Ng Choon Ping will be making his directorial debut in Singapore with The Truth and it’ll be the first farce that he’s directing. We catch up with the UK-based director to find out more about his aspirations before being a director, and what we can expect from this play about lies!
- Share with us three interesting facts about you as a director.
I've done a lot of new writing, and I've done a lot of Shakespeare, and I treat both in the same way: with respectful disrespect.
The first time I directed was in primary school. It was both a triumph and a disaster.
I wanted to be an astronaut before I wanted to be a director, but then realised it'd be some time before Singapore has a space programme. Hopefully I won't be too old for space travel before theatre-makers are deemed necessary for colonising another planet.
- What’s got you excited about directing The Truth?
I've never directed a farce before. I think it requires very rigorous, technical skills, perfect timing, and understanding of the audience. Humour is serious business. Good comedians are some of the most dour people I know.
- This will be your directing debut in Singapore. What does it mean and feel for you to be back in Singapore to be directing The Truth?
I think Singapore (like any other country, really) has a complex relationship with "truth". People in general want to know the truth of things. But sometimes the cost of discovering, or acknowledging, the truth is too much for people. In the UK, the fact of Brexit is plain to see - it's impossible without serious damage to livelihoods and quality of life. But too few are willing to give up their self-delusions to deal with that. Florian Zeller's The Truth is not an explicitly political play - it's a domestic farce - but I think its exploration of the human capacity for self-delusions is universal. It'd be interesting to see what a Singaporean audience takes away from it.
- The Truth is a French play translated by British Christopher Hampton. Now that the play will be produced in Singapore by Singaporeans, what are the challenges and opportunities you will face?
I think it's themes are pretty universal; everyone will be able to relate to it. Singapore is a ruthlessly international place, isn't it? There are local idiosyncrasies to consider of course - what would certain accents mean; what are the characters' ethnicities; what does class mean in Singapore; will certain jokes be funny here.
The Truth, ironically is about lies, lying to one’s wife and best friend to hide an infidelity. Sounds like a serious issue and yet, it is billed as a comedy. What should the audience expect from the production?
When the title is The Truth, of course it's going to be about lies! Someone once said, I forget who, comedy is just tragedy sped up. I think some of the most profound things are accessed through comedy. The play is about a mid-life crisis; those are always funny.
- Could you share with us why someone should come watch The Truth
It has something for everyone. It's a good night out; it's funny and exciting; you think you know how it's going to end, but it will surprise you; for those who just want laughs there's that, for those who want something more, there are some uncomfortable depths too.
The Truth runs at the KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT from 3 April 2019. Enjoy The Truth with your friends! Purchase 4 tickets in a single transaction an enjoy a complimentary glass of wine each. Click here to book your tickets now.