by Estelle Rosen
The way we deal with life-threatening events takes many forms. For Shiong-En Chan, she has transformed her diary entries following the onset of a Lupus attack in 2009, into an extraordinary one-woman performance, Kissed by a Butterfly. (Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks normal healthy tissue).
Jeremy Taylor’s direction treated a highly emotional story with finesse. He let the story evolve.
I can only imagine Shiong-En Chan’s emotional wrangling about essentially re-living on stage the 25 hospital days of her third and worst episode of Lupus (the episode portrayed here).
Solo performances on a medium sized stage can at times look like the performer is running from one end to the other. In this presentation, the stage was well used; movement was natural. There was also a good balance of humour with realistic acceptance; Shiong-En Chan does not let herself be identified by Lupus yet at the same time accepts it as part of who she is.
Shiong-En Chan never meant to show her diary entries to anyone. The audience benefits by experiencing a touching heartfelt performance.