The Vault

The Vault safe-keeps Singaporean works dating back to our early theatre years. The platform does not merely document the past but manifests as contemporary responses to these works presented at Centre 42 premises. The Centre invites artists and practitioners to respond critically and personally to canonical Singapore classics, lesser known pieces and rarities, reworks and adaptations, and cross-cultural and cross-genres works.
The following articles provide an overview and documentation of each instalment of The Vault.
Shifting Sands: Pasir Panjang Land Reclamation

Shifting Sands: Pasir Panjang Land Reclamation

Singapore’s fast-changing landscape has always been rich fodder for the work of local theatremakers. There was Stella Kon’s landmark monologue Emily of Emerald Hill (1984), in which an aged Emily Gan laments the new apartment blocks surrounding her mansion on Emerald Hill. There was…
About My Grandfather’s Road (2015)

About My Grandfather’s Road (2015)

"When I wrote [My Grandfather’s Road], I didn't know what I wanted to do, but at the end I realised it was about mortality and, more importantly, about renewing your relationships with people.” - Neo Kim Seng
(Video) The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart…

(Video) The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart…

The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart… was presented on 28 & 29 October 2017 in front of a live audience. Written by Aswani Aswath and dramaturged by Alfian Sa’at, Absence Makes the Heart… is an attempt to trace the presence and absence of Indian…
The Vault: My Grandfather’s Road 我阿公的路

The Vault: My Grandfather’s Road 我阿公的路

The Vault: My Grandfathers Road 我阿公的路 revisits My Grandfather’s Road (2015), refreshing it through an exploration of how Cantonese is spoken in Singapore and Malaysia. Conceived and written by Neo Kim Seng, and performed by Gary Tang and Tan Cher Kian.  
The Plays of “Absence Makes the Heart…”

The Plays of “Absence Makes the Heart…”

The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart… looks at the portrayal of Indian characters in Singapore English-language plays throughout history. Here are the plays whose excerpts are performed in Absence, as well as information about their first stagings.   The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart… traces the…
Losing the English Advantage

Losing the English Advantage

In colonial Singapore, English literacy among the Asiatic population – Chinese, Malays and Indians – was alarmingly low. In a 1935 report in the Malaya Tribune, the 1931 population census found that: However, among the three largest ethnic groups in…
The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart…

The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart…

  The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart… traces the presence and absence of Indian roles in Singapore English-language theatre. Written by Aswani Aswath and dramaturged by Alfian Sa’at, and featuring the actors Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, Sivakumar Palakrishnan and Grace Kalaiselvi.  
(Video) Dialects & Dialectics

(Video) Dialects & Dialectics

The Vault: Dialects & Dialectics was presented in three showcases on 5 & 6 May 2017. Nelson Chia, the artistic director of Nine Years Theatre, directed “No Parking on Odd Days” and “The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole”, monologues written…
About The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole

About The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole

Synopsis The monologue by Kuo Pao Kun is centred on a man who has been tasked to oversee the funeral of his grandfather. It emerges that the grand coffin is too large to fit into the standard-sized grave that has…
About No Parking On Odd Days

About No Parking On Odd Days

Synopsis Kuo Pao Kun’s 1984 monologue examines the rigidity – and sometimes absurdity – of bureaucracy through a series of confrontations that a man has with the authorities over parking tickets. First Stagings The English version of No Parking On Odd…
The Vault: Dialects and Dialectics

The Vault: Dialects and Dialectics

  The Vault: Dialects and Dialectics revisits two monologues by the late local theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun: No Parking On Odd Days and The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole. Nine Years Theatre’s artistic director Nelson Chia explores…
About “Playing Mothers”

About “Playing Mothers”

Synopsis Playing Mothers is an exploration of the concept of motherhood. The play follows seven characters, both female and male, and all mothers in their own way. In a Straits Times article dated 10 Jan 1996, playwright Ovidia Yu said “anyone can mother a…
About “The Lunar Interviews”

About “The Lunar Interviews”

Synopsis The Lunar Interviews is a series of seven monologues in which moon goddesses Chang Er, Diana, and Hina – from Chinese, Roman, and Polynesian mythologies respectively – recount tales of both divine creation and mundane loneliness. The stories touch on themes…
The Vault: Becoming Mother

The Vault: Becoming Mother

      The Vault: Becoming Mother is the third and final presentation in a series dedicated to exploring dance and Singapore play-text. Grounded in their dance practices of bharata natyam and ballet respectively, Shanthini and Jocelyn respond to themes of creation and creativity…
(Documentation) Becoming Mother

(Documentation) Becoming Mother

The Vault: Becoming Mother was presented on 19 March 2017. Dance practitioners and researchers Dr. Nidya Shanthini Manokara and Jocelyn Chng presented the findings of their research into motherhood, dance and text, in a devised performance, and an exhibition. A 60-minute recording of the…
(Video) Dancing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

(Video) Dancing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Vault: Dancing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly was presented on 24 February 2017 in front of a live audience. Contemporary dance artist Lee Mun Wai presents his artistic response to the works of playwright Elangovan, specifically the three banned plays Talaq, Smegma,…
About Stoma

About Stoma

Synopsis Stoma – which refers to a natural opening in the body – is a play written by Elangovan, centring on a disgraced former priest who had been defrocked over alleged sex abuse. Over seven scenes, he undergoes a surreal, graphic…
About Smegma

About Smegma

Synopsis Titled after the cheese-like secretions found in genitals, Smegma comprises a series of ten short plays, each examining the many faces of power and exposing a different aspect of exploitation within society. This is how playwright Elangovan describes the multi-vignette…
About Talaq

About Talaq

Synopsis Talaq – which means “divorce” – is a one-woman play about Nisha, a Muslim girl from India who is married off at the age of 16 to a Singaporean man twice her age. She finds out that her husband has…
The Vault: Dancing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Vault: Dancing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Vault: Dancing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the second of three presentations exploring dance and Singapore play-text. Through dance, Singaporean contemporary dance artist Lee Mun Wai responds to the plays Talaq, Smegma and Stoma written by playwright Elangovan.    …