chapter  1
15 Pages

Imagining the Singapore theatre field

In contrast, Ong Keng Sen, a Cultural Medallion recipient, speaks of vastly different production concerns. With regard to his 2002 staging of Search: Hamlet in Denmark, the last of his intercultural Shakespearean trilogy after Lear (1997) and Desdemona (2000), he observes,

I think it is very dangerous to explore Shakespeare if you don’t have a specific purpose … Then I thought – what if we made it in the Kronborg castle? This would be an interesting exercise of reimagining and scrambling culture, cultural authenticity, and cultural possession. And once the castle was confirmed it became an interesting journey, and especially if the castle could be used in a site-specific way and we could go into the bowels of the castle and almost excavate what is the site. It is a very difficult thing to make a sitespecific work in a different culture, meaning that I’m a nonEuropean director, directing Hamlet with Asian performers in the site which originally inspired Shakespeare to write.2