Transitions 2- The Intan

28 01 2013

On 26 January 2013, I went to see a performance done by my juniors from Tampines Junior College(TPJC) at The Intan- a local Peranakan Museum. The piece was crafted, written and performed by the students (well, now alumni) of TPJC’s Theatre Studies and Drama elective programme (TSD). They collaborated with the staff at The Intan to devise a piece of 3 interweaved stories about Peranakan culture and heritage.

The Intan first started 10 years ago with the owner of The Intan, Alvin Yapp started becoming interested in Peranakan culture and began collecting antique Peranakan furniture, decorations and other unique pieces that would have be in a traditional Peranakan house. 2 years ago, with the extensive collection, The Intan was invited to join the circle of museums here in Singapore and the staff are extremely grateful.

TPJC’s involvement with The Intan began in 2011 when the JC1 batch at the time devised and performed a piece they called Transitions. After getting good reviews, the same batch was invited back slightly over a year later, allowing the students enough prep work for their A-levels in 2012. Transitions II came alive immediate at the end of their exams and the students took the opportunity to explore the Peranakan culture as well as the chance to demonstrate their skills to a public audience seriously, dedicating their weekends to rehearsals. Some even put off having a job in order to put on the best show they could.

The piece they presented clearly outlined the different aspects of Peranakan culture and they audience interaction simply made it better. The atmosphere was light and welcoming, as if a Peranakan household was inviting guess into their home and share their stories and their relationships, their way of life. The small house made the setting more intimate with the characters offering food, ‘ buying drinks for guest’ and generally just making them feel welcome. These talented students ( this may be biased because I’m quite close to them) truly wowed the audience that night, bringing in different elements of theatre, from physical theatre, to singing to puppetry to changes in space and time. Alvin’s home became their home and the level of comfort they had with the space was exceptional and translated well into their performance.

The piece clearly emphasis the aim of having the event, which was to promote awareness of the Peranakan culture. This performance “for the community, by the community” ( Alvin Yapp’s words) did inspire me to look more into the local cultures and be supportive where I can.

I hope The Intan continues it’s collaboration with my Alma mater in promoting the Peranakan culture.

The teams from The Intan and TPJC




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