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The Life Theatre Awards Best Director nominees, Arts News & Top Stories

All the world’s a stage however the administrators nominated for The Straits Times’ Life Theatre Awards this yr used the stage to point out the world.

In Art Studio by Nine Years Theatre, Nelson Chia mixed three artwork varieties – textual content, theatre and portray – to create a common story about artwork, love and companionship.

In Dragonflies by Pangdemonium, Tracie Pang addressed global points equivalent to local weather change and xenophobia by way of intimate tales.

In Trojan Women, Ong Keng Sen confirmed how Greek tragedy stays sadly related at the moment as savage cycles of violence proceed to form historical past.

All three productions have been introduced underneath the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017.

Tracie Pang, 50

Nominated for: Dragonflies (Pangdemonium and Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017)

Previous nominations: Ten for Best Director together with for the 2013 productions Rabbit Hole and Next To Normal; Fat Pig (2014) and Tribes (2015) Previous wins: Best Director for the 2016 manufacturing Falling (Pangdemonium)

Pang knew simply the best way to put local weather change on stage, to the dismay of these designing units and sound for Dragonflies

“The very first thing I said was, ‘I want rain.’ My sound designer was like, ‘Are you kidding? Do you know how loud rain is? How do I silence the rain?'” she says, laughing.

The story of a Singaporean man ejected from the United Kingdom after the demise of his spouse and going through issues holding his adopted youngster in Singapore, was staged underneath the umbrella of the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017 and might be restaged in May and June on the Victoria Theatre.

Last yr, simulated thunderstorms, haze and blackly comedian xenophobia made the set a microcosm of the world at the moment.

Dragonflies has acquired eight nominations at The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards, together with for Best Set Design (Wai Yin Kwok), Best Sound Design (Jing Ng) and Best Ensemble. It can be up for Production of the Year and Best Original Script (Stephanie Street).

Pangdemonium made its identify reviving Broadway and West-End favourites, however, this yr, branched into unique work. Pang says: “We had writers who were very keen to collaborate and had themes we wanted to talk about and were open to experimenting with storylines.”

Another unique work staged by Pangdemonium, household drama Tango by Joel Tan, can be up for Best Original Script this yr. The troupe has 11 nominations in whole together with finest supporting position nods for Andy Tear for The Pillowman and Chloe Choo for Fun Home.

“I was very pleasantly surprised,” Pang says. “I was not expecting it. It’s just wonderful for the company and everybody who worked on the shows.”

Nelson Chia, 46

Nominated for: Art Studio (Nine Years Theatre, Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017)

Previous nominations: Best Director for Oleanna (Theatre Practice, 2002); Best Actor for Mad Phoenix (Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble, 2003)

Previous wins: Best Director for Art (2014) and Twelve Angry Men (2013), each staged by his troupe Nine Years Theatre. Art additionally tied with Wild Rice’s Monkey Goes West for Production of the Year in 2015.

Best Actor for White Soliloquy (Toy Factory Productions, 2010). In 2013, he received Best Actor for A Language Of Their Own (Robin Loon and Casey Lim, Singapore Arts Festival 2012) in a tie with Oliver Chong (Roots).

In the 5 years since Chia arrange Nine Years Theatre along with his spouse, actress Mia Chee, the troupe has received over audiences and critics with sharp, slick reworkings of up to date classics of Chinese and Western theatre.

It was an act of braveness to maneuver ahead and create a brand new, unique work – and from a novel of 1 / 4 million phrases. Yeng Pway Ngon’s critically acclaimed Art Studio (or Hua Shi, printed in 2011) is a rambling epic that follows a number of artists over three a long time. It is a tapestry of human connections and took a number of days simply to learn out loud – as Chia did along with his solid as a primary step in direction of making a script for the stage.

“The biggest challenge was how to put on a play that spans at least 30 years and create that space and time in a fixed physical space,” he says.

The ensuing play, which opened final yr’s Singapore International Festival of Arts, had Chia deploy his solid like calligraphic strokes over three hours, creating placing visible tableaus along with stellar appearing.

“I didn’t set out to do a play where all these art forms are represented, it just happened like that,” he says. “Or maybe we’ve always been doing this and didn’t notice.”

He credit then-festival director Ong Keng Sen – additionally nominated for Best Director this yr – for commissioning the play to open the humanities competition.

Art Studio can be nominated for Production of the Year and Best Ensemble, accolades which aren’t new to Chia, however which imply lots this yr. “It’s our first original work,” he explains.

Ong Keng Sen, 54

Nominated for: Trojan Women (Ong Keng Sen, National Theater of Korea and Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017)

Previous nominations: Best Director for the 2015 manufacturing The Incredible Adventures Of Border Crossers (Ong Keng Sen, Chris Lee, Reckless Ericka, Kaffe Matthews, Brian Gothong Tan, Francis Ng; Singapore International Festival of Arts; Singapour en France – le Festival) and Lear Dreaming (TheatreWorks, 2012). Best Script for Goh Lay Kuan & Kuo Pao Kun (TheatreWorks, 2012) and National Broadway Company (Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, 2012) Previous wins: Best Director for the 2006 manufacturing Geisha (TheatreWorks)

Ong is nominated for revisiting a Greek tragedy he staged in 1991 at a stone quarry in Singapore. Trojan Women was then primarily based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s French translation, executed with the French-Vietnamese conflict in thoughts.

Last yr’s Trojan Women, staged underneath the Singapore International Festival of Arts, then helmed by Ong, retained the story of captive girls ready to be shipped off as conflict prizes after the autumn of Troy. However, the staging put the tragedy within the context of the Korean peninsula, the place Japan’s World War II imperialism nonetheless casts a protracted shadow. It was impressed by changgeuk, a type of Korean opera, however returned to the origins of changgeuk’s forebear, pansori, the place a singer was accompanied by one specific instrument.

Trojan Women was first staged in South Korea and, on the time, Ong usually handed the Japanese embassy, the place a statue stands commemorating the ladies abused as intercourse slaves throughout World War II. There was controversy then over relocating that statue.

Ong recollects: “Every day I would meet these kids who were camping there to save the statue. It was getting frosty and they would put mittens on her, scarves on her. There was so much love.”

Cast and director usually broke down in tears throughout rehearsals. “Trojan Women has been performed by women in every major war as a memory that war should not be repeated, but unfortunately, it is,” Ong says.

• The winners of The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards might be introduced on March 27.

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