Sunday, August 08, 2010

國文

羅國文,平台計劃藝術總監。本土青壯派劇場導演、演員、舞臺燈光設計師以及戲劇訓練指導導師,曾任教於新紀元學院戲劇與影像系,手集團全職鼓手肢體和創意開發導師。1993年畢業於馬來西亞藝術學院戲劇系。曾獲第三屆金馬崙藝術大獎「最佳導演」和「最佳中文劇本」獎、第五屆金馬侖藝術大獎舞蹈組「最佳燈光」設計獎以及第六屆金馬侖藝術大獎劇場組「最佳燈光」設計獎、第七屆金馬侖藝術大獎戲劇組「最佳導演」和「最佳燈光」設計獎以及音樂劇組「最佳舞台設計」獎2005年創立「平台計劃」,同年獲美國「亞州文化協會」獎學金赴美國遊學半年,也曾赴日本、韓國、印度、菲律賓、新加坡及德國等地參與演出和交流。導演作品包括:《遊戲時間》、《[思想+自分]報告》、《城市空想》、《動物農莊》等。


*** 國際交流 ***
2010
馬來西亞平台計劃劇團創作成果示範演出 |
THE STUDIO | 城失空想 | 新加破濱海藝術中心呈現

2008
THE STUDIO | 擊破:平台劇場合作交流計劃 ︱新加破濱海藝術中心呈現

亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 擊破:平台劇場合作交流計劃 東京世田谷劇場 舉辦

2007
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 ︱東京世田谷劇場 舉辦

2006

紐約劇場交流計劃 ︱International Theatre WOW Company | Feb

2005
榮獲美國[亞州文化協會] 獎學金往紐約遊學半年 | Sept
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 #6 日本 | 東京世田谷劇場 舉辦 | Jan to Mar

2004
[曼谷戲劇節] | 演出工作坊,講談會 | Nov
泰國藝術與文化之旅程交流計劃 <旅程> | 臨時空間 | Nov
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 #5 菲律賓 | Setagaya Public Theatre | Oct
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 #4 東京 | 東京世田谷劇場 舉辦 | Mar

2003
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 #3 群馬縣﹐日本 | 東京世田谷劇場 舉辦 | Oct
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 #2 巴厘島 | 東京世田谷劇場 舉辦 | June
亞洲當代劇場交流計劃 #1 東京 | 東京世田谷劇場 舉辦 | Feb

2002
第四屆肢體劇場節演出交流計劃 | "Territory" | Store House, Tokyo | Nov

2001
第三屆肢體劇場節 東京 | "aku" | Store House, Tokyo | Nov

2000
菲律賓剧场交流計劃 | "士兵的故事 II" | ACPC | May to June

1999
鬼藝術節 德國 | "FAMILY" | Five Arts Centre(演员)| Aug

1998
第二屆國際無語言表演藝術節 印度 | "aku" | Dec
第二屆亞洲遇見亞洲 東京 | "aku" | DA.M + Store House | Nov
第八屆亞細亞單人劇祭 馬來西亞 (策劃人之一) | 單單表演工程 | Aug
第八屆亞細亞單人劇祭 馬來西亞 | "三代" (燈光設計) | 單單表演工程 | Aug

1997
第二屆公州亞細亞單人劇祭 韓國 | "aku"(自導自演) | 單單表演工程 | Aug

1996
第七屆亞細亞單人劇祭 韓國 | "三代" (舞監/燈光設計) | 單單表演工程 | Oct

1995
第六屆亞細亞單人劇祭 日本 | "三代" (舞監/燈光設計) | 單單表演工程 | Sept


*** 導演作品 ***


2010
《熱帶語林》| 新紀元學院
《城失空想》受邀於新加坡濱海藝術中心演出
《城失空想》吉隆坡從演

2009
惑:平台劇場合作交流計劃/小丑 |Annexe Gallery
廁所 |平台計劃 ︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2.

2008

動物農莊 | 平台計劃 ︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2.
安蒂崗尼 | 新紀元學院

2007
城失空想 | 平台計劃 ︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2.
報告.祿 | 新紀元學院
WATER CLOSET | WITHIN WITHOUT – 2 sides revealed | 吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2.

2006

安蒂崗妮 912‘06戏剧培训计划结业演出 | 十月
[思想+自分]报告 击破:平台剧场交流计划2006 | 八月
Project 24 (workshop presentation) 紐約劇場交流計劃 | 二月

2005
讀劇 One Night Stand, S3 | 五月
HOTEL GRAND ASIA 集体创作 (劇場合作交流計劃﹐日本東京) | 三月

2004
荷珠新配 沙勞越古晉﹐蟬劇團 | 五月
安蒂崗妮 工作坊演出呈現 | 四月
FLY ME TO THE MOON (workshop presentation) 劇場國際交流計劃﹐日本東京 | 三月

2003
GOD CAN SEE (workshop presentation) | 劇場國際交流計劃﹐日本 | 十月
**一個沒有名字的演出 榮獲第三屆金馬侖藝術獎最佳導演 ︱五月
aku III 參加亞洲當代劇場交流計劃﹐日本 ︱二月

2001
Shall We… Off? 參加單單迷你戲劇節﹐吉隆坡 ︱十二月
Shall We … Off? 參加日本肢體劇場戲劇節 |十一月
aku II: ang tau mui 吉隆坡首演| 一月

1998
aku 參加印度第二屆國際無語言表演藝術節 |十二月
一份沒有語言的報告 參加Apa-apa藝術節﹐We Have Ten Minute | 十月
aku 亞洲遇見亞洲戲劇節﹐日本 |九月

1997
aku 吉隆坡演出| 九月
aku 第二届公州亞細亞單人劇祭﹐韓國 | 八月
關係 馬來西亞博特拉大學
囚犯 半山巴監獄演出

1996
殘酷 | 戶外表演
當歸方程式 联合编导 |93國慶戲劇節﹐吉隆坡
茶館 |馬來西亞藝術學院
遊戲小巷 |馬來西亞藝術學院
開玩笑 |馬來西亞藝術學院

*** 燈光設計 ***


2010
《隨舞點最》慈善舞展舞稻)︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas 1
《霸王別姬之殉道者的樂章》舞稻)武舞藝術坊|新山藝術節演出
《城失空想》 (劇場表演)平台計劃|新加坡濱海藝術中心
《城失空想》 (劇場表演)平台計劃|吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2

2009
廁所 |平台計劃 ︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2.

2008
動物農莊 (劇場表演)︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2
安蒂崗尼 (劇場表演)| 新紀元學院黑箱劇場
AIRCON (劇場表演) | The Instant Café Theatre @ 吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2
[思想+自分]报告 (劇場表演)| The Actors Studio, Green Hall, Penang
擊破:平台劇場合作交流計劃 (劇場表演)︱新加破濱海藝術中心黑箱劇場
擊破:平台劇場合作交流計劃 (劇場表演)Theatre TRAM, Tokyo

2007
城失空想 (劇場表演)︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2.
PINK (舞踏) | Taro Dance Theatre @ The Annexe, Central Market
人民公敵 (劇場表演)︱吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2
報告.祿 (劇場表演)| 新紀元學院黑箱劇場
FOLDINGS DANCE | Hornland Dance Theatre at Sibu Civic Centre
WITHIN WITHOUT THEATRE | (6 monologues) 吉隆破表演藝術中心 pentas2
慈禧:詛咒紫禁城 舞稻)寿板舞团 @ Central Market - Annex

2005
遊戲時間 (劇場表演)平台計劃 @ KLPac, Pentas 2
追上枝頭變鳳凰(舞蹈)寿板舞团 @ KLPac-Pentas 2

2004
Do You Hear The People Sing? (音樂劇精曲晚會) @ Panggung Bandaraya
Emily Of Emerald Hill (單人劇)@ Panggung Bandaraya
The Illusion (戲劇) @ Sunway Collage

2003
林黛絕代星海女皇 (演唱會) @ Federal Hotel Ballroom
Emily of Emerald Hill(單人劇)@ 新加坡演出
**一個沒有名字的演出(劇場表演)@ TAS Box
aku III(劇場表演)@ 亞洲當代劇場交流計劃﹐東京

2002
Emily of Emerald Hill (單人劇) record breaking 100th performance @ TAS Bangsar
Emily of Emerald Hill (單人劇)@ 新加坡演出
紅蛋男孩(兒童劇場)@ 古晉蟬劇團
惠娘要讀書(兒童劇場)@ 麻坡演出
Dance Works & Friends(舞蹈)
歌女隨想曲 (演唱會) @ TAS Bangsar
Emily of Emerald Hill(單人劇)@ 檳城演出
南洋春風吹﹐老歌迎新年(演唱會)@ 檳城 Old China Café

2001
重疊(劇場表演)单单表演工程 @ 單單迷你戲劇節
Shall We … Off? (劇場表演)@ 單單迷你戲劇節
Shall We … Off? (劇場表演)@ 日本肢體劇場節
石頭舞團 (舞蹈)@ 吉蘭丹演出
aku II : ang tau mui (劇場表演)@ TAS Box

2000
好老歌(演唱會)@ TAS Bangsar
貓城物語(劇場表演)@ 古晉蟬劇團
Silk Road, Purity Night (舞蹈)@ 檳城

1999
風雲祭(綜合表演)@ 國家劇院
花蹤之舞(舞蹈)陈清水舞团
流失的記憶(舞蹈)@ 石頭舞團

1998
aku(單人劇)@ 印度國際無語言表演藝術節
流失的記憶及短詩兩首(舞蹈)@ 印度國際無語言表演藝術節
aku (單人劇) @ 亞洲遇見亞洲戲劇節﹐東京
流失的記憶(舞蹈)石頭舞團 @吉隆坡舞蹈節 98’

1997
三代(單人劇)单单表演工程 @ Kuala Lumpur

1996
三代(單人劇)单单表演工程 @ 亞細亞單人劇祭﹐韓國
玫瑰事跡 (戲劇)单单表演工程 @ MATIC Hall
殘酷(户外劇場表演@ 912 Jalan Imnbi

1995
Kik Kik Kok Kok兒童舞展95’ (兒童舞蹈)图腾多层演艺
三代 (單人劇)单单表演工程 @ 亞細亞單人劇祭﹐日本
馬中華族古典舞 (舞蹈)图腾多层演艺 @ Civil Hall
第舞度空間(舞蹈)广东会馆 @ Civil Hall
三個小孩(戲劇)图腾多层演艺 @ MATIC Hall

1994
滿江紅(戲劇)剧艺研究会 @ MCA
劃臉(舞蹈)@ Civil Hall
Kik Kik Kok Kok兒童舞展94’ (兒童舞蹈) 图腾多层演艺
隨舞(舞蹈)@ 檳城舞蹈车站

1993
La La Li Tang Pong(舞蹈)槟城舞蹈车站 @ Civil Hall

1992
實驗舞展(舞蹈)广西会馆

kokm@n

kokm@n

Artistic Director of Pentas Project, Kok Man, is an established theatre director, actor, lighting designer and theatre lecturer. Graduated from the Malaysia Institute of the Arts in 1993, Kok Man is part time lecturer in the Drama and Visuals Department, New Era College. He is also the creativity and body development instructor for Hands Percussions’ full time drummers. Since his performance of "aku" in 1997, he has traveled to Japan, Korea, India and Singapore bringing and sharing his work with people in these different continents. He was the winner for “Best Director” and “Best Chinese Script” in the 2003 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards for “Untitled”. In 2005, Kok Man established Pentas Project, and he went to New York for six (6) months as he was awarded a fellowship from the “Asian Cultural Council”. In 2006, he won “Best Lighting Design” for “Phoenix Rises” in the Dance Category in the 5th BOH Cameronian Arts Award. In 2007, he won “Best Lighting Design” for “The Lost and the Ecliptic” at the theatre category in the 6th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards. In 2008, he won "Best Director" for , "Best Lighting" for in Theatre Category and "Best Set Design" for together with Caecar Chong in Musical Theatre Category in the 7th BOH Cameronian Arts Award.


International Event

2010
The Neighbor Next Door : Malaysia Thailand Theatre Collaboration Project at Thailand Makhampom, supported by Asian Cultural Council & Makhampom Foundation

THE STUDIOS, Belonging | The Lost & The Ecliptic at Esplanade Theatre Studio, Singapore

2008
THE STUDIOS | Break-ing : Pentas Theatre Collaboration Project | April at Esplanade Theatre Studio, Singapore

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THAETRE PROJECT /
Break-ing : Pentas Theatre Collaboration Project | February at Theatre TRAM, Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo

2007
ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT at Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo

2006
THE MIGRATION PROJECT : PROJECT 24 | February, Theatre Collaboration Project with International WOW Company at New York City

2005
AWARDED A FELLOWSHIP FROM " Asian Cultural Council" | September, 6 months at New York

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT #6 | January to March, at Yamaguchi and Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo

BANGKOK THEATRE FESTIVAL | November, Workshop and Talk Sharing at Bangkok, Thailand

2004
THAI ARTS & CULTURE DISCOVERING AND EXCHANGE PROJECT | November, at Bangkok and ChiangMai / organised by Zero Space

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT #5 | October, at Cultural Center of The Philippines (CCP) / organized by Setagaya Public Theatre

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT #4 | March, organized by Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo

2003
ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT #3 | October, at Kawaba, Gunma, Japan / organized by Setagaya Public Theatre

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT #2 | June, at Bali Purnati Center for The Arts, Indonesia / organized by Setagaya Public Theatre

ASIAN CONTEMPORARY THEATRE PROJECT #1 | February, at Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo

2002
THE 4TH PHYSICAL THEATER FESTIVAL, TOKYO | "Territory" | November, Multi-cultural Exchange Project with Store House Company (actor)

2001
THE 3RD PHYSICAL THEATER FESTIVAL, TOKYO| "Shall We...Off?" | November, at Store House, Tokyo (co-director & lighting designer)

2000
MULTI-CULTURE PROJECT, PHILIPPINES | "The Soldier's Tale II" | May to June, ACPC Philippines

1999
FESTIVAL DER GEISTER, BERLIN | "Family" | August, presented by Five Arts Centre, directed by krishen jit (actor)

1998
THE 2ND INTERNATIONAL NON-VERBAL ARTS FESTIVAL, INDIA | "aku" | December, at Loka Sanskriti Bhawan Sodepur, West Bengal, India

THE 2ND ASIA MEETS ASIA 98’, JAPAN | "aku" | November, at Store House, Tokyo

THE 8TH ASIAN MONODRAMA FESTIVAL , MALAYSIA | August, Dan Dan Theatre Production

1997
THE 2ND KONGJU ASIAN MONODRAMA FESTIVAL, KOREA | "aku" | August, Dan Dan Theatre Production

1996
THE 7TH ASIAN MONODRAMA FESTIVAL, KOREA | "Generations" | October, Dan Dan Theatre Production ( stage manager & lighting design)

1995
THE 6TH ASIAN MONODRAMA FESTIVAL, JAPAN | "Generations" | September, Dan Dan Theatre Production ( stage manager & lighting design)


Directed Works

2011
A Midsummer Night's Dream | New Era College
A Modern Woman Called Ang Tau Mui | Woman 100 Festival

2010
Life | Malaysian + Thai Theatre Artist Theatre Collaboration Project
The Lost & The Ecliptic re-stage in kuala lumpur and invited to performed at Esplanade Theatre Singapore

2009
HOPE-LESS | Delusions:Pentas Theatre Collaboration 2009
TOILET | Pentas Project Theatre Production, KLPac, pentas 2
LIGHT/THOUGHTS | The Light Show exhibition, Annexe Gallery

2008
ANIMAL FARM | Pentas Project annual production, KLPac, pentas 2.
ANTIGONE | New Era College Production

2007
THE LOST AND THE ECLIPTIC | Pentas Project annual production, KLPac, pentas2.
LOCKED REPOT | New Era College Production
WATER CLOSET | WITHIN WITHOUT – 2 sides revealed | presented by KLpac

2006
ANTIGONE | 912 acting workshop final production
REPOT [MIND+MINE] | Break-ing : Pentas Theatre Collaboration Project 2006
PROJECT 24 | Theatre Collaboration Project in New York City

2005
PLAY TIME | presented by KLPac, a production by Pentas Project
READING PERFORMANCE | One Night Stand Serious at S3
HOTEL GRAND ASIA COLLABORATION WORK | Theatre Collaboration Project in Tokyo, Japan

2004
HE ZHU NEW MATCH | Cicada Theatre, Kuching, Sarawak
ANTIGONE | (workshop presentation) @ Zero Space
FLY ME TO THE MOON | (workshop presentation) Theatre Collaboration Project in Tokyo, Japan

2003
GOD CAN SEE | (workshop presentation) Theatre Collaboration Project in Japan
** UNTITLED | won the Best Director in the 3rd BOH Cameronian Arts Awards
AKU III | Asian Contemporary Theatre Collaboration Project the 1st Stage, Tokyo

2001
SHALL WE... OFF? | Dan Dan Mini Theatre Fest, Kuala Lumpur + The 4th Physical Theatre Festival, Tokyo
AKU II : ANG TAU MUI | The Actors Studio Box

1998
AKU | The 2nd International Non-verbal Arts Festival, India
SATU REPOT TANPA PERKATAAN | We Have Ten Minutes, APA APA (Arts Festival in KL)
AKU | The 2nd Asia meets Asia 98’, Japan at Store House, Tokyo

1997
AKU | at kuala lumpur and The 2ndKongju Asian Monodrama Festival, Korea
RELATION | University Putra Malaysia
PRISONERS | at Pudu Jail

1996
CRUEL | outdoor performance at No 9 Off Jalan Imbi & Johor

1993
DANG GUI FORMULA | (co-direct) @ Pesta Drama ’93, MATIC Hall

1992
TEA HOUSE | MIA Small Theatre, Jalan Imbi
A JOKE | MIA Small Theatre, Jalan Imbi


Awards

2008
Won BEST DIRECTOR (theatre category) for Animal Farm
at The 7th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
Won BEST LIGHTING (theatre category) for Aircon
at The 7th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
Won BEST SET DESIGN together with Caecar Chong (musical theatre category) for Ismail
at The Last Days at The 7th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
Nominated BEST LIGHTING (theatre category) for Animal Farm
at The 7th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

2007
Won BEST LIGHTING (theatre category) for The Lost and The Ecliptic
at The 6th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
Nomonated BEST DIRECTOR (theatre category) for The Lost and The Ecliptic
at The 6th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

2006
Won BEST LIGHTING (dance category) for The Pheonix Rises
at The 5th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

2005
Awarded a fellowship from the "Asian Cultural Council"
6 months at New York City
Nominated BEST DIRECTOR (theatre category) for Play Time
at The 5th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

2003
Won BEST DIRECTOR (theatre category) for the Untitled
at The 2nd BOH Cameronian Arts Awards

Lighting Design Works

2010
Very Idol Concert |
Halo Forest | KLPAC, pentas 1
Malaysia Charity Dance Gala at KLPAC, Pentas 1
Farewell My Concubine Dance | The 7th JB Arts Festival, Lee Wushu Arts
The Lost and The Ecliptic THEATRE | re-stage at KLPAC Pentas 2 and Esplanade Theatre Singapore

2008
ANIMAL FARM THEATRE | Pentas Project @ KLPac, pentas2
ANTIGONE THEATRE | New Era College Black Box Theatre
AIRCON THEATRE | The Instant Café Theatre @ KLPac, pentas2
REPOT [MIND+MINE] THEATRE | The Actors Studio, Green Hall, Penang
BREAK-ING THEATRE | Esplanade Theatre Studio, Singapore
BREAK-ING THEATRE | Theatre TRAM, Tokyo

2007
THE LOST AND THE ECLIPTIC THEATRE | Pentas Project @ KLPac, pentas2
PINK BUTOH | Taro Dance Theatre @ The Annexe, Central Market
THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE THEATRE | KLPac production @ KLPac, Pentas 2
LOCKED REPOT THEATRE | New Era College Black Box Theatre
FOLDINGS DANCE | Hornland Dance Theatre at Sibu Civic Centre
WITHIN WITHOUT THEATRE | (6 monologues) KLpac @ KLpac, pentas 2
CURSE OF THE FORBIDDEN PALACE DANCE | Nyoba Kan @ The Annexe, Central Market

2005
PLAY TIME THEATRE | KLPac Pentas 2
PHOENIX RISES DANCE | KLPac Pentas 2

2004
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? Music | Panggung Bandaraya
EMILY OF EMERALD HILL Monoloque | Panggung Bandaraya
THE ILLUSION THEATRE | Sunway Collage

2003
LIN DAI ~ THE STAR OF STAR CONCERT | Federal Hotel Ballroom
EMILY OF EMERALD HILL Monoloque | Singapore
** UNTITLED THEATRE | TAS Box
AKU III THEATRE | Theatre Tram, Tokyo

2002
EMILY OF EMERALD HILL Monoloque | (record breaking 100th performance) TAS Bangsar
EMILY OF EMERALD HILL Monoloque | Singapore
RED EGG CHILD CHILDREN THEATRE | Kuching, Sarawak
NYONYA HUI NIANG GOES TO SCHOLL CHILDREN THEATRE | Muar
DANCE WORKS & FRIENDS DANCE
RHAPSODY OF A SONGBIRD MINI CONCERT | TAS Bangsar
EMILY OF EMERALD HILL Monoloque | Penang
SONG BORNE BY THE WINDS MINI CONCERT | Old China Café

2001
OVERLAPPED THEATRE | Dan Dan Mini Theatre Fest
SHALL WE...OFF? THEATRE | Dan Dan Mini Theatre Fest and The 4th Physical Theatre Fest, Japan
BATU DANCE THEATRE DANCE | Kelantan
AKU II : ANG TAU MUI THEATRE | TAS Box

2000
OH, OLD TUNES GREATEST CHINESE LOVE SONG MINI CONCERT | TAS Bangsar
MAO CHENG WU YU THEATRE | Kuching, Sarawak
SILK ROAD, PURITY NIGHT DANCE | Penang

1999
BLOOMING DANCE & MUSIC | Istana Budaya
HUA ZONG ZHI WU DANCE
LOST MEMORY DANCE

1998
AKU MONODRAMA | The 2nd International Non-verbal Arts Fest, India
LOST MEMORY & SHORT POET DANCE | The 2nd International Non-verbal Arts Fest, India
AKU MONODRAMA | Asia meets Asia, Japan
LOST MEMORY DANCE | Tari 98’Kuala Lumpur

1997
GENERATIONS MONODRAMA | Kuala Lumpur

1996
GENERATIONS MONODRAMA | Korea
THE CENTURY OF LOVE THEATRE | MATIC
CRUEL THEATRE | Outdoor Performance

1995
KIKI KIK KOK KOK CHILDREN DANCE SHOW 95’ DANCE
GENERATIONS MONODRAMA |Monodrama Fest, Japan
CHINESE CLASSICAL DANCE DANCE | Civil Hall
DI WU DU KONG JIAN DANCE | Civil Hall
THREE CHILDREN THEATRE | MATIC

1994
MAN JIANG HONG THEATRE
PRINTED FACE DANCE
KIK KIK KOK KOK CHILDREN DANCE SHOW 94’ DANCE
SUI WU DANCE | Penang

1993
LA LA LI TANG PONG DANCE | Civil Hall

1992
EXPERIMENTAL DANCE SHOWCASE DANCE

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

staging asia

Staging Asia
By Sumit Mandal

Japan is flung clear across the grounds, to the edge of the forest.The scene: A mountain retreat north of Tokyo, October 2003. A group of theatre practitioners meets for the third time in an experimental collaboration.It all began in Tokyo in February the same year when 16 accomplished directors from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan and the US were brought together by the Setagaya Public Theatre and the Japan Foundation for the first workshop of the Asian Contemporary Theatre Collaboration Project, themed “The Lohan Journey: Creating New Fictions of Asia.” Initially, they showed off the best of their creative wares. Things were different during the second meeting in Bali. No longer burdened by the need to prove themselves, the directors talked with each other for the first time in the verdant isolation of the Bali Purnati arts centre. If “collaboration is communication,” as Loh Kok Man would assert to the group on many an occasion, then the project began in earnest at this juncture.The group would have three more meetings lasting several weeks each, towards creating a piece of theatre: in Kawaba and Tokyo, in Japan, and Makiling in the Philippines. I was drawn to the project from my very first encounter with the directors on a humid evening in Bali, standing in for an absent Indonesian-English interpreter. There was something special about the group, its politics, and the journey upon which it had embarked.The directors faced squarely the challenges of a seemingly impossible project: cultural strangers, brought together to make theatre – and not through the tried and tested formula of a designated director, script and rehearsals. Instead, they developed the leadership, working processes, and substance of their performance through intensive collaboration over the course of a relatively long two years; one that explored the creation of a community beyond national boundaries. Rather than simply assigning to each other roles specific to their nationalities, the directors explored individual strengths within the transnational space which they constituted.

It was in Kawaba that Japan was thrown out of the loop. The scene was part of “International Land” directed by Ivan Heng, one of 11 workshop pieces produced at the mountain retreat. Airports, arrival and departure lounges, immigration counters – sites so common to worldwide travel and moments in transcontinental journeys were explored and vividly invoked outdoors by the performers.When several of the Southeast Asians decided to lay out a map of the region to indicate their respective countries, they did so with their shoes. The actors fiddled excitedly with the shoe-map as they crafted their region, and when it appeared to have been completed, Japan hovered only slightly above Southeast Asia – just before Nam Ron picked up "Japan" and hurled it far away with much gusto. To its rightful position, he claimed. Tatsuo Kaneshita, as “Japan”, ran off to the edge of the forest to stand by his newly repositioned shoe, lonely and bemused in the shade of the trees. Conflicts, challenges and differences in aesthetics, creative styles, cultures and nationalities surfaced, and they were worked out in scenes such as this. Nam Ron’s improvised move signified how distant Japan was from Southeast Asia not only in physical, but cultural, political and economic terms. The collaboration might have been initiated and funded by Japanese organisations, but the inequalities between Japan and Southeast Asia were faced squarely. The collaboration not only allowed for, but encouraged creative tensions – a testament to its success.

From Bali to Makiling, the group did not merely celebrate the wonderful diversity in their midst but also faced the real difficulties of inter-cultural collaboration boldly and, for the most part, in good form. The workshop experiments were open-ended in both form and content. The pieces performed ranged from the small and personal, invoking a sacred quality even, to large multifocus works. After such sharing of experiences, the group decided to split into three subgroups at the Makiling workshop, focusing on the themes of identity, migration, and terrorism. Language was one of the primary challenges. The performers spoke Mandarin, Tagalog, Indonesian and Malay, Javanese, Thai, Japanese, and English, not to mention numerous dialects as well as varieties of English. No single language adequately served as the common one. How then would they produce a piece of work collaboratively? Would it be possible to use multiple languages? Would this feel natural on stage? Inter-cultural theatre often avoids the challenge of language by focusing on movement and image, but this collaboration made a concerted effort to work with many languages and the different ways of using them. At least eight were experimented with, including various forms of translation. One involved a piece improvised in Kawaba where two actors speak their own languages, albeit within a context which makes the multi-lingual dialogue intelligible. Herbert Go plays a psychiatrist speaking English in what seems to be a mock German accent, though much of it comes out as a steady, compelling gibberish. Rochmad Tono is the patient, speaking mostly in Indonesian with a smattering of English. In much the high-minded manner English speakers can adopt, the psychiatrist refuses to entertain the patient in any language other than English – never mind his own jarring accent. “Speak in Heenglish,” he insists repeatedly to the patient, becoming almost feverish when the latter can only respond in Indonesian. The verbal assault becomes quite oppressive for the extremely exasperated patient, who inevitably explodes in anger: “I paid you! Can’t you speak in Indonesian?!” He shouts in English. The patient rebels against the psychiatrist’s abuse and the conceit of English as the universal language. The scene nicely renders not only the harmony or richness of multilingual (and often multi-ethnic) interactions, but also the conflict and frustration that can emerge when the conversation is not between equals or results in incomprehension or miscommunication

What about claims to representing Asia in the project’s name? An answer may be found in the presence of Josh Fox, a collaborator who from his spoken English and mannerisms is recognisably American. Why was he there? Did he not make the production less Asian? The response to the first question is simple. Josh was part of the group because he had done considerable work in inter-cultural theatre.And if we should believe that the presence of Fox made the production less Asian, did the rest of the group unequivocally represent Asia in cultural, geographical, political and other ways? How would it be decided who belonged and who did not to the Asia imagined? At least according to the shoe-map laid out in Kawaba, Japan was very far from the rest of Southeast Asia, perhaps far enough not to be part of Asia at all.When it appeared that the directors were lost in their search for “Asia” during the Bali workshop, I encouraged them to pursue it as a piece of fiction. Asia surely does not exist in some easily definable, homogenous and unchanging manner, but is a fiction which is made and remade. The directors would find Asia, so to speak, through the act of story-telling, should they reveal something of themselves in the stories.Rather than being an exception in the group, Fox’s participation cautioned against representing Asia in simple or exclusive terms. In the spirit of experimentation, the group focused on the business of collaboration and allowed its identity to emerge in the process instead of defining the nature of its Asianness at the outset. In developing this identity, it seemed valuable, if not ethical, to keep in view the conditions shared by human beings across the globe.In Kawaba, Jo Kukathas lauded the reference to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in a piece exploring political violence. By touching on Africa, she noted, the group brought to the fore a continent that was frequently rendered invisible in the mass media. Furthermore, in her mind, the reference to Rwanda brought home “the interconnectedness of human suffering in the world.”

Inter-cultural theatre is not new and neither is the multiculturalism that may be fashionable in the mass media or political rhetoric at any one time. Barriers have been crossed many times in the past, across family and kinship groups, villages and more. We are now more self-conscious in our efforts to do the same because we are born not only into families but regulated nation-states; we have been given our own larger family of mostly unknown relatives through birth certificates, passports and other salient controls.Many if us cross boundaries for work and other imperatives. Nevertheless, we often have to make a more self-conscious effort to go beyond the national self, the collective person that we believe ourselves to be that we can see and value everyday inter-cultural experiences. Take the daily encounter in Malaysia and Singapore with workers from Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries. The collaboration was part of that selfconscious effort to see links beyond our nations from the ground up. I harbour no illusions of the group struggling for the cause of the oppressed. Rather, I believe the performers incorporated into their creative work their empathies for others who face crises, and their own challenges. And by embracing the differences (including the languages) of the other performers they self-consciously explored new border crossings.One person, Kentaro Matsui, had a strong sense of the politics which he hoped would emerge from the collaboration, though he hardly imposed any kind of pre-ordained design on the group. The Setagaya director was key to making the experiment possible. In his mind, the main object of the collaboration was to explore theatre. He hoped the group would develop an identity of its own and find a role for itself in the diverse worlds of theatre and society in Asia.For Kentaro, the collaboration was to improve on the 2001 production Pulau Antara (The Island in Between), co-written by Malaysians Kam Raslan and Jo Kukathas, which adhered to the conventions of theatremaking. The latter directed a cast made up of Malaysian and Japanese actors. In retrospect, it appears there was little by way of intercultural collaboration, besides the casting of the actors. Nevertheless, Kukathas observes that much effort went into working not only with the cultural proclivities and languages of the two nationalities, but ethnic differences among the Malaysians themselves. While the play may well have explored inter-culturalism in this regard, there was no attempt to seek a different way of making theatre. The present collaboration distinguished itself from Pulau Antara by breaking the conventions of theatre while at the same time advancing the earlier play’s attempt to delve into Japan’s wartime past; the Japanese Foreign Ministry had intervened rather forcefully to eliminate from the 2001 play’s references to Japan’s role in World War II.In contrast, the workshops in the last two years explored this role without reservation. One of the most memorable pieces was directed by Joséfina Estrella and performed by Josh Fox and Loh Kok Man. The beautiful and placid countryside of Kawaba was profoundly transformed in the piece when all the members of the collaboration were taken on a bus trip around the area. Josh played a Chinese American son accompanying his mother (Loh) on a tour of her native China. As the trip unfolded, Fox (also playing the tour guide) related a gruesome narrative of killing, rape and suffering as if it were taking place along the path of bus. It turns out that everyone was transported back to Nanjing in 1937 after the Japanese army had devastated the city. Kawaba’s famous apple orchards, toiling farmers, neat vegetable patches and so forth were transformed into scenes of violence and death by the evocative narrative. At the end of the trip, audience members were in tears, feeling queasy, or speechless. This piece of theatre rendered history present in a powerful and inventive way. Among those most affected were the Japanese. Tatsuo Kaneshita could only utter in soft tones “susume suru no wa mutzukashi [it is difficult to say anything].” He regretted that the Japanese people as a whole had not come to terms with wartime atrocities. He believed that they simply felt sorry and then chose to forget it all. Tatsuo noted, however, that the Nanjing piece made a lasting impression and could not be easily forgotten.

Is it possible to create community out of thin air? How do you make a group with disparate cultural backgrounds feel some sense of common purpose – to gel, so to speak? The Asian Contemporary Theatre Collaboration was a bold experiment aimed at addressing these questions, though it was not without heartache and difficulties. Everybody got along and yet they did not. Moments of deeply felt differences spliced the intense solidarities formed. Cultural divides were not easily bridged and egos not easily accommodated. Ken Takiguchi of the Japan Foundation in Kuala Lumpur feels that many more experiments such as this are needed before the means of doing inter-cultural work becomes self-evident.Importantly, the project put into practice what is easy to theorise but hard to realise: recognising differences and accepting them through dialogue. Through theatre, the project showed the possibilities and challenges of belonging across national boundaries, of assuming a credible transnational self. So many possibilities were explored during the collaboration, some made real and others not. The journey was not the happy fantasy by which multiculturalism is often sold to the public by various parties. Yet each time a possibility was realised, community was created on uncharted territory. One more step was taken towards realising another Asia.

Sumit Mandal is an historian at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and a contributing member of the Advisory Board of Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia.This article was first published in the Malaysian monthly magazine Off the Edge in May 2005.

Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia 8 (March 2007) © Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

The Players: Citizens of Another Asia

Ranging from their early thirties to their mid-forties, all the members of the collaboration are well known mid-career directors in their respective countries. Almost half have had no formal training in theatre. All but a handful are widely travelled performers with richly varied aesthetic styles and life experiences. Mostly urban based, the members of the group actively speak at least nine languages and dialects: Tagalog, Japanese, Malay and Indonesian, Javanese, Mandarin, English, Thai, and Hokkien.

To see W.S. Dindon perform is to watch contemporary dance, at least at first glance. The Jakarta-born performer however does not claim to be a dancer but an actor. In terms of his art, he brought to the collaboration an intense and even frenetic energy which he often expressed and harnessed through movement. He is much influenced by the music and theatre traditions of India where he stayed for a time. At the same time he possesses a deep and unconventional intellectual sensibility which is grounded in the search for social justice.

Rodolfo Vera packs a depth of knowledge and experience as an actor and writer – including years of working with the Philippines Educational Theater Association (PETA) – counterposed by a raucous and cheeky laugh that screams out spontaneously from time to time. When assuming the role of playwright, Rody typically puts a considerable effort into research. One of the few singers in the group, this Manila-born actor was sought for leadership and clarity whenever things went awry.

Whenever he fell silent on stage, Nam Ron brought out a compelling intensity which, like much of his acting, seemed to flow from him so naturally. One could not tell to what the silence would lead. Was he a child rapist or a man struggling with his convictions? Off and on stage, Nam Ron faced new challenges to his person and faith with a transparent honesty. Born in Kangar in the north of the Malaysian peninsula, in the collaboration he found a space outside of his society’s grip for his naturally independent and out of step creativity.

Singapore-born Ivan Heng’s characters often cannot help but be an overwhelming presence given the fabulous cheer, energy and gesticulations he gives to them. It is a wonderful trait in large ensemble scenes as others can play off him productively. With performance stints from India to New Zealand he is one of the most widely travelled of the group. The focus and discipline in his professional life gives way to an infectious liveliness and warmth after work.

Bangkok-born Narumol Thammapruksa, or Kop as she is called, has been for many years deeply involved in a variety of collaborative efforts within Southeast Asia and worldwide. A bouncy, spirited, and yet contained figure on stage, she can shift comfortably from the graceful or even light to the serious. Like other young women struggling to maintain their professional identities, Kop works hard to be committed to her art and society after her own vision, rather than the claims made by society.

Takeshi Kawamura is zany on stage, offering unexpected bursts of physical and verbal energy. He can speak in a rapid staccato in such a manner as to affect a spectacular madness. In this state, his arms and head scatter like a wooden puppet gone out of control. Born in Tokyo, Takeshi defines himself against Japanese notions of cultural restraint and formality, making his personal feelings quite transparent to others. The collaboration offered him outrageous comrades from outside his own country and experience.

Driven by the spoken word and physicality, New York-born Josh Fox offers a self-possessed and strong presence on stage. He has been dedicated to inter-cultural theatre for some years, having established with others a transnational theatre company. While he expresses his emotions easily on and off-stage, in life he is a mixture of confidence, anxiety and sensitivity framed or perhaps held back, by his heavy, horn-rimmed spectacles. The politically-committed Josh has been working hard to express himself as an American artist against the warring mission of the White House at the turn of the century.

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Jo Kukathas is a versatile actor who makes the transition between the humorous and the serious with ease. Her involvement in this project follows from the earlier Malaysia-Japan collaborative work Pulau Antara (The Island in Between). She explores her art more deeply on this occasion, having expended much energy in Malaysia fighting censorship and authoritarian politics. A widely-read and thoughtful person off-stage, Jo has worked hard to incorporate a woman’s voice in what has been an overwhelmingly male collaboration.

Azuzan J.G. was born in Pematang Siantar in northern Sumatera. While his tall lanky self is most comfortable in quiet and meditative roles as well as graceful movements, he transforms himself easily into a character born out of the cacophony of urban life. He brought to the collaboration his knowledge of a number of performance traditions of the Indonesian archipelago. Azuzan has been active in social movements seeking a more democratic Indonesia before and after the end of authoritarian rule under Suharto in 1998.

Loh Kok Man was born in Kuala Lumpur and is a versatile performer on stage, with strengths in movement and physical expression. He is neither too shy nor self-involved to try new roles and styles even if it means making mistakes. Having travelled widely on his own and to some extent as a performer, he comes to the collaboration keen to learn, exchange ideas and explore theatre beyond his Malaysian experience. Kok Man is ever so curious in gentle ways about many things and deeply contemplative.

Singapore-born Haresh Sharmashies from the stage, preferring instead to write as well as direct. His tall lanky presence in combination with his striking eyes and hands altogether constitute a figure who is somewhat mysterious. One’s curiosity is exacerbated by the unflappable look he possesses. Having explored much socially-committed theatre in the past, Haresh now writes about existentialism, spirituality, morality and other more introspective themes. He was important as an intelligent, sensitive and effective mediator throughout the collaboration.

Rochmad Tono was born in Jakarta and cuts an intense figure on stage. He makes his presence felt in performance with a strong voice and graceful movements often packaged in machismo and a forced casual air. The faint but real possibility of an emotional outburst lends an element of danger to him. One of the least travelled and youngest in the group, Tono comes to the collaboration curious and excited about its cosmopolitan composition and ambitions.

Trained in Thai dance traditions, Bangkok-born Pradit Prasartthong’s movements can have a studied gracefulness. Tua, as he is usually called, happily breaks away from the form when necessary to play a range of characters, often with a folksy undertone. He is committed to his work despite the incurable impishness and prankster in him. While he dislikes doing art premised at the outset on social and political issues, he keeps his commitments close to his heart when working.

Joséfina Estrella was born in Manila. Although she shied from acting during the collaboration, she left a strong impression the few times she took to the stage. She spoke and moved her small body in powerfully suggestive ways whether she played the sexy temptress or hardworking maid. She was focussed and clear-sighted about her goals during the collaboration as well as collegial and supportive when working in groups.

Tatsuo Kaneshita was born on Hokkaido Island in northern Japan and chooses to write and direct rather than perform. Nevertheless, he played a number of characters with aplomb during the workshops, mastering the role of the tall, mysterious and quietly expressive man of a few words. Tatsuo’s theatre and social worlds was for the most part confined to Japan until the collaboration. From not speaking or hearing a word of English, he now does a bit of both. Moreover, he expresses a strong desire to visit Southeast Asia and learn more about the region.

Manila-born Herbert Go plays in the world of the stage with utter seriousness, though one would not necessarily detect this at first glance. He unpacks himself on stage in bold and innovative ways, rendering himself alternatively funny and vulnerable. Herbie is one of the most popular teachers at the National Arts Council’s High School of the Arts (in Makiling) where every year some thirty students are picked from all over the Philippines to be educated on full scholarships. He was important in fostering dialogues between people during discussion with gentle insistence and a funky sense of humour.

the lost and the ecliptic



breaking