Singapore Arts Festival 2007 Presents Optical Identity




25 MAY -24 JUNE 2007




Optical Identity


Theatre Cryptic and T’ang Quartet




World Premiere


31 May, 1 & 2 June, 8pm


Drama Centre Theatre


$60, $40, $30, $20


80mins (no intermission)


Post-show dialogue with Cathie Boyd and T’ang Quartet on 1 June


Supported by British Council


“This ensemble is outstanding. Unanimity of attack is uncanny, and the intonation and internal balance both impress greatly. These are plainly minds which share the same wavelength.” 
Evening Standard


“Theatre Cryptic’s work…sensuous, imaginative and sumptuously visual, an extraordinary and innovative company.” 
The Times


In a bold new production commissioned by the Singapore Arts Festival, music by acclaimed contemporary composers combine with interactive technologies, sculptural sets, creative lighting, unique costumes and live digital graphics to allow audiences to immerse themselves in an experience like no other. Pushing boundaries in merging theatrical elements with established repertoire and music commissions, the world premiere of Optical Identitypresents music to be seen, not just heard and is set to be a visual and aural feast for the senses.


Directed by Theatre Cryptic’s Cathie Boyd, whose visit to Singapore in 2005 started a series of conversations with Ng Yu-Ying (First Violin) of the T’ang Quartet and Festival Director Goh Ching Lee, Optical Identity exemplifies the Festival’s vision of championing inter-disciplinary collaborations that explores new possibilities of art-making. A residency was offered to Theatre Cryptic and T’ang Quartet to work on a production to be presented at the Singapore Arts Festival 2007. This residency has led to the development of the work from March, paving the way for a performance that will challenge preconceptions of how classical music is presented and perceived.


The idea behind the production is inspired by “synaesthesia” ~ where the triggering of one sensation stimulates another; as when the hearing of music produces an image, colour or shape. Taking the audience on a sensory journey to a world that is stirring, stimulating, and rousing.


This multi-disciplinary international co-production brings together Scottish performing arts group Theatre Cryptic; Singapore’s acclaimed T’ang Quartet; Swiss-based real-time digital artist Jasch; lighting designer Nich Smith from the UK; Taiwan-born fashion designer Baylene Li and Nagoya International Design Grand Prix winner Jason Ong. Individuals whose art can stand on their own but have now come together, inspired by music to enhance the music in turn.


Performing works by established and renowned composers like Mugam Sayagi by Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh whose stimulating work is based on a secret language used to mask forbidden desires; Rolf Wallin’s composition Phonotope 1 that explores the five Chinese elements; Kevin Volans’ White Man Sleeps which has a South African influence; and a new commission Manual Override by Joby Talbot that is written to be played by an ensemble of 10 or more musicians that takes its inspiration from a fear of machines going wrong.


Following its world premiere here, Optical Identity will embark on its European tour breaking new ground as the first production featuring a Singapore ensemble to be presented at the prestigious and highly regarded Edinburgh International Festival. The production will pave the way for other Singapore performing arts groups, hoping to inspire more ensembles and orchestras internationally to embrace technology in the visual presentation of music.


Cathie Boyd and T’ang Quartet 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 – Programme Notes

Annex 3 – Biographies

Annex 4 – Credits & Company Profile