The buzz generated by the Singapore Bicentennial 2019 has ignited curiosity and much re-evaluation about Singapore’s long and rich history. Yet what does (de)colonisation truly mean, and can we ever be free from it fetters? The Necessary Stage’s (TNS) ground-breaking and audacious new production, Civilised, challenges us to examine the complexities of colonialism and colonisation – not only of the past, but also its manifestations in our world today.
Haresh Sharma, TNS’ Resident Playwright, elaborates, “What stood out for me is the fact that we are living very ‘colonised’ lives, often without even knowing it. Civilised, as with many TNS plays, provides more questions than answers. But the journey for the audients will be riotous and fun.”
As the 120th play written by Sharma in his career, Civilised is one for which research was exceptionally intense. Remarking on the “never-ending” deluge of research, he says, “When we think of colonisation we usually talk about England, France and so on colonising countries in the past. But there’s so much more to it. What kind of ‘legacy’ does the coloniser leave behind? How does the newly independent country pick up the post-colonial pieces?”
Civilised features a star-studded cast comprising Edith Podesta, Ghafir Akbar, Koh Wan Ching, Lian Sutton and Siti Khalijah Zainal, as well as an exciting creative team with He Shuming (multimedia), Adrian Tan (lighting), Vincent Lim (set) and Max Tan and Yuan Zhiying of MAX.TAN (costumes), Civilised promises to be a provocative interrogation of colonial history as we know it, daring us all to scrutinise whether we have truly moved beyond the violence of colonisation.
Tickets for Civilised are now available from SISTIC. Performances will urn from 15 to 26 May at The Necessary Stage Black Box.