In New Light 2022 Kingdoms Apart Written and directed by Chong Tze Chien (Singapore) (Advisory 16) An Esplanade Commission and Production
A contemporary reimagining of the Indian epic tale The Mahabharata that resonates with the current day.
The Pandavas and the Kauravas—two groups of cousins—struggle for political power and the claim to the dynastic succession to the throne of the Hastinapura, an Indian kingdom. The confrontation climaxes with an 18-day Kurukshetra War in which even the gods are involved. Unimaginable death and destruction ensue, and all on the battlefield are forced to face up to their dharma—their duty and purpose in the universe.
With the audience seated amongst the performance space, the Pandavas and Karavas families from The Mahabharata are transported from epic mythology into the 21st century through a gripping narrative odyssey of war, politics and family feuds. Portrayed by a multicultural ensemble cast from Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, they perform in front of and around the audience and bring the story to life in riveting fashion.
The Mahabharata ranks amongst the seminal works of world literature and is of great importance to many Asian cultures, representing a rich tradition that allows for multiple significant narratives and interpretations. Kingdoms Apart is written and directed by critically acclaimed award-winning Singapore playwright and director Chong Tze Chien, who most recently received the Best Director award at The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards in 2022. This visually rich production is also conjured by an award-winning creative team, and features puppetry, multimedia, live camera feeds and an original evocative score that will be performed live.
Playwright and Director: Chong Tze Chien
Actors: Ghafir Akbar, Brendon Fernandez, Matt Grey, Anne James, Neewin Hershall, Loong Seng Onn, Futoshi Moriyama, Farez Najid, Jean Ng, Edith Podesta, Lian Sutton & Vadi PVSS
Puppeteers: Jo Kwek & Vanessa Toh
Voiceover: K. Rajagopal
Vocalist & Musician: Yuya Antical
Musician: Darren Ng
Set Designer: Eucien Chia
Lighting Designer: James Tan
Composer, Music Director & Sound Designer: Darren Ng
Multimedia Designer: Koo Chia Meng
Puppetry & Props Designer, Puppetry Training Consultant: Myra Loke (The Finger Players)
Costume Designers: Yuan Zhiying & Jacqueline Teo
Hair Designer: Ashley Lim
Makeup Designer: Bobbie Ng
Consultant: TT Dhavamani
Movement Trainer: Pallavi Sharma
A programme of In New Light – A Season of Commissions, in celebration of Esplanade’s 20th anniversary.