December 2016, Drama Centre Theatre, Singapore
Director: Lin Jia
Set Designer: Aaron Yap
Lighting Designer: Wang Meng
Produced by Qiong Ju Society of Singapore
The plot for Chained by Lust was set in the Three Kingdom era of ancient China. The director wanted the set to evoke the feel of the era cost-efficiently, and the theatre also does not have enough fly bars or side stage spaces big enough for lavish set props. As such, the set was to be designed with a minimalist and abstract style with some accentuations to bring out the generic essence of the era.
The first consideration was how to give the setting a cohesive look that brings out the general impression of Han dynasty, something in which the audience can relate to with one look. In order to achieve that, I took reference from the silhouette cutout of a typical Han dynasty architecture landscape, extracted the negative space, made it into a cutout drop and tie it together with the cyclorama. This becomes the permanent set throughout the entire show, making the stage feel like a reflection of Han dynasty society.
The second consideration was how to depict the various scenes in the script and presenting them to the audience. After giving the stage a generic Han dynasty “look”, I go for different architectural, furniture and decorative pieces that were modelled after Han dynasty artefacts, to create a more Han dynasty feel to the stage space.
The last consideration would be how to give the stage setting a more grand look, because although Chained by Lust is still a love story on the whole, it is still based on the historical novel of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, and hence the historical elements of the opera is still relatively strong. After much thoughts, I employed a series of modular and three-dimensional railings, which I can configure into different layouts for the various scenes to create different looks. These railings not only gives the stage setting more depth and dimension, it also brings up the grandness of the entire set.