Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ghosts of Annabel Past

There's actually a number of theatrical and artistic works in Singapore which reference Annabel Chong. She's that much of an icon. I've already listed one amateur e-mail song parody, but let's look at how the arts world reacted.

The first, and possibly the most influential so far, was Alfian Sa'at's Annabel Lee's Last Stand (1999), originally performed by The Necessary Stage and directed by Jeff Chen in a series of short political sketches by Alfian and Chong Tze Chien entitled sex.violence.blood.gore.


The sketch was based on an allegorical combination of Annabel Chong and Lee Kuan Yew's biographies. The full text is available here, on Alf's blog. sex.violence.blood.gore was censored in 1999, with the police demanding that two of Chong Tze Chien's sketches and one of Alfian's not be shown. Alf was consequently very grateful when Teater Tribunalen of Stockholm, Sweden, staged his version of the script in its entirety. (The image above is from that production in 2006. Yup, those are angmohs wearing black hair extensions.)

The second, which came out in Action Theatre's first 42@Waterloo Festival (Nov 1999), was Rosita Ng's Baby, You Can Drive My Car. This was a one-woman show, performed by the playwright and directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham. Sadly, I didn't watch this (I was a poor student at the time), and Rosita's no longer in theatre, so I know very little about this production.

The third I'm aware of was Brian Gothong Tan's short video, Annabel Chong, which was exhibited as part of his installation for the Singapore Biennale, We Live in a Dangerous World. The video portrays Benny Lim of The Fun Stage in drag with a Suzie Wong-wig and red lipstick on, naked from the shoulders up, humping up and down, screaming out, "The death penalty is immoral! The death penalty is immoral!"


No video, but here's a post-production shot of his work on Imelda Goes to Singapore, another campy interrogation of a Southeast Asian legend. More of his videos here.

I'm quite sure there are references to Annabel in other media I've left out - painting, sculpture, epic poetry, Chinese calligraphy, batik, performance art, a cappella?

Suggest a few resources.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Chat with Loretta!

I nearly forgot to post this!

Is censorship doing our society more bad than good? In an increasingly liberal Singapore, what constitutes pornography and what constitutes art?

Engage in a Live webchat with director Loretta Chen about the controversial themes of her new play, 251, inspired by the infamous story of Annabel Chong, who burst into history in 1994 in a world-record 10-hour gangbang with 251 men.

Register Now!

Log on to www.thestudios.com.sg on 28 Feb 07 (Wed), 8pm and join in the chat.

Loretta, giving instructions during workshopping

This discussion will be moderated by Audrey Wong, Co-Artistic Director of The Substation.

251 is presented by Toy Factory Productions in collaboration with Esplanade as part of The Studios.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Promotion @ Two Queens!

This Thursday at Club Momo. Find out more here.

Annabel Chong

Saturday, February 24, 2007

L'instructeur de la natation

Thought I might as well give a shout-out for our director's other play, The Swimming Instructor, showing at 42 Waterloo St from Fri 9 to Sun 18 March. Loretta's teaming up with film director Sherman Ong to create a filmic/live version of the play by Desmond Sim.

Buy the tickets here... Or you could just ogle the bodies on show.

Ooh, and as a critic, I feel it's only just to link to a balanced Inkpot review. ;)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Design meeting

Happy CNY! We held our design meeting just now at the Toy Factory office; wish I'd brought my camera so I could show off how gorgeous our set designer and lighting and multimedia designers are (even the orchestra is beautiful, bee-yatch).

So it seems that we'll be using a traverse stage, with video projections on the floor (anyone know a good formica deal?). We may no longer have our lingerie sponsorship; if anyone knows a tofu-producing sponsor, that would be great too.

And we'll be seating 160 people per night. That's 160 seats we want to sell out every night. And 160 X 15 performances = 2,400 bums in seats... gee willikers, that's a lot of vacancies!

I don't know if I'm more scared that the reviews will be too kind or too nasty. Loretta says: if they critics don't like it, they should lie and then tell her in private.

Ah, Loretta. She's fifty times more fabulous than I.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Beating a Retreat

On Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 February, 2007, our director Loretta Chen dug into her own pockets and booked a chalet at Changi Sailing Club.

This was where we held a retreat-cum-workshop for 251 - photos here.



Lemme introduce the cast:
From left to right: Cheryl Miles, Lee Weng Kee and Paul Lucas...


The irrepressible Amy Cheng:


And playing Annabel herself, Cynthia Lee Macquarrie:

And of course, our beloved director Loretta Chen:


Our ever-responsible stage manager Stanley Ng:

And moi. You can see why I'm not in the cast. I'm just too campy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grace's Anatomy

Did I mention that we're in the latest issue of FHM? Check out the March issue of FHM, p64-65. There's an interview with our dear directrix, as well as photos of our press conference - which means photos of *all of us*.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"last boy" and other autopornographies

These are slides from a presentation I just did at Rojak, discussing my craft as a writer and exhibitionist... both criteria that made me terribly eligible as playwright of 251.

1. last boy, my first book of poetry, drawing on my sexual history in New York, coupled with some extremely passionate poetry readings.



2. My experimental drag in university.


3. Which I also engaged in at the opening of the Singapore Biennale Opening Party for the sake of celebrating the carnivalesque. Components: Japanese oni demon mask and green vintage dress found in an old closet in Columbia.


4. Coverage: A wearable art intervention performed Friday, 10 November at Encounters 34: Beginning Belief, LaSalle-SIA School of the Arts. Materials: Singapore Biennale badges (X 92), Singapore Biennale tote bag, black tights, blazer and marker pen inscriptions of local contemporary artists not included in the Biennale. Reprised Saturday 11 November at the official closing party for the Biennale. Amanda Heng said she liked it. :)


5. And more recently, a grumpy protest against the proposed retention of section 377A, the Penal Code article against gay male sex, at the SQ21 blog.


There are other slides, but I'll curb my sluttiness for now. :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Rojak!

I'll blog about the retreat we just had in a while... but first, an announcement. I'm doing a presentation this Friday night on my work at the next Rojak. It's an evening of talks by artists and designers, organised by Farm.sg, held quarterly at a cool new location every time. This time it's at Pearl Bank Apartments, near Outram MRT, where I was born and grew up.

My talk's entitled "last boy and other autopornographies". Of course, I'll be talking about 251 as well. Below is the proper invite:




09.02.2007 Fri 08.00pm till 09.02.2007
Welcome to ROJAK 07. This time, it is held in Pearlbank Apartments, part of the "Save the Modern Buildings" series. The Pearlbank Apartments, like our previous Golden Mile Complex venue, is in the midst of en bloc and possibly sold away. These architectural pieces contains many unique spaces and it will be a shame if they disappear from our local landscape. We hope that ROJAK can bring our local creatives from different disciplinaries to experience these spaces and hopefully, works can be inspired from them.

The presentation will also start earlier this time at 8pm and do come rest casually and comfortably :)

Due to the nature of our venue, there are a few things to note this time:

1. Please bring drinks to share for the ROJAK dingy. Previously, FARM always try our best to refill the drinks during ROJAK. But as this venue is far from any possible replenishment, we requested that all audience to bring something to share with the rest. It's the least you can do with all the sharing going around on ROJAK night.

2. The owner has requested that there is absolutely no smoking within the space, no sitting on the balcony ledge (which is 37th floor! yikes!!) and please do not touch the antique mirrors hung in the kitchen as they are quite reactive to water and stains (but yes, stare into yourself with them)

3. This is a private event. Please subscribe to FARM FEED for the invites and instructions on how to get to the venue (through the security).

See you soon.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

An SMS from Loretta

Hey all! Good news - Just got an email from Grace, she got my package and your note, everything's cool. Her only complaint is the eyeshadow on Cynthia Lee, she says it's bad makeup job! But otherwise, all cool;-)

Thursday, February 1, 2007

FUCKANABEH CHOW CHEE BYE!!!

That was a yell of triumph. I've just finished Draft 3.

(In my contract, it states that Draft 4 should've been ready 2 days ago, but Loretta liked Draft 2 so much she decided she'd give me a break. We'll see on Friday's tech reading whether she's dug her own grave.)