Preview: NUS Centre For the Arts Presents The Last Gap and The Golden Record 3.0
The Bicentennial celebrations never let up, and this year, the NUS Centre for the Arts (CFA) is commemorating it with two brand new FREE to attend productions from two exciting artists – award-winning theatre director Edith Podesta and up-and-coming artist Sean Cham.
Staged at NUS itself, with these programmes, the CFA sought to commission new works that dealt with concepts of identity that go beyond the bicentennial commemoration, reflecting on how our past has shaped who we are as a nation, and what we aspire to contribute to the world in the future.
In Sean Cham’s The Last Gap, the solo piece both written and performed by Cham traces the February 1942 battle that was fought on the former Pasir Panjang Ridge, now the NUS Kent Ridge campus. Guests will be guided through various sites that mark the final battle, before the Allied surrender and occupation by Japanese forces, inviting audiences to reconsider and reclaim their ‘war memory’, and its meaning for themselves.
Says Cham: “I am grateful to be part of CFA’s Bicentennial programming, and to be given the opportunity to create new work. The wonderful resources and support from the Centre For the Arts has allowed a fresh graduate like myself to experiment and push boundaries; to create and mould the piece to its fullest potential.”
Meanwhile, in Edith Podesta’s The Golden Record 3.0, the acclaimed director completes her trilogy of the verbatim plays with a series of voices in NUS and beyond to unpack our nation’s personality and determine what we should broadcast to the stars, imagining what we would say to aliens if we sent them audio clips in a single record, as inspired by the Voyages’ golden records sent into space carrying a microcosm of earth’s voices in the 1970s. This iteration follows the celebration of the successful inclusion of a quote, which was in the script from The Golden Record 2.0, from Cultural Medallion Recipient and NUS Indian Dance Artistic Director, Mrs Santha Bhaskar. This quote was engraved on a ‘mini golden record’ and was successfully launched to space on SpooQY-1 satellite by our partner, the Centre for Quantum Technologies.
Says Podesta: “This project is really about understanding identity. Attempting to distil the collective experiences and personalities of a nation forces you to look at the ideas we coalesce behind, where we differ, and how these voices come together as a unique population. NUS is an ideal environment to pose these questions. It is a meeting point between vast knowledge and experience, and youthful enthusiasm.”
Says CFA Director Sharon Tan: “Contributing to the Singapore Bicentennial Programme is a tremendous honour. As our nation’s story is unique and can be interpreted from so many perspectives, it is a fertile source of inspiration for our students and partners. The productions we have commissioned draw on events that have contributed to the Singapore we know today and, through research and inquiry, explore what that may mean for tomorrow.”
The Last Gap plays from 6th to 8th September 2019 at the UCC Dance Studio. Ticket are free with registration here
The Golden Record 3.0 plays on 18th October 2019 at the UCC Theatre. Tickets are free with registration here