Friday, October 05, 2012

Episode 1474: Two Political Plays

Finished reading both Tan Tarn How's Fear Of Writing and Alfian Sa'at's Cooling-Off Day. Left me wishing I'd been in town to see them being staged, especially the former, which is meta-theatre about censorship. I imagine it would have felt a bit like when I went to see Tim Crouch's The Author at the Warwick Arts Centre, another play that blurs the lines between fiction and reality, while touching on controversial subjects. I think that plays like these were staged is a sign that the local cultural and political landscape has changed/is changing. If you want to be negative about it, you might label them as token gestures, ways of taming dissenting elements by restricting their potential audience. (Let's all be realistic about how many Singaporeans go to the theatre, okay?) However, both plays draw from a diverse bunch of Singaporean experiences, letting viewpoints that wouldn't necessarily encounter each other 'speak' to one another (even if indirectly through the medium of the play), in a way that seems highly appropriate given our ongoing 'national conversation'. Well, now I know what I'll be buying the next time I'm at BooksActually, assuming that there's stock.

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