Artistes to collaborate for ‘The Spirit’s Play’

Artiste from Germany, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia will be working together in a rare collaboration to broaden awareness and understanding of each other’s culture, values and tradition through Kuo Pao Kun inspired script titled The Spirits Play.

The performance which is set to take place at the Black Box, Damansara Performing Arts Centre from September 26, 2013 to September 28, 2013 will feature Nyoba Kan artistic director Lee Swee Keong, Malaysian composer Yii Kah Hoe, Javanese dancer Agung Gunawan, German composer Max Riefer and German video artist Tobias Wulff, with a group of talented and diverse local dancers and musicians.

The Spirits Play by Kuo Pao Kun is a one of Singapore’s most important theatre classics, was written by the late Kuo Pao Kun in 1998.

The Spirits Play acutely pieces together the intense agony, guilt and turmoil that occur as the price of war. It serves as a memorial towards death, and a reflection upon life.

The story revolves around six spirits seemingly in a state of limbo and looking for a way “home”. In the meantime, each of them takes turns recounting his or her own personal tale about the horrors of the last century’s Pacific War that eventually link up to a its heartrending climax.

From a nurse’s tragic story of being gang-raped by soldiers on her side, to a soldier recounting the complete massacre of his fellow men-at-arms, The Spirits Play makes us confront some complicated issues that are still very much timely – the moral ambiguity of war, clashing perspectives of what can be considered a victory or otherwise.

The “heavy” stuff is buffered by two legends, reenacted in a humourous fashion: A mythical beast with cannibal instincts and a mythical selfless bird who sacrifices itself during a drought.

Searching for a way home, they stop only to hear each other’s poignant tales of war and loss, endeavours and bygone dreams.

The Spirits Play was first staged in 1998 for the Singapore Arts Festival and directed by Taiwan’s Stan Lai. It was subsequently directed by Kuo Pao Kun himself, the same year, and has since been re-interpreted and restaged by the likes of Theatreworks and Theatre Editions and Traditions Circus since then.

The performance is presented by Nyobakan under the helm of their Artistic Director Lee Swee Keong.

The performance which is presented by Nyoba Kan and the Society of Malaysian contemporary composers is supported by Goethe-Institut Kuala Lumpur, Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur and SEGI College.

Tickets are priced at RM68 and for students, seniors and disabled are priced at RM48. For more information on ticket purchase, please log on to

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