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Is That It?

A short film by Nine Years Theatre

“There’s not enough distance to frame my body.
When I shift the camera up, I lose my legs; tilt it down and I lose my head.”


How do we face an enemy with no face?
When a pandemic hits again, we will be more prepared… or so we thought. When it gnaws at the fundamentals of our nature and being, some things change and some do not.
How do we live in the digital, and how do we feel alive? By bits and bytes, framing and re-framing our bodies and mind.

A short film by Nine Years Theatre, Is That It? is a dreamt-up footage of 7 residents in a lockdown, amidst a near-future pandemic. A way to pause and look at the new un-normal.

#nineyearstheatre #isthatit

A Message from the Directors...

This short film is in fact the result of members of a theatre company coming together to explore and play with the filmic medium. We brainstormed, observed, shared and imagined. We insisted on our brand of humour and theatricality. More importantly, we contemplated and learnt, and we had great fun making this work.

I am grateful to Cherilyn for her inspiration, to Fiction Shore for their patience and generosity, and to the company staff and actors for their spirit and creativity. Last but not least, to NAC for funding this project.

Nelson



A cup of coffee, an article in the New Yorker and Mia saying, “beautiful” at the sight of zoom frames of empty rooms during Viewpoints. That’s where this all started really.

As the country and the people around me found ways to try and adapt to new beginnings and new chapters in this strange year…it also forged a new narrative for all of us. No two stories are the same. I’d like to think it calls for more empathy for people everywhere, especially the person next door from you. Despite our different experiences, we are drawn together by one thing. The hope of acceptance from someone who understands that they are just trying to survive in the best way they know how.

This is our first foray into something like this. Just a beginning. I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful team. Each one of them offered their own narrative which has been vital in crafting the piece. For everything that had to be put on pause this year, here is something that started.

Cherilyn

Cast & Creative







Mia Chee — as Jia Yi

Company Director & Co-Founder of NYT
Founding & Core Member of NYT Ensemble

Mia is an actor, producer and theatre educator.

She started performing at 9 years old when she joined Rediffusion Singapore's children group and eventually graduated with a BA in Theatre Studies and Chinese Language from the National University of Singapore. In addition to that, she studied Viewpoints with SITI Company (New York) and Suzuki Method of Actor Training with SITI and Suzuki Company of Toga (Japan).

Recent works include Dear Elena, First Fleet, FAUST/US, Lear Is Dead, Pissed Julie, Cut Kafka!, Art Studio, Red Sky, Red Demon, The Lower Depths, Tartuffe, An Enemy of the People, The Bride Always Knocks Twice and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Macau Arts Festival 2013).





Hang Qian Chou — as SK

Founding & Core Member of NYT Ensemble

Qian Chou first worked with Nine Years Theatre on Twelve Angry Men and subsequently became a Founding and Core Member of the NYT Ensemble. Since then, he has appeared in most of NYT’s productions, including Dear Elena, First Fleet, FAUST/US, Lear Is Dead, Pissed Julie, Cut Kafka!, No Parking on Odd Days (Cantonese), Art Studio, Red Sky, Red Demon, The Lower Depths, Tartuffe and An Enemy of the People.

He graduated from NUS Theatre Studies and the pioneer cohort of W!LD Rice's actors' training programme young & W!LD. He also attended summer workshops at Anne Bogart’s SITI Company (Saratoga Springs, US), Ecole Philippe Gaulier (Paris, France) and David Diamond's Theatre for Living (Vancouver, Canada). He is also a ten-time Best Ensemble nominee at The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards, winning it five times.






Neo Hai Bin — as Nickson

Founding & Core Member of NYT Ensemble

Over the years, he experienced the theatre’s power to develop social awareness and empower communities. He started off as a member of "ARTivate", the youth wing of Drama Box. Now a freelance theatre practitioner, he undergoes long-term, regular and systematic training at Nine Years Theatre. He attended Suzuki Company of Toga summer workshop 2014 (Japan) and deepened his understanding of “Suzuki Method of Actor Training”. He attended the SITI Company Summer Workshop 2018 (USA), to further his practice of “Viewpoints”.

He is part of performing arts collective "微Wei Collective". He keeps a blog at: http://thethoughtspavilion.wordpress.com






Timothy Wan — as Adrian

Core Member of NYT Ensemble

Timothy is an actor, and musician. He graduated from the theatre studies programme in the National University of Singapore. Since then, he has been actively involved in both the local English and Mandarin theatre scene. He has undergone training programs with SITI Company in Saratoga Springs, as well as with the Suzuki Company of Toga, in Toga, Japan.

Stage credits include: Army Daze, Glass Anatomy, High Class, Red Riding Hood, Firecrackers & Bombshells, Romeo & Juliet: The Musical, Hansel & Gretel, The Nightingale (in both English & Mandarin), Junior Claus, Titoudao, The Tempest, December Rains, White Soliloquy, Beauty World, Red Demon, Kumarajiva, Red Sky, Fundamentally Happy, Girl in the White Sandbox, Art Studio, Cut Kafka!, Sometime Moon, Pissed Julie, FAUST/US, First Fleet and Dear Elena.






Jodi Chan — as Sue


Jodi graduated from the University of Exeter, UK, with a Master of Arts degree in Theatre Practice - Physical Performance & Actor Training (Distinction). Her affinity with theatre began in secondary school, where she first performed on stage. Since 2014, she has been working professionally as a theatre performer and educator. Her recent acting credits include First Fleet (Nine Years Theatre), 7 Sages of the Bamboo Grove (Toy Factory), Chinatown Crossings (Drama Box), Rubbish Prince (3Pumpkins) and Four Horse Road (The Theatre Practice).




Shu Yi Ching — as Yan


Shu Yi is an actor, singer, dancer and host. Born in Singapore, raised in China and Canada, Shu Yi returned to Singapore to pursue a performing arts degree, where she attended LASALLE College of the Arts and graduated with a BA(Hons) in Musical Theatre in 2016. Since then, she had been actively involved in both the local theatre scene, as well as the TV/Film scene.






Wendi Wee Hian — as Monica


Wendi Wee Hian is an actor and aspiring movement artist. Due to her small stature, she seeks to challenge boundaries of the physical form. 

Her recent works include Tanah•Air 水•土 (Kok Heng Leun & Koh Wanching, Dramabox), The Precise Purpose of Being Broken (Koh Wanching, M1 Fringe 2019) and Chinatown Crossings 2019 (Koh Huiling, Dramabox). 

When jobless, she relives her anxiety through online shopping, astounding herself and others of the new ways she empties her bank account. Send help.

As such, she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with different artists despite the pandemic. She hopes that everyone continues to pursue their dreams and not give up in this difficult time. Fighting!










Nelson Chia — as Jason (VO)

Co-director of Is That It?
Artistic Director & Co-Founder of NYT

Nelson is an award-winning director / performer who also writes, researches and teaches. He is a four-time Best Director winner and two-time Best Actor winner at the Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards. He was the first Singapore artist to be commissioned for three consecutive years by the nation’s main arts centre - The Esplanade to present work at the Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts. In 2017, he received a Fellowship by Centre42 to adapt Cultural Medallion novelist Yeng Pway Ngon’s seminar work Art Studio for the stage, followed by a commission from Singapore International Festival of Arts to open the festival with this work in the same year. His other commission partners include Macau Arts Festival, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, and Singapore Writers’ Festival, to name a few.

A graduate of Goldsmiths College, London (MA in Directing) and National University of Singapore (BA, Hons, Theatre Studies), Nelson was Head of Department for Theatre at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, adjunct lecturer at Lasalle College of the Arts and full-time lecturer of Theatre Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. He was the Associate Artistic Director of Toy Factory Productions (2003 - 2013), a Resident Artist with The Theatre Practice (2000 - 2002), an Associate Artist with The Substation (2007 - 2009), and a founding member of the ensemble collective A GROUP OF PEOPLE (2008 - 2012). In 2017, he was awarded a 3-year Fellowship with the International Society for the Performing Arts in New York, and was on the planning committee for the society’s NYC congress in 2019. He was a Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation (Drama) Adjudicator for many years, an active member of Singapore Chinese Language Theatre Alliance, and currently sits on the Examination Board of Intercultural Theatre Institute and the Industry Advisory Group of Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore.

Nelson’s directorial works are marked by detailed and dynamic ensemble work. His original writings, adaptations, translations and choice of plays are known to possess deep cultural challenges and linguistic sensibilities. In 2012, Nelson co-founded Nine Years Theatre (NYT) with his wife Mia Chee. Within a few years, NYT has grown to become one of the key players in the scene. Through his artistic direction, he has managed to not only rejuvenate the Singapore Mandarin theatre scene with his work, but raised the awareness of actor training among the artistic community. For many years, he has invested his energy in the research of actor training methods, making him an important figure in this field in Singapore. Since 2008, he has been training regularly in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training and Viewpoints. He studied both methods with SITI Company in New York, and trained in the Suzuki Method with Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) in Japan and performed in the Toga Festival. In 2013, he created the NYT Ensemble (NYTE) with an aim to establish a company of ensemble actors who train regularly in a systematic way and create work together over an extended period of time. Under Nelson’s leadership, the NYT Ensemble is currently developing a performance approach known as “Body Paradox: The NYT Actors’ Work”. To date, the NYT Ensemble is the only actor ensemble of this nature in Singapore.



Cherilyn Woo — as Radio DJ (VO)

Co-director of Is That It?
Associate Director of NYT

Cherilyn is a freelance Theatre Director and Writer, and currently is Associate Director at Nine Years Theatre.

Director Credits: Note For Note (Arts House), Fantastic Mr Fox (SRT, Associate Director), FAUST/US (NYT), Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Corinda (YST), La Boheme (Singapore Symphony Orchestra), Nightingale (SRT, Associate Director), The Woman Before, The Bus Stop, Abstraction, The Chairs.

From 2014 – 2016, she was a part of the Directing Residency at Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT).

Trailer

Full Film

Interview



Why is a theatre company making a short film?

What is the film about?

We have prepared 10 burning questions about the film with the directors that you are dying to know about.

Gallery

Official Flooring Sponsor

Special Thanks





Miss Low Siau Hui


Donate to NYT to Keep Us Going

While enjoying the short film at home, please consider making a donation to Nine Years Theatre. Your gift will help us continue our journey in making art, and enable us to share more with audiences.

Donating $250 and above makes you a 9-Cell Donation Grid Donor, and you would be offered benefits of the respective tier. All donations qualify for 250% tax deduction, they also help us benefit from the 1:1 Cultural Matching Fund.


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