The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart…

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Registration
28 October 2017 | 8:00pm
29 October 2017 | 3:00pm
Centre 42 Black Box

Give-What-You-Can
(Cash only, at the door)

This showcase has been given the following consumer advice: Advisory 16 (Mature Content and Coarse Language).

Synopsis

The 1962 play Mimi Fan by Lim Chor Pee, widely recognised as Singapore’s first English-language play, featured two Indian characters, Baram and Sheila Rani. In the ’70s and ’80s, playwrights Robert Yeo and Michael Chiang showcased more Indian characters in their plays. While Yeo’s were politically-minded individuals with oratorical gifts, Chiang’s were larger-than-life scene-stealers in sparkling comedies. In the 1990s, complex and even iconic roles were written, from Vinod in Haresh Sharma’s Off Centre to Nisha in Elangovan’s Talaq.

However, from the 2000s onwards, fewer roles were being created for actors of Indian ethnicity. Some playwrights claimed the acting pool had dried up. But some actors counter-claimed that there was little substantial work for them in the theatre industry.

Written by Aswani Aswath and dramaturged by Alfian Sa’at, Absence Makes the Heart… is an attempt to trace the presence and absence of Indian roles in Singapore English-language theatre, from the early days of its birth to the present moment. Featuring the actors Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, Sivakumar Palakrishnan and Grace Kalaiselvi, the work will ask: How much do we miss those who have gone missing?


Video Documentation

Written by Aswani Aswath and dramaturged by Alfian Sa’at, Absence Makes the Heart… is an attempt to trace the presence and absence of Indian roles in Singapore English-language theatre, from the early days of its birth to the present moment.


Resources

Reading Materials

#1: LOSING THE ENGLISH ADVANTAGE

#2: THE PLAYS OF ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART...

Programme Handout

Exhibition

The poster features photographs of two Indian women and one Indian man on the left, and an abstract introducing the exhibition on the right.

Photographs

The image features three performers with various facial expressions posing in front of the audience.

View more at: Centre 42 Facebook


artefacts

Losing the English Advantage
In colonial Singapore, English literacy among the Asiatic population – Chinese, Malays and Indians – was alarmingly low. In a 1935 report in the Malaya Tribune, the 1931 population census found that:
Daniel Teo
Published: 26 October 2017
The Plays of “Absence Makes the Heart…”
The Vault: Absence Makes the Heart… looks at the portrayal of Indian characters in Singapore English-language plays throughout history. Here are the plays whose excerpts are performed in Absence.
Daniel Teo
Published: 27 October 2017