Fellowship: Chong Tze Chien

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.