The Necessary Stage (Singapore)


15 – 18 February 2012, 8pm
18 & 19 February 2012, 3pm
Esplanade Theatre Studio
$30 / $19

Advisory: Mature Content/Some Coarse Language (16 years and above)

After a crowd-roaring sold-out run at the Singapore Arts Festival 2011, The Necessary Stage’s Singapore is back!

Singapore. Singapura. Temasek. When does a name begin? When does a country begin? The Necessary Stage examines present-day Singapore by bringing historical characters to life. Factual and fictional characters merge with real and imagined events to create a theatre that makes the impossible possible.

Looking at themes of Migration, Harmony and Identity, Singapore probes deeply into a country’s history and, and along the way, the psyche of the people occupying it. Featuring a very politically-correct multi-racial cast, the play is seriously funny, bluntly cutting and deceitfully truthful.

Written by Haresh Sharma
Directed by Alvin Tan
Starring Karen Tan, Najib Soiman, Rodney Oliveiro, Siti Khalijah Zainal, Sukania Venugopal & Sharon Frese.

A production commissioned for The Singapore Arts Festival
First performed at The Singapore Arts Festival 2011

Relationship to Art & Faith

Singapore is a microcosm of the global village, especially that of an urban city where people are attracted to improving their livelihood. There are more migratory movements today than ever before because of push and pull factors that are economically determined, enhanced by the convenience of travel. But this is not just Singapore today. Singapore in the past, blessed by its strategic geographical position was a busy place flourishing with trade and cultural exchange.

Faith is the power of belief – a belief in the potential of a person or situation. One can say that the founding, evolution and manifestation of modern Singapore is an outcome of human faith. It’s not perfect but it’s quite a miracle.

But beliefs are upheld by assumptions and these are constructed to motivate people to aspire to achieve certain goals. That is what, we may say, went into the making of Singapore.

Some assumptions are sacred and are kept at whatever cost; some are challenged and they break down, giving way to new assumptions and therefore new beliefs. That is how new motivations are born to fuel the people to look at new goals for a new age.

Beliefs are social constructs and are transient. They serve certain phases and are not necessarily absolute truths that hold eternal. Ever so often they need to be ventilated and rejuvenated with respect to the global and local scenarios.

Singapore, the play, is about the power of myth – what makes history, what we believe to be ours in past, and what is left out. Do we gain or lose out with the past that is given to us, which we have accepted? What do we do with a fragment of truth when we encounter it later in our nation’s history? Where do we bring it to, and what can it do for us today?

What is hidden from us or suppressed or eclipsed does not necessarily mean it’s bad. It just means that what appears as facts is transitory until another fragment is brought to our attention. That is life. Such absolutes must be rejected and what we know must always be regarded as provisional, ephemeral, mutable and therefore transformative. It does mean that Singapore is a play about hope because, given time, we can always change for the better.

Photo credits: The Necessary Stage