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TTRP presents The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Source: Theatre Training & Research Programme

Theatre Training And Research Programme presents The Caucasian Chalk Circle

A vibrant production of this classic by Bertolt Brecht, incorporating Beijing Opera elements, original music and percussion by award-winning musician Philip Tan, choreography by Kuo Jing Hong, directed by William Sun Hui Zhu.
Brecht was very much influenced by Chinese opera performances he had seen, in creating this play, and Beijing Opera elements are used in this production. These elements are combined with the original compositions, sound design and live performance of Philip Tan, winner of the Best Sound awards in the Life! Theatre Awards 2003 and 2005.
Kuo Jing Hong also contributes choreography, including a formal dance, and a Bollywood-influenced wedding dance.
This is the final graduation production for TTRP’s 2nd cohort of students. The 9 actor-students who are about to graduate, come from China, India, Hong Kong, Macao, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Poland, and Singapore.
With such varied cultural backgrounds, this play is a challenge to all the cast. The performance will be in English and Mandarin, neither of which is the mother tongue for most of them.
Besides working on language, the actors have also been hard at work practicing the Beijing Opera form. An additional challenge is that every one of them has to play more than 1 character, some as many as 8!
The story begins in a Caucasian City ruled by a Governor, who serves a Grand Duke. The Governor's brother, the Fat Prince, stages an insurrection and in her haste to flee, the Governor's wife leaves behind her son, Michael. Grusha, a kitchen maid, flees the city with the child, risking her life in order to save Michael.
In the meantime, Azdak saves the life of the Grand Duke and is chosen to be the new judge by the soldiers. Azdak soon gains a reputation for supporting the poor. However, Azdak is arrested as a traitor by the soldiers when the Grand Duke returns. But the Grand Duke, remembering that Azdak saved his life, reappoints Azdak to be the judge.
Azdak now hears the case of Grusha and the child. The Governor's wife wants Michael back because without Michael she cannot take over the former Governor's estates. Drawing a Chalk Circle, Azdak places Michael inside and decrees that the woman who can pull him out will be the real mother...
Key Artists
William Sun Hui Zhu - Director Professor Sun is a distinguished playwright, director, and author who has also taught extensively in China and the USA. He is currently Dean of Graduate Studies at Shanghai Theatre Academy, and a contributing editor to TDR. His two latest books are The Fourth Wall: Structures and Deconstructions of Theatre and Clash of Civilizations and Conflict on Stage. He is working on a new book: Performance and Image Making, examining performance strategies/tricks employed in politics, commerce, social life, and the legal system.
Li Qiu Ping – Beijing Opera movement coach Mdm Li teaches Beijing Opera at TTRP. From the mid 1960s to the late 1970s, Li was an actress and teacher with the Shanghai Opera School. She now teaches at the The Opera and Dance College of Shanghai Theatre Academy as Senior Lecturer. She is currently a member of the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Drama Association. Li has won numerous awards as a critic of arts education, and also for her work as an outstanding teacher.
Philip Tan – Sound Design & Performance Philip is an innovative Music Director, Composer, Sound Sculptor, Pianist, Percussionist and Arranger. He graduated from LaSalle-SIA as the Most Outstanding Student with High Distinction in 1999, and completed his MFA (Music) at Kingston University, UK in 2003 with a grant from National Arts Council. He also received the SIA Award of Excellence in the Arts in 1999. His works have been performed in the USA, Europe and Asia. Philip has composed for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Fibonacci Sequence Ensemble, Singapore Wind Symphony, Singapore Philharmonics Wind Symphony, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, Lasalle-SIA Gamelan Ensemble, Kingston Gamelan Ensemble and others. He has also composed numerous works for dance, drama, films, musicals, art installation and multimedia presentations. In 2003 and 2005, Philip received the Best Sound Award in the Life! Theatre Awards.
Director: William Sun Hui Zhu; Beijing Opera Movement Coach: Li Qiu Ping; Set Design: Hella Chan; Lighting Design: Yo Shao Ann; Sound Design and Performance: Philip Tan; Costume Design: Sandra Foo; Choreography: Kuo Jing Hong.

Date: 19 - 22 May 2005, 8pm

Venue: University Cultural Centre Theatre

Tickets:  S$25 & S$20, not inclusive of service charge by SISTIC. Concessions: S$20, S$16 for students, NSF and senior citizens

Tickets: SISTIC (

Hotline(65) 6348 5555

More..... (Cast)

Content Contributor: Theatre Training & Research Programme



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10 April 2005