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Directed by Ong Keng Sen
Composed by Jonathan Mills
Set Design by Justin Hill
Lighting/Projections Design by Margie Medlin
Artistic Director of TheatreWorks in Singapore for the last fifteen years, Ong Keng Sen is an active contributor to the evolution of an Asian identity and aesthetic for contemporary performance in the 21st century. Keng Sen studied intercultural performance with the Performance Studies Department at Tisch Schools of the Arts, New York University, and holds a law degree.
His belief in the juxtaposition of different art forms and cultural styles has helped him create his own epic performance style of directing. In 1994, Keng Sen conceptualised his most important work, The Flying Circus Project, a laboratory project that brings together traditional and contemporary Asian artists from the fields of theatre, music, dance, video, visual arts and ritual who work together on projects that explore the concepts of reinvention, cultural negotiation and the politics of interculturalism.
From this experience, he initiated a new network for Asian artists to dialogue and engage with each other in 1999, known as the Arts Network Asia (ANA). The Arts Network Asia has held major regional Asian artist meetings in Shanghai (2000) and Hanoi (2002). In 2002, he embarked on a new Asian arts exchange project in Laos engaging with the local youths, elder artists and international Asian artists called the Continuum Asia Project (CAP).
Notable Keng Sen productions in Singapore include Destinies of Flowers in the Mirror, an interdisciplinary production that brought 300 audience members into a large fountain for each performance and the Descendants of the Admiral Eunuch, which explored political castration in Singapore. His "docu-performances” pieces that explore today’s Asia through history and confrontation of self include Broken Birds, Workhorse Afloat, and The Spirits Play—6 Movements in a Strange House (retitled Dreamtime in Morishita Studios for its November and December 2001 Tokyo stagings).
He directed the Tokyo premiere of Lear in 1997, which then went on to tour eight cities in Asia, Europe, and Australia, including a performance at Berlin’s Theatre der Welt 1999. His Shakespeare-inspired trilogy include Desdemona premiering at the Adelaide Festival, Australia in 2000 and Search:Hamlet (Denmark, 2002) at the Kronbourg Castle in Elsinore, and Copenhagen for the Asia-Europe Forum.
Directing credits in the United States include The Silver River (Spoleto Festival, Charleston, 2000; New Music Theatre Festival, Philadelphia, 2001, Singapore 2001) for The Lincoln Center Festival in New York City in July 2002; A Language of Their Own, which he directed at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival, 1995), and The Continuum: Beyond the Killing Fields, a docu-performance on a 70 year old classical dancer, Em Theay, from Cambodia who survived the mass killings of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge (International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, 2001; Singapore, 2001; Berlin 2002, Vienna 2003 and Rotterdam 2003).
In 2003, Keng Sen created a work that premiered in Vienna in April. It is entitled The Myths of Memory, which included The Continuum; and a new piece with Austrian and German performers based on the ongoing Milosevic trails. He developed The Global Soul – The Buddha Project which premiered in June 2003 in Berlin and Singapore. The Global Soul is a meditation about travel - time travel, travels in our imagination, travels in our heart, travels to find the meaning of life, travel in our memory, normal travel for business, for leisure. It embraces the tales of Buddha, jet lag, airports, global currency, butoh, liyuan opera, Korean court songs and a contemporary soundscape. The production also completed its European tour to Zurich and Rotterdam recently.
Keng Sen is curator and co-artistic director of In Transit, an annual three-week festival in Berlin that debuted in June 2002. The Flying Circus Project made its first European appearance at the festival. A Fulbright Scholar, he was recently artist-in-residence at the New York University Asian Pacific and American Studies Programme/Institute. In addition, he serves on the International Council of The Asia Society of New York and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Japan Foundation, the British Council, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Berlin and the Asian Cultural Council (New York).
He is the first Singapore artist to have received both the Young
Artist Award (1992) and the Cultural Medallion Award (2003) for
Jonathan Mills is a prominent Australian composer and Artistic Director. He studied composition with Peter Sculthorpe in Sydney and piano and composition with Lidia Arcuri-Baldecchi in Italy.
He is one of Australia’s most experienced festival directors. He has been Artistic Director of the Blue Mountains Festival from 1988 to 1990. He was Artistic Adviser to the 1995 and 1997 Brisbane Biennial International Music Festival. Recently he was Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival in 2000 and 2001 as well as Director of the Federation Festival for the celebrations of the Centenary of the Federation of Australia, in May 2001 and Director of Melbourne’s Millennium Eve on 31 December 1999.
Between 1992 and 1997 he was Composer-in-Residence and Research Fellow in Environmental Acoustics at RMIT University where he established the Australasian Soundscape Project.
He is regularly commissioned by major festivals, orchestras and companies in Australia and increasingly in Europe and the UK. His recent works include; Ethereal Eye, an electro-acoustic dance opera based on the ideas and architectural schemes of Walter Burley & Marion Mahoney Griffin (the architects who won the competition to design Canberra), commissioned by the 1996 Adelaide Festival; The Ghost Wife, a chamber opera based on a short story by Barbara Baynton, with libretto by Dorothy Porter, co-commissioned by the 1999 Melbourne, 2000 Adelaide and 2001 Sydney Festivals. It received its UK premiere at the Barbican Centre, London as part of BITE:02 in November 2002; and Sandakan Threnody for solo tenor, chorus and orchestra, for the Adelaide Chamber Singers and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
In 2002 he was Composer-in-Residence for the Bundanon Trust where he completed another chamber opera The Eternity Man, with Dorothy Porter for the Genesis Foundation, Almeida Opera and the Aldeburgh Festival. It is based on the life of Arthur Stace, the lone eccentric who wrote the word “Eternity” on the pavements of Sydney. It was premiered in London in July 2003.
Future projects include a large-scale, dance-opera with Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu and the Centre Nationale Choregraphique de Creteil, for the Chaillot Theatre in Paris; and a concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra for Duo Sol, Miki Tsunoda (violin) and Caroline Almonte (piano), a joint commission of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta.
From 1998 to 2003, Jonathan Mills was Adjunct Professor in Environmental Design at RMIT University. He is a former commissioner of the Australian Heritage Commission and member of the Australian International Cultural Council.
Following the success of the Alfred Deakin Federation Lectures as part of the Federation Festival, and at the invitation of the Victorian Government, Jonathan Mills will direct another series of Deakin lectures in 2005.
Justin Hill, scenographer and architect, is based in Singapore, where he is a partner of Kerry Hill Architects and a board director of TheatreWorks. He studied architecture at the University of Adelaide graduating with honours in 1979. During his studies, he was involved widely in stage and theatre design and has since worked extensively in opera, musical theatre, and drama in both Asia and Australia.
He established his reputation in Singapore in 1982 by designing The Samseng and The Chettiars’ Daughter, a highly successful musical. Directed by Australian director John Tasker and based on The Threepenny Opera, the production brought together many well-known Singaporean theatre practitioners in what was to be one of the first locally written musicals in the country.
In 1985, he helped found TheatreWorks, the pioneering professional
theatre company, and became resident stage designer. Working with
founding artistic director Lim Siauw Chong and later Ong Keng Sen,
he designed more than 20 productions for TheatreWorks. He designs
for the company’s Flying Circus Project, a 6-cycle of three
major Asian works directed by Ong Ken Sen, have been seen in many
countries, with Lear premiering in Tokyo and touring Japan in 1998
before making the round of festival in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta,
Berlin, Copenhagen and Perth in 1999. Desdemona, the second production
in the cycle, premiered at the Adelaide Festival in 2000, and later
toured Singapore, with studio tours to Yokohoma and Munich. 2002
saw him designing for Search:Hamlet, which premiered at the Kronborg
Castle, Elsinore for the Kopenhagen International Theatre festival,
then moved to Betty Nansen Theatre at Copenhagen. His last project
was The Global Soul – The Buddha Project, A TheatreWorks Production
that premiered at the 2003 Singapore Arts Festival.
Studied Visual Arts, in Sydney, lighting design at the Yale School of Drama (1989), scenography at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London (1991), and Advanced Computer Applications for Theatre Design at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London (1992). She received an MA in Interior Design and served on the faculty of Environmental Design and Construction at the Royal Institute of Technology in Melbourne (1998). In addition to working in the fields of film, lighting and projection design, she is a media artist and develops film and video installations exploring the interrelations of dance and the moving image.
Recently she has worked with Company in Space, on The Light Room as the light and Image designer and with Ros Warby as lighting and projection designer for her production of Solos. She has presented a number of film and video installations including Elasticity and Volume, Estate and Mobility in an Artificial City. She was Artist in Residence at the ZKM Institute for Visual Media Karlsruhe (1999 – 2001) and at Seoul Arts Center, The Republic of Korea (1998) and Malaysia (1999). Medlin has received grants from Australia council, Arts Victoria, Arts Victoria Commission and New Media Arts Fund. She was also a 2002 recipient of the John Truscott Foundation Award for Design (Aus).
Sound Design by
Steve (Stelios) Adam has harboured a long-term fascination with music, sound and its associated technologies. After studying electronics and establishing a career in broadcasting, he returned to study, pursuing composition and computer music at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
Steve is frequently involved in live and studio-based recording projects and has been involved in the production of numerous recordings for commercial release. As a sound designer and composer he has created sound and music works for a variety of media and live productions and performed with instrumentalists, ensembles, choirs and interactive music systems of his own design, most recently creating a recorded work to accompany the RAAF aerobatic team The Roulettes (2003), and presenting interactive music works at the Melbourne Improvised Music Festival and also with the contemporary music group re-sound (2004).
His electro-acoustic tape works have been broadcast nationally
and performed in Europe, the US and Asia. He has taught music composition
and technology at various institutions in Australia and in 1995
he established the new programs and technical facilities in composition
and music technology at Monash University, where he has recently
returned as a PhD candidate in music composition.
Collaborative Video Artist
Graduated from LaSalle SIA College of the Arts with a diploma in Fine arts (new media arts), Choy Ka Fai is a multi-disciplinary artist who works with video installation, short-films and theatrical performances. Video has always been his strong point of collaboration and basis of experimentation.
He was awarded the LaSalle-SIA scholarship in 2002, and since his early theater productions with FUNdaMENTAL multi-disciplinary, he had presented many inter-disciplinary works with visual artist, dancer and musician .He had presented his first major video installation “MISFIT’ in 2003 and also others video installations and collaborations with Simon Fisher Tuner (UK) in ‘Borderless’ (2003), The Necessary Stage in ‘OH! MAN’ (2003), Kumar’s ‘Not Guilty’ (2004).
As the core artistic member of local multi-disciplinary artists collective Kill Your Television (KYTV), he was actively involved in the direction and multi-media designs for KYTV’s performances, short films and exhibitions. Recently he had directed and performed in KYTV’s multi-media performance - Design For Death (2004), presented by the Esplanade creative development program.