SINGAPORE - Soprano Wong Su Sun's mother responds to her in six different languages and dialects - English, Mandarin, Malay, Hakka, Hokkien and Hainanese.
"When we talk, I don't know what language will come out of her mouth," says the voice teacher, 60, whose experience with her parents, who both have dementia, inspired the docu-opera A Day A Lily.
Composer Chen Zhangyi, 37, says the inclusion of multiple languages in the documentary better reflects the reality of dementia.
Created by Chen, Wong and librettist-producer Jack Lin, A Day A Lily tracks the journey of an opera singer who loses her mind at the height of her career.
Wong, who was the former artistic director of Singapore Lyric Opera, plays the lead role opposite pianist Jonathan Shin in the documentary, directed by film-maker Lim Ziyu.
Made up of three acts, it interweaves the opera's excerpts and behind-the-scenes moments with interview clips with medical professionals, social workers, carers and people living with and caring for those with dementia.
The film premieres at the National Museum of Singapore on June 29. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Singapore Kindness Movement general secretary William Wan.
Lin, 36, says that while the documentary format was a way of working around pandemic restrictions, it also allows the production to reach a broader audience.
Describing it as an "entry point to understanding dementia", Chen says it aims to depict how people - both sufferers and carers - can better cope with the condition.
Wong says the opera will show how the character continues to "live the life that she is used to living" even with dementia, disrupting the notion that patients are perpetually plagued by confusion and sadness.
She intends to show the documentary to her parents, she says, adding: "Since my mum can recognise who I am, I hope that when she sees me in it, it can trigger some memories in her of the concerts I have performed in and the concert gowns she has sewed for me."
Lin says dementia and its effect on relationships is "something that could potentially happen to anyone".
He adds of the documentary: "Now that things are looking better for the performing arts scene, we want to turn it into a live stage production, hopefully within the next two years."