Singapore Arts Festival 2007 Presents Dreaming of Kuanyin, Meeting Madonna




25 MAY -24 JUNE 2007




Dreaming of Kuanyin, Meeting Madonna


Mark Chan and The ARTS FISSION Company




World Premiere


1 & 2 June, 8pm


Victoria Theatre


$50, $40, $30, $20


80mins (no intermission)


Post-show dialogue with Mark Chan, Angela Liong and Brian Gothong Tan on 1 June


“…imaginative, evocative, and fluid…” Dance Europe


In an innovative commission bringing together two of Singapore’s leading arts practitioners, composer Mark Chan and The ARTS FISSION Company’s artistic director andchoreographer Angela Liong join hands for the first time in the world premiere of theDreaming of Kuanyin, Meeting Madonna.


The production is conceived by Chan and the production features his strong narrative whichexamines the conflicts between inner spirituality and mundane urban living. The cross-disciplinary work also examines the cohabitation and interplay of the East and West, as well as the ancient and modern, imaging a triangular encounter of the bodhisattva Kuanyin, the Virgin Mary, and the pop icon Madonna.


Describing the work as a music and dance tone poem, Chan has brought to bear his wide range of musical styles and influences. The result is a work with a strong conceptual integrity and a soundscape expressed by soaring melodies, evocative tonal textures, dance club electronica and pop rhythms. Drawing inspiration from early and present-day religious music, Chan has merged meditative eastern musical forms, ritual chanting, plainsong and hymn. Hewill perform live with two other musicians Sunny Wong on Huqin (erhu, gaohu, zhonghu) and Joe Jayaveeran on percussion, along with specially pre-recorded music and effects serving as the backbone to the performance.


Liong’s choreography is brought to life by five dancers from The ARTS FISSION Company and two guest artists, Singapore-born Dutch dancer Ming Poon and Hong Kong-based Taiwanese dancer Lily Tsai.  In group, duets and solo pieces which move fluidly in and out of each other, rhythmic structures of Asian dance are heightened by a contemporary dance dynamic. Between moments of violent movement and arresting stillness, the inner spirituality of the dancers is evocatively expressed.


Visual artist Brian Gothong Tan also supports the performance with video work that dialogues with the dance and music. The multimedia provides a backdrop and interactive space on stage for the performers.


For Chan and Liong, this collaboration has been a meeting of old friends, having known each other since the 1980s when Chan was singing and Liong choreographing at the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. A prolific pop singer, Chan has since composed music for more than 30 plays including the 2004 Festival theatre production OPIUME by Checkpoint Theatre. The Shanghai-based composer said he felt ready to share about himself as an artist, after being away from Singapore for a while. He describes Dreaming of Kuanyin, Meeting Madonna as a reflection of his personal journey and his take on the urban ethos. To him, the work is a plea for compassion, open-mindedness and inclusion in our societies.


Liong who entered this collaboration in the spirit of experimentation, hopes to discover a different creative expression in her dance work. Having been described as Singapore’s shaman of dance by a local arts magazine, she is known as a forerunner in Singapore’s dance scene with an innovative approach to Asian contemporary dance. Liong’s dance company The ARTS FISSION Company was last featured in the 2005 Festival in the co-production with Theatre CcadoO in Korea, 12 SMS Across the Mountains.


Chan, Liong and Tan will share about their collaboration on this Festival production in a post-show dialogue on 1 June.


Please find the following annexes enclosed for information:

Annex 1 – Synopsis

Annex 2 – Profiles of Artists

Annex 3 – Credits & Company Profile