Emergency Stairs | FOUR FOUR EIGHT
避难阶段 Emergency Stairs is a nonprofit experimental theatre company in Singapore creating self-reflexive works that challenge existing notions of art-making.
experimental theatre, singapore theatre company, theatre spaces singapore, one table two chairs, experimental theatre asia, 避难阶段, emergency stairs theatre
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Photo by Tuckys Photography

Photo by Tuckys Photography

Photo by Tuckys Photography

Photo by Tuckys Photography

Date: 19 to 23 February 2019

Venue: The ExciseMan Whisky Bar @ Esplanade Mall, #02-27

Ticketing: Esplanade

Text / Creator / Director / Performer: Liu Xiaoyi

Creator / Designer: Darren Ng, Lim Woan Wen

“Built to be lonely
to love the absent.
Find me
Free me
from this
corrosive doubt
futile despair
horror in repose.
I can fill my space
fill my time
but nothing can fill this void in my heart.”
– Sarah Kane, 4.48 Psychosis

How can one survive and love in a broken world? How do we get along with ourselves?

Inspired by British playwright Sarah Kane’s last work 4.48 Psychosis, Young Artist Award recipient Liu Xiaoyi presents FOUR FOUR EIGHT, a brand-new work that leads you into a world, a social construct, where every audience member becomes a participant in a space of gathering and camaraderie; anchored in a place of urban loneliness – the bar.

Taking place in and around an actual bar, the perceptions of individual audience members are challenged the moment when one enters the performance environment. Taking in the sights and sounds, each person becomes aware of the presence of self, others, the space, and various activities in the venue. The experience is an individual realisation, and is up to you to create and dictate.

Singapore theatre company Emergency Stairs has earned a reputation for boundary-pushing works that generate much discourse among its audiences. Following Offending the Audience in 2017, and Einstein in the Carpark in 2018, FOUR FOUR EIGHT is the third instalment of the company’s Post-Dramatic Series. With FOUR FOUR EIGHT, together with award-winning artists lighting designer Lim Woan Wen and sound artist Darren Ng, Liu continues to explore the possibilities of, and challenge the limitations of what constitutes a theatre space.

“Please open the curtains.” She said.

This performance begins long before you step into the bar. Small, deliberate moments will connect you with the artist and his inner world. Through emails and other ephemeral social interactions, you will be drawn into the artist’s processes of creation—the impulses, the loneliness, the struggles, and the triumphs… and we invite you to be part of the creation process.

Please write to 448@emergencystairs.com with “I want to open the curtains” to get connected, and do remember to attach an image of your ticket.

Artist Bios

Liu Xiaoyi
Text / Creator / Director / Performer

Xiaoyi is the founder and Artistic Director of Emergency Stairs. A committed practitioner with a desire to push artistic boundaries, Xiaoyi is considered a promising figure at the forefront of the experimental theatre scene in Singapore. He was the recipient of Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2016.

Over the past two decades as a professional artist, Xiaoyi distinguished himself first and foremost as an accomplished actor. Now, he is considered one of the most acclaimed male actors from the Singapore theatre scene. Xiaoyi’s passion and talent for words also revealed a gifted playwright with a deft sensibility for language. As a director, the cornerstones of his oft-lauded but controversial work are unsurprisingly experimentation, introspection, and poetry. Xiaoyi’s works often polarise, drawing both praise and debate.

Since 2011, Xiaoyi has been particularly involved in intercultural dialogue. He curates the annual Southernmost: One Table Two Chairs Project, a first-of-its-kind arts festival in Singapore. It seeks to bring prominent and established traditional and contemporary theatre artists from the region together at Singapore for intercultural exchange and presentation.

Darren Ng
Creator / Designer

For the past two decades, Darren has designed sound and composed music for over 250 arts productions, and has received multiple The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards for Best Sound. As a music composer and going by the pseudonym – sonicbrat, he is signed to record label Kitchen. Label and represented internationally by renowned music publishers Phantom Limb (UK) and P*dis (JP). He has also been invited to perform solo and do sound installations in numerous prestigious international music and arts festivals across Europe and Asia. Being the Associate Sound Artist and Music Composer for The Finger Players since 2004 and an Associate Artist of Emergency Stairs, Darren is also one of the co-founders of design collective INDEX. He was conferred the Young Artist Award (music; multi-disciplinary practice) in 2012 by the National Arts Council.

Lim Woan Wen
Creator / Designer

A graduate from the National University of Singapore’s Theatre Studies programme, Woan Wen received the inaugural National Arts Council Arts Professional Scholarship in 2001 and trained at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in stage lighting design. She has won multiple Best Lighting Design awards at The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards and was conferred the Young Artist Award in 2011 by the National Arts Council.


... That such reflection could be done at the participant's own pace allowed the work space to breathe and unfold. That it was staged in an actual bar - with other participants and non-theatre patrons having a relaxing night out - gave the encounter added dimension, with everyone's spontaneous gestures and mannerisms on display.

They were the actors, and so was I, homing in on the message that in life, we are all performers.

– Benson Ang, The Straits Times, Theatre review: Four Four Eight, a choose-your-own-adventure experience that works”

There is a lucidity one has gleaned from this well thought out, carefully conceptualised and curated experience born of the hard work of Liu Xiaoyi and his team, one that allows audiences to freely participate with no holds barred, coming to the realisation that there is always light amidst the darkness if we just search hard enough within ourselves.

– Bakchormeeboy, Huayi Festival 2019: FOUR FOUR EIGHT (四四八) by Emergency Stairs (Review)