’ work and I realise there’s always something else that can be added to puppetry. 

Archive photo from The Bench, Paul the puppet built by Marilyn Ang. Photo by Benson Lim.

Seeing the puppet come into fruition is my favorite part of the process. Daniel (The Maker’s Lab Programme Manager) said “Now the end part of making the puppet is when you give love to your puppets.” Sometimes when I’m making, I don’t like it, but when I look at it as a whole, or when a puppeteer is puppeteering it, I feel like I really love this puppet, it’s really my baby.