National Language Class
22-24 January 2016, City Hall Chamber, National Gallery Singapore, 27 November - 6 December 2015, Installation, Opening Festival, National Gallery Singapore, 2 August 2015, Roving Performance, Istana, Singapore, March 2008, Nanyang Playhouse, National Institute of Education, Singapore, August 2008, Singapore Theatre Festival, Drama Centre, Singapore (Presented with Utama – Every Name in History is I by Ho Tzu Nyen & Four Malay Stories by Ming Wong), April 2006, Indonesian Dance Festival, Gedung Kesenian, Jakarta, Indonesia, December 2005, Bangkok Fringe Festival, November 2005, Installation, Opening of Drama Centre
“Fireworks in a black box… One felt enriched to have attended it.” - Life! The Straits Times
“To me, both play and painting show that we have come so far in our journey as a nation that we have forgotten where we came from.” - The Straits Times
National Language Class is inspired by Chua Mia Tee’s iconic 1959 painting of a group of Chinese students learning Malay. Interactive and inventive, the performance begins by recreating the scene shown in the painting. Gradually, it turns its focus to the bigger political picture the painting was a part of, and to the gap between the future it envisaged, and the one that took its place. In Malay, Mandarin and English, the audience participates in an event that shifts from the humorous to the menacing, the tender to the explosive. Together, they join with the performers to ask: What is the relationship between who you are and the language you speak? And what does it mean to take a new language as your own - or to give yours away?
Since 2005, the performance has taken on various forms: as an installation, roving performance and stage and site specific performances. The evolution of the performance is documented on the National Language Class website, which includes videos of the 2016 and 2008 performances, interviews and essays.
Programme of 2016 performance available here.
Cast: Noor Effendy Ibrahim, Tan Wan Sze, Director: Paul Rae, Production Manager/Assistant Director: Claire Devine, Lighting Design: Petrina Dawn Tan, Set Design: Kate Pocklington, Stage Manager:Rebecca Lee, Assistant Production Manager: Kaylene Tan, Researcher:Ella Parry-Davies, Photos: Bernie Ng
Interactive Installation (2015)
Cast: Adib Kosnan, Tan Wan Sze, Director and script: Paul Rae. Assistant Director and Production Manager: Claire Devine, Set Designer: Kate Pocklington, Stage Manager: Sahirra Saffit, Production Assistant: Rebecca Lee, Graphic Design: Jean Low
Roving Performance (2015)
Director: Claire Devine, Actors: Adib Kosnan, Tan Wan Sze, April Kong, KayKay Nizam, Yan Ying Sim, Zhein Mu'adhib, Stage Manager: Sahirrah Safit
Cast: Noor Effendy Ibrahim, Yeo Yann Yann, Director: Paul Rae, Lighting Design: Yeo Hon Beng, Costumes:Umi Kalsthom, Chalk Illustration:Mohd Fared Jainal, Stage Manager:Alvin Lim
Cast: Noor Effendy Ibrahim, Yeo Yann Yann, Director: Paul Rae, Photos:Yuen Chee Wai
Cast: Noor Effendy Ibrahim, Lam Yi-Shan, Director: Paul Rae
Concept and Design: Noor Effendy Ibrahim, Director: Noor Effendy Ibrahim, Performers: Mohd Fared Jainal, Kaylene Tan, Costumes: Umi Kalsthom