Singapore Repertory Theatre

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Director Renee Yeong shares why Grounded might ruffle some feathers!

Renee Yeong is a London-based, New York-trained, Singaporean theatre director interested in telling contemporary stories about women and other marginalized groups in the US, UK, Singapore, and beyond. Find out why she decided to direct a play about a female fighter pilot and what the Singapore audience can draw from this play.

  1. Tell us what the show Grounded means to you.

Grounded to me challenges our perspective on war. If you've grown up in Singapore, war probably feels like a phenomenon that affects people on the other side of the world for reasons independent of us. We don't need to bother or care about it. All we need to care about is studying hard, getting a good job, buying a house, going on holiday, and retiring. That complacency, to me, is what Grounded is about. We think we are safe. But if such incorrigible violence can happen to people who live similar lives as us, have the same ambitions and dreams as us, who's to say we can't suffer the same fate? It only takes a few inciting incidents, and a few individual's political ambitions to land us in a similar predicament. No one is safe until we are all safe.

  1. What motivated your decision to take on the directorial role for this project?

When you see female characters on stage, they’re typically passionate about motherhood or their family, and it’s usually in a domestic setting. It’s never about their career. Our lead character is a fighter pilot first, a mother second, and a wife last. I know that might ruffle some feathers, but women like that exist. I wanted to work on a play that showcases a woman who is so unabashedly passionate and ambitious about flying and nothing else. 

Oon Shu An plays an elite fighter pilot in Grounded.

  1. Could you share a bit about your favourite moment from the play?

There is a scene in the play where The Pilot takes her young daughter shopping at the mall. Without giving too much away, what starts as a fun and wholesome mother- daughter bonding activity turns dark as The Pilot becomes paranoid that the enemy might be watching her every move and potentially targeting her and her daughter. This is one of the few times we see The Pilot outside of work, being a mother - but no matter what she does, her work follows her everywhere and starts to seep into her personal life. She feels powerful at work, but what about when she's off duty? Is she being watched too?

  1. What kind of impact do you hope the play will have on the audience?

I hope that audiences - especially Singaporean audience members - will begin questioning our learned belief that we are exempt, safe, and far-removed from wartime violence, and begin putting ourselves in the shoes of those who are victims of political agenda and warfare. 


Oon Shu Ann (Actor) and Renee Yeong (Director)


  1. Convince us: Why should someone make the decision to experience Grounded firsthand?

Reading about what I think of the play will be leagues different from experiencing it in person. If you come to Grounded, you will experience the journey of a person living under the guise of safety, security, and power, and what happens when they realise that maybe it was all a farce - that it was never true to begin with. 


Grounded opens at the KC Arts Centre – Home of STC from 7 March 2024. Find out more here.

Published on: 06-02-2024