Join us for this inaugural series to explore Singapore's theatre and performance histories and their contemporary relevance. This new platform gathers theatre, dance and performance scholars and practitioners in conversation about topics of interest in the performing arts.
Panelists of this session will explore the afterlives and reincarnations of performance in their respective practice. Each speaker will offer intriguing takes on what archives and previous bodies of work mean and do when they revisit them through performance.
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Loo Zihan will share his experience working on two versions in 2015 and 2017 of Completely With/Out Character, a documentary theatre piece devised by Alvin Tan and Haresh Sharma in collaboration with Paddy Chew. Paddy was the first individual to come out publicly as living with HIV in Singapore in 1998. In his revisiting of this play, first staged in 1999 by The Necessary Stage, Zihan will detail the discrepancies and gaps in the archive that allow for creative and productive reinterpretation and engagement of the material.
Loo Zihan is an artist and academic from Singapore working at the intersections of critical theory, performance, and the moving-image. His performance work has been commissioned by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, the Singapore International Festival of Arts, and the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Zihan was the valedictorian for the pioneer batch of Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates from the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University in 2009. He received his Masters of Arts in Performance Studies from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2018. Zihan was awarded the Young Artist Award (2015) by the National Arts Council of Singapore.
Nabilah Said will explore how she examines and revisits historical traumas in both the personal and public consciousness, with reference to her works ANGKAT: A Definitive, Alternative, Reclaimed Narrative of a Native, yesterday it rained salt and other plays. She will consider how eschewing a fixed narrative in favour of fragmented storytelling can help or hinder our re-presentation of history, as well as the role of emotional excavation and humour in helping us work through such explorations. In line with revisiting official narratives this year, Nabilah wonders if our narratives should instead reflect the state of our collective memories – a bestial thing that is slippery, changeable and, in tribute to our rich mythical and mystical Asian heritage, one that ultimately shapeshifts.
Nabilah Said is a playwright, arts writer and poet whose work has been presented in Singapore and London by theatre companies Teater Ekamatra, The Necessary Stage and Bhumi Collective. Two new plays will premiere at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2019 – ANGKAT: A Definitive, Alternative, Reclaimed Narrative of a Native and yesterday it rained salt. She holds an M.A. in Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, as a recipient of the Tan Ean Kiam Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities. nabilahsaid.com.
Taking the figure of Lai Teck as his lead, Shawn Chua traces the avatars of the double agent across two productions--Teater Ekamatra's Tiger of Malaya and Ho Tzu Nyen's The Mysterious Lai Teck--to examine how each work in turn becomes a double to an uncanny history of counterintelligence. In this double act, Shawn riffs off Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's ideas on paranoid and reparative readings, analysing how the paranoid enactment of history in each work is engaged with reparative agency.
Shawn Chua’s research engages with embodied archives, uncanny personhoods and the participatory frameworks of play. He has presented his research at the Asian Dramaturg’s Network, The Substation, State of Motion, and Performance Studies internation (PSi). In 2012, he was awarded the National Arts Council Scholarship and he holds an MA in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Waseda University. He currently teaches at LASALLE College of the Arts, and serves on the Performance Studies international (PSi) Future Advisory Board.
Moderator: Corrie Tan
Corrie Tan is a writer, editor and researcher based in Singapore. Corrie is into radical shifts in performance criticism – redefining the critic as dramaturg, collaborator, archivist, ethnographer and shapeshifter. She is resident critic and contributing editor at Arts Equator, where she co-convenes a critics' reading group and a performance criticism mentorship programme. She has also written regularly about performance for The Guardian, The Stage, Exeunt Magazine and The Straits Times. Corrie is currently a first-year doctoral student in Theatre Studies on the joint PhD programme between the National University of Singapore and King's College London. She holds an MA (Dist) in Performance & Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Goldsmiths, University of London as a recipient of both the National Arts Council Arts Scholarship (Postgraduate) and the Goldsmiths International Scholarship.