BINTAN BANYAN TREE: The return of Robin Loon, the GAME-MASTER
I have very fond memories of the 2004 24-hr because it was my first 24-hr playwriting competition since returning to Singapore and it was the first I did that we had to cross water. We managed to get BINTAN BANYAN TREE and BINTAN LAGOON RESORT on board and it was fantastic. The entry fee was a little higher than the usual entry fee (for obvious reasons) but it was still a bargain for a nice weekend away for many contestants. And for obvious reasons, this was one venue that I could not conduct a ‘site-visit’ so I had to think of the non-specific stimuli all on my own and from broschures of the resorts.
It was quite magical – everyone was in competition and holiday mood so it was a very unusual mix of emotions – it was like everyone was tensed and relaxed at the same time. We all boarded the boat from Tanah Merah Terminal and off we went. We got bussed to the resort and very swiftly, we were ushered into the meeting rooms where tables were laid. The funny thing was that the tables were laid in horizontal rows parallel to the length of the room, each contestant had a chair and a small section of the long table: if we gave them each a telephone and they would all look like telethon phone-in receptionists.
The competition started with the usual opening line and after that, contestants who booked rooms went to their rooms and chilled out; those who didn’t, just hung out at the meeting rooms or in the resort. Because the stimuli were released every 4 hours, contestants could actually take a real break and do some resort activities and still be back in time for the next stimulus. It was very relaxed and everyone soaked up the exotic atmosphere.
While everyone was busy with the competition, I was madly scouring the space for my non-specific stimulus. In the end, I found a lovely site on the beach and took the contestants there to see the view – and the other non-specific stimulus, I asked for some Lavender essential oils and diffused it in a room and asked the contestants to smell it. I also brought in a coconut as a specific stimulus and I took questions for almost 10 minutes about the coconut! I answered questions from whether the coconut can be used in the play as a drink to whether the play can use a coconut tree instead. All sorts of mind-boggling questions.
All in all, after the splashing about in the pool, the food, the massages and the stress – the competition was over and everyone had a lovely time. And as you can tell from the pics, everyone was exhausted too. But through it all – everyone’s spirit was high: contestants and organizers alike
I think that’s what’s so special about the 24-hr playwriting competition.
P.S. the gentleman seated in the picture with me standing next to him is the peerless Dr K K Seet, the 24-hr playwriting competition’s chief judge since the very first competition.
Loved the Bintan trip – took the most awesome photos there! 😀 Good business for Angsana too as I later persuaded my family to book a holiday there based on my 24-hour experience lol…