W!ld Rice is no stranger to verbatim theatre, having presented both the critically and commercially acclaimed plays Cooling Off Day and Cook A Pot of Curry. At the 2018 Singapore Theatre Festival, they’ve done their research and come up with yet another piece, this time focusing on the vendors from the recently shut down Sungei Road Market.
In One Metre Square, get ready to meet a cast of colourful characters from Sungei Road Market, Singapore’s oldest flea market, each given just one square metre of space to set up shop as the peddle their goods in the hot midday sun. Hawking their wares for years, an entire community’s history and heritage was cut short in a single move when it was shut down in 2017 by the authorities. Conducting interviews with vendors both before and after the closure, playwright Cheow Boon Seng explores the sense of loss experienced by these vendors, and the end of an era and livelihood, and audiences will encounter a range of characters such as ‘The Businessman’, ‘The Poet’, ‘The Top Student’ and ‘Liang Po Po’.
Directed by Zelda Tatiana Ng, One Metre Square stars Ong Kian Sin, Tan Beng Tian, Michael Tan, Tay Kong Hui and Yong Ser Pin. Though to some their wares may seem like junk, One Metre Square presents treasured voices and stories that promise to withstand the test of time, with or without a physical market, and for audiences to consider what we lose in the face of pragmatism and progress.
One Metre Square: Voices From Sungei Road plays at the Singapore Airlines Theatre at Lasalle College of the Arts from 19th – 22nd July, in Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese with English surtitles. Tickets available from SISTIC