Centre 42 » Fellowship https://centre42.sg Thu, 16 Dec 2021 10:08:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.30 Fellowship: Chong Tze Chien https://centre42.sg/fellowship-chong-tze-chien/ https://centre42.sg/fellowship-chong-tze-chien/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:40:16 +0000 http://centre42.sg/?p=9262
FellowProjectDocumentationReciprocal Project

Fellowship Period: July 2015 to September 2016

Tze Chien is one of Singapore’s most awarded and critically-lauded playwright-directors, best known for his thought-provoking, character-driven works such as Pan-Island Expressway (1999), Spoilt (2001), Furthest North, Deepest South (2004), Poop! (2010) and Charged (2010). Since 2004, Tze Chien has been the Company Director of puppetry theatre company The Finger Players. Find out more.

Framed, by Adolf

In 2014, Tze Chien wrote Starring Hitler as Jekyll and Hyde to pursue his interest in subject matters such as the holocaust, xenophobia, Hitler (as character study), and the power and tyranny of aesthetics in the Third Reich. The play was staged in 2014 and the process deepened his knowledge and interest in the themes explored. This Fellowship Project will take the research and exploration further and perhaps to develop it into a companion piece to Starring Hitler as Jekyll and Hyde. The new work, The Fuhrer’s Work (working title before Framed, by Adolf) is set in a contemporary setting focused on Hitler’s paintings as its springboard.

Tze Chien’s research will comprise exploration of the following themes, topics and angles:

  • History and art
  • Tyranny of art
  • Illusion of art
  • Politics and economics of art
  • Tracing the history and whereabouts of Hitler’s paintings in Germany and the world today
  • Interviews with curators, international auctioneers or auction house of Hitler’s paintings
  • Interviews with Jewish Nazi collaborators
Development Milestones
Oct 2015 Chong spent about 15 days in Poland and Germany to visit the Auschwitz concentration camps and the museums in Berlin. This research trip was funded in part by Centre 42’s Fellowship grant.
Jan 2016 Chong wrote the first draft of the work.
9 Sep 2016 A dramatized reading of The Fuhrer’s Work was held at Centre 42.
2018 The work was considered for next phase of development into a staging.
15-17 Jun 2018                                           . The Finger Players will be staging the play, retitled Framed, by Adolf at the Victoria Theatre. Find out more here.

The Vault: How Did You Meet Tina?

How Did You Meet Tina? is conceived as a performance-presentation that traces the legacy of the late Christina Sergeant (1955-2013) via archival footage and images as well as recreated interviews with her collaborators, friends, family and students.

Tze Chien knew of Tina, the much-lauded theatre practitioner, when he was a young student. But it was only over a decade later in 2004 when he would finally meet her. Tina was directing his play Furthest North, Deepest South. Tze Chien remembers her as “open-minded, principled and genuine”. To date, she is one of his most favourite collaborators.

The Vault: How Did You Meet Tina? was presented on 5 December 2015 to a public audience in Centre 42. View the recording of the presentation here.

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Fellowship: Nelson Chia https://centre42.sg/fellowship-nelson-chia/ https://centre42.sg/fellowship-nelson-chia/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:37:31 +0000 http://centre42.sg/?p=9267
Image credit: Nine Years Theatre
FellowProjectDocumentationReciprocal Project

Fellowship Period: March 2016 to August 2017

Nelson is an actor, director and theatre educator. For more than two decades, he has been seen on the Singapore stage, taking on numerous major and leading roles in English and Mandarin productions. He is a two-time winner of the Best Actor category in The Straits Times’ Life! Theatre Awards for his performance in a 100-minute, one-man show White Soliloquy (Toy Factory Productions, 2010) and A Language Of Their Own (Singapore Arts Festival 2012). As a director, he has directed twenty-two major productions and is known for his translation, adaptation and direction of old and contemporary classics in Mandarin. He has been awarded Best Director for two consecutive years at the Straits Times’ Life! Theatre Awards for Twelve Angry Men (Nine Years Theatre, 2013) and Art (Nine Years Theatre, 2014). In 2012, Nelson co-founded Nine Years Theatre (NYT) with his wife Mia Chee.

Art Studio

Nelson’s project involves the adaptation of Yeng Pway Ngon’s novel Art Studio into a stage play, focusing on the research into methods that may be used in adaptations crossing genres – Novels to Plays. By discovering and documenting these methods to share with the community of artmakers, Nelson hopes that this project can serve as a starting point to consider adaptation as a viable means of play-writing.

Art Studio is regarded by many in the literary circle as one of the most significant works by Yeng Pway Ngon, a Singaporean poet, novelist and critic well-known in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. Yeng was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Literature (2003) for his contributions to the literary scene. Nelson’s interest in Art Studio lies in how its story marries the epic and intimate by having characters with complex psychological states that lived through decades of Singapore history. It is also written with a variety of perspectives and subtle shifts in styles which provide lively materials for dramatic interpretations.

Nelson’s research will comprise the following phases of exploration:

  • Understanding the Original Genre
  • Cross-examination of Genre Characteristics
  • Adaptation and Writing, followed by a Read
Development Milestones
2016 Chia spent 2016 studying the novel and breaking it down to its constituent parts (characters, plots, dialogues etc.). He also worked with the Nine Years Theatre (NYT) ensemble to workshop scenes.
Jan 2017 Chia took a writer’s retreat in Bangkok to create the first draft of the stage adaptation.
Mar 2017 Chia held a closed-door reading of the Art Studio script with the NYT ensemble at Aliwal Arts Centre.
May-Aug 2017 After further revisions to the script, NYT ensemble went into rehearsals.
17-19 Aug 2017 Art Studio was commissioned and premiered at the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017, running from 17 to 19 August 2017 at Victoria Theatre. Find out more here.
20 Aug 2017                                                                                                                 . As part of the Singapore International Festival of Arts Shares programme, a separate post-show dialogue Drawing on Literature: The Process of Art Studio was held in Centre 42 on 20 August.  九年剧场 Nine Years Theatre‘s artistic director, Nelson Chia, and author Yeng Pway Ngon shared with their audience about the process of putting the epic novel on stage.

The stage adaptation of Art Studio received critical acclaim, especially for its adherence to the source material. Writer Ng Yi-Sheng wrote:

“What [Nelson has] given us instead is actually a remarkably audience-friendly version of the novel. Most of the extraneous flashbacks are spliced so that timelines are relatively linear; characters are clothed in stripped down but distinctive costumes so that it’s easy to recognise who’s who (one loses track in the novel); set designs change to reflect shifts of geography and time (the stories of Yan Pei and Si Xian’s artistic progress, so prolonged in the book, are collapsed into an exchange of letters between them: each one stands beneath an archway, and the archways move with them as the years go by). … … Thus—dare I say it?—I prefer the theatre version to the novel. Not only because it’s more compact and user-friendly, with very little of value lost. Also because it’s performative: it gathers us all into a room as it parcels out its moments of pathos.”

Read about the awards and reviews Art Studio received here.


The Vault: Dialect & Dialectics

In Dialects & Dialectic, Nelson explores the cultural sentiments and grassroot sensibilities of two of late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun’s most famous monologues. Working with actors Hang Qian Chou and Tay Kong Hui, No Parking on Odd Days and The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole were staged in Cantonese and Teochew respectively.

The Vault: Dialects & Dialectics was presented on 5 and 6 May 2017 to a public audience in Centre 42. View the recording of the presentation here.


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