Currently, the Fellowship is awarded by invitation.
Read our interview with Tze Chien on his journey researching for The Fuhrer’s Work.
Chong Tze Chien
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.
Fellowship Project: The Fuhrer’s Work
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) 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
A dramatized reading of The Fuhrer’s Work will be held on 9 September 2016 at Centre 42. Thereafter, Tze Chien will consider the next stage development into a staging in 2018.
Reciprocal Project: 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.
Image credit: Nine Years Theatre
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.
Fellowship Project: 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
Part 1: Nelson shares why he embarked on a long-term project to adapt Yeng Pway Ngon’s novel Art Studio into a stage play. He also talks about the challenges of creating a stage adaptation of a literary work, and also why his company ensemble is collaborating with him on the project.
Part 2: Nelson discusses the three phases of his long-term fellowship project, which aims to adapt Yeng Pway Ngon’s novel “Art Studio” into a stage play.
Reciprocal Project: The Vault: Dialect & Dialectics
In Dialects & Dialectic, Nelson explores the cultural sentiments and grassroot sensibilities of two of late theatre doyen Kyo 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.