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The Vault: Project Understudy
Mon 23 May 2016, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Singapore Standard Time Singapore Time
Understudy reimagines the post-'black-out-and-curtains' world of Tan Tarn How's Undercover with a special guest appearance by a character from The Lady of Soul and Her Ultimate 'S' Machine, alongside three newly created characters.
Conceived and edited by Dr Robin Loo, and organised by NUS Thespis, Project Understudy explores sequels, scruples and satire using a collective writing creation process. Inspired by the processes of devised theatre, seven writers were assigned one character respectively. Not only not only must they create and explore that character thoroughly, the writers also had to ensure their characters interact with one another through plotted scenarios and situations. Instead of taking matters to the floor, the writers took to the screen around a table and created draft 1 of Understudy.
In 1993, the career of high-flying civil servant Derek is cut short when he refuses to replace his report on the findings of the committee for the cultivation of soul with one rewritten by his 'friend' and immediate superior. His punishment – head the country's only broadcasting corporation.
In 1994, rookie intelligence agent Jane successfully infiltrates a theatre-group-of-interest run by renegade artist Qiang (and falls for the bad boy in the process) while foiling her Deputy's secret plan to oust the head of the intelligence agency. Jane is promoted and Qiang is “rehabilitated”.
In 2016, Jane, now the Minister of Cultural Affairs, wants to award artist-in-exile Qiang the prestigious Cultural Medallion. The disgraced Deputy, now the Director for the Institute of Public Consensus, wants to stop this travesty. In tow are their respective protégés, Albert, Sophie and Vikram. Together with Derek, who has reinvented himself as a media mogul, this 'magnificent seven' chart a treacherous path towards art, politics and ceremonial jewellery.
Will Qiang accept the Cultural Medallion?
Join the writers as they share with you their process of collaborative writing in Project Understudy and read you excerpts from draft 1 of Understudy.
THE VAULT is a programme presented by Centre 42, that revisits and remembers Singapore works dating back to our early theatre years; refreshes them through the eyes of artists and collaborators; and retells them in a contemporary manner.