UTTER《优剧》: Exciting new Singaporean literary works given fresh spin on stage
Singapore, 18 May 2012 – A war-weary insurgent hiding in the jungle, a frustrated wife who stares down a yellow elephant, and a young girl who has swallowed the sun. These vividly sketched characters now spring to life in the new season of Utter《优剧》, which focuses for the first time on inter-cultural works and features a double bill of Chinese and English short plays adapted from works by local literati, Yeng Pway Ngon and O Thiam Chin. The double bill, Shadows in the Jungle and The Yellow Elephant and The Girl Who Swallowed The Sun, will run from 5 to 7 July at The Arts House.
Utter, a key lead-up programme to the Singapore Writers Festival’s (SWF) in November, seeks to showcase the best of Singapore writing and celebrate the written word’s potential to be adapted for different media like theatre, film and even games. The Arts House is the key programme partner of the SWF, the much-anticipated literary festival in Singapore organized by the National Arts Council.
Paul Tan, the Festival Director of SWF, said: “The Singapore Writers Festival is delighted to be working with The Arts House to stage Utter this year. We hope the performances will excite audiences and remind them that Singapore literature has much to offer across the different media. It is limited only by our imagination! I am sure audiences and those in the creative industry will be inspired by the original writings by O Thiam Chin and Yeng Pway Ngon, as well as Jean Tay and Lee Chee Keng, the writers who adapted the literary texts into performance scripts.”
Following a well-received first season last year, this year’s instalment bridges the generational and language divide by pairing the adaptation of the Chinese novel, The Studio《画室 》, by Cultural Medallion winner Yeng with a literary mash-up of two of O’s short stories, Yellow Elephant and The Girl who Swallowed the Sun.
William Phuan, Director of The Arts House, says: “We are excited to put two very different pieces of works together – one by an established writer and the other by a young writer – and anticipate the theatrical frisson they would produce. We are working with an exceptionally talented creative team this year. At the helm is Nelson Chia, who will be directing both plays. Nelson is known for his bilingual work as a director and actor.”
Lee Chee Keng will be adapting a storyline from The Studio《画室 》that involves two main characters into the Chinese play, Shadows in the Jungle, while Jean Tay will take on two short stories from O’s latest book, The Rest Of Your Life And Everything That Comes With It, which has been long-listed for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award.
Says Yeng Pway Ngon: “I am very excited that a group of theatre people have read my work and are adapting it into a play. Although the adaptation is only for an episode from the novel, I still hope that the adaptation will not only enable them to display their talents in theatre but also reflect the thinking and feelings conveyed through my novel and the metaphor and symbolic meaning implied in it.”
Set in a café that is a metaphor of a writer’s mind, the double bill imagines the encounter between a group of fictional characters and their creator that connects the two plays. Amidst the aroma of coffee, an intimate dialogue about love, fear, betrayed ideals and fantastical animals ensues.
Utter takes the audience into a realist and surreal world where both literature and theatre meet, as it celebrates the best of Singapore’s literary arts.
About The Arts House at The Old Parliament
Occupying the almost 200-year-old building that was Singapore's first Parliament House, The Arts House since its opening in 2004 has been offering its visitors a broad spectrum of lifestyle options, while at the same time playing an active role in the Singapore arts and creative scene.
Since 2011, The Arts House has been focusing on the development of Literary Arts, while supporting and presenting programmes and festivals that aim to give a wide and multidisciplinary experience to our audiences.
旧国会艺术之家的前身是拥有182年历史的前国会大厦和新加坡的第一法院大楼。旧国会艺术之家于2004 年 3 月正式开幕，是新加坡唯一以政府建筑转型的多功能艺术中心。
About Singapore Writers Festival
The Singapore Writers Festival is one of Asia’s premier literary events, organised by the National Arts Council. Inaugurated in 1986, the festival serves a dual function of promoting new and emerging Singaporean and Asian writing to an international audience, as well as presenting the world’s major literary talents to Singaporeans. SWF has delighted book lovers by featuring literary luminaries such as Singapore writers Shamini Flint, Meira Chand, Alvin Pang, Suchen Christine Lim, You Jin, as well as international writers such as Steven Levitt, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Bi Feiyu, David Mitchell, Bei Dao, F. Sionil Jose, Taichi Yamada, Andrew Motion and Marc Smith.
To date, it remains one of the few literary festivals in the world that is multi-lingual, celebrating works in Singapore’s official languages – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.
For more information, please visit www.singaporewritersfestival.com.
由国家艺术理事会主办的新加坡作家节是亚洲主要的文学活动之一。本活动自1986年，为读者介绍本地与亚洲各地的优秀文学作品，也促进读者与海内外杰出作家之间的交流。近几年的作家节汇集了本地文学巨匠（如Shamini Flint、Meira Chand、Suchen Christine Lim、冯啟明、尤今）和国际著名作家（如Steven Levitt、Michael Chabon、Neil Gaiman、David Mitchell、F. Sionil Jose、Andrew Motion、Marc Smith、毕飞宇、北岛、山田太一)。
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