Epic Poem of Malaya
22-24 April 2010, Esplanade Studio Theatre as part of The Studios
" ... offers a completely outsider perspective on this notion of nationhood by looking at the world from the eyes of the often ridiculed or ignored orang laut (sea gypsies). The result is a complete re-mapping of one’s perception of Singapore history... it’s one of those shows that, after having stepped out, made me feel like the world seemed a bit bigger." - Today
"My father cries, and I cry, and then he says to me: Our life has just begun, and it will be a great one."
Combining traditional storytelling with theatrical experiment, Epic Poem of Malaya presents a kaleidoscopic vision of a society in flux. In a constantly shifting stage environment, a multi-generational cast unfolds an expansive, big-hearted story of Singapore seen from the sea.
A boy leaves Singapore for life on the South China Sea. He loves it, but history has other ideas. In a 1956 painting by the artist Chua Mia Tee, a passionate young man is declaiming a vision of the future; and there isn’t much room in it for sea nomads.
Then there’s you. Somewhere in your experience, whether you know it or not, you carry the hopes of an earlier time, a dream of freedom, and a map of the Riau Archipelago.
Epic Poem of Malaya is the story of an island, but it is also a story about people: how they remember, what they forget, and how they shape and are shaped in turn by the place they live.
Trailer available here.
Text & Music: Zai Kuning, Director: Paul Rae, Performed by: Janice Koh, K. Rajagopal, Siti Khalijah, Kaylene Tan, Tony Yeow, Production and Stage Manager: Alvin Lim, Lighting Designer: Woan Wen, Set/Props: Patrick Storey, Publicity Photos: Alecia Neo