December 8, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

An accidental playwright: Interview with Faith Ng

2 min read

Kitaab’s Interviews Editor Felicia Low-Jimenez in a tete-a-tete with the Singapopean playwright Faith Ng

Faith Ng Checkpoint TheatreFaith Ng is a playwright and an Associate Artist with Checkpoint Theatre. Her plays wo(men) and For Better or for Worse, have both been nominated for Best Original Script in the Life! Theatre Awards. Holding a Master of Arts with Distinction in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East  Anglia, Faith was the the writer-in-residence for the Singapore Creative Writing Residency program in 2014.

I first met Faith in March 2014 when we were put on the proposition team in a debate organised by The Arts House as part of their 10th Anniversary celebrations. The motion was “Singapore can be a city of literature” and I was immediately struck by her maturity, eloquence and sincerity. It is easy to see why she has become known for her honest, sensitive plays that touch on topics and issues that can make Singaporeans uncomfortable, but can also relate to.

Out of all the creative arts, why did you decide on a career as a playwright? What is it about theatre that appeals to you?

I am really an accidental playwright. I had been writing prose fiction for a long time (which I suspect is how many Singaporean writers start out because of all the compositions we have to write for school.) I was also painting a lot and toyed with the idea of being an artist. I stumbled upon playwriting during my first year in NUS when I took “Introduction to Playwriting” taught by Huzir Sulaiman. I discovered that playwriting combined my love of words with my penchant for strong and symbolic visual imagery.

More than that, it was really the live element of theatre—real physical bodies moving in space— that got me hooked. There is something absolutely magical and thrilling about watching your words come to life on stage, always a little different from what you imagined it to be— sometimes better, and sometimes worse, but never the same each performance.

Writing can be a terribly lonely business. In theatre, you never work in isolation. It takes a village (the production team and the creative team) that supports each other and strengthens each other to make a production happen. You get to work with people who have different talents and points of view from you, and you learn a lot from them.

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