OPEN WATERS | Tan Shou Chen & Jaturachai Srichanwanpen

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SynopsisCreation ProcessCreative Team
Singaporean Shou Chen, and Thai Jaturachai are talking. In conversation, they weave a new creation myth for the other’s cities: The boring life of a Bangkok urbanite is transformed when the Chao Praya is moved on kilometer to the West; a mysterious girl bourne of the ocean goes on a quest to find her history. This is a myth about two histories, two cities, two people, two bodies. The space they create is a canvas, a city made by two people – one from Bangkok, one from Singapore.

Open Waters is a new work created through a collaboration between Singaporean artist Tan Shou Chen and Bangkok artist Jaturachai Srichanwanpen (“Chuan”).

Open Waters seeks to write a new creation myth for Singapore and Bangkok, using water myths as a starting point. Water is a recurrent trope in both Singaporean and Thai cultures. The collaborative process between Singapore and Bangkok contemporary theatre-makers involves cross-cultural creation, drawing heavily from the histories and existing traditional arts found in the artists’ respective countries to develop a new, contemporary story for theatre.

Over the course of 18 months, Shou Chen and Chuan will devise and develop Open Waters through research, workshopping and readings.

Phase 1 (October 2016 to March 2017)
The first phase involves research into Singapore and Thai stories and myths to gather thematic ideas and build a basic story structure. Shou Chen and Chuan will also learn a traditional art form from either country to facilitate storytelling. From Singapore, the pair will learn puppetry, specifically Wayang Kulit and Chinese Marionettes, from Tan Beng Tian, artistic director of Singapore puppetry theatre company The Finger Players. From Thailand, Shou Chen and Chuan will learn traditional Khon Dance.

Phase 2 (April to September 2017)
This phase involves devising, writing and reading the play. Between April and September 2017, Shou Chen and Chuan will devise and write Open Waters in Singapore, with the aim of producing a first draft and refining it. The draft will receive a public reading at the Bangkok Theatre Festival: Asia Focus in May 2017.

Phase 3 (October 2017 to March 2018)
The project will culminate in two dramatised readings of Open Waters, one in November at the Bangkok Theatre Festival 2017, and another in January 2018 in Singapore. The purpose of these readings is to invite producers or festival directors to view Open Waters and generate interest in bringing the work to a larger audience. Shou Chen and Chuan will also share their process of creating the play.


Jaturachai Srichanwanpan
Tan Shou Chen

Dramaturg – Ng Yi-Sheng
Main Image Design – Jirakit Soonthornlarpyod
Stage Manager – Justina Khoo
Lighting Designer – Gabriel Chan
Surtitle Operator – Wichaya Artamat
Translation – Cholatep Nabangchang

 Development Milestones 

Open Waters was developed in residence at Centre 42’s Basement Workshop from October 2016 to January 2018.

26-28 May 2017:
A work-in-progress preview presented at Thong Lor Arts Space, Bangkok as part of Bangkok Theatre Festival: Asia Focus 2017

18-19 November 2017:
Presented at Room 401, Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre as part of Bangkok Theatre Festival 2017

13-14 January 2018:
Singapore presentation at Black Box, Centre 42