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Preview: Tiger of Malaya by Teater Ekamatra

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After a mad July spent taking charge of the 2018 Singapore Theatre Festival as festival co- artistic director, playwright Alfian Sa’at returns to the Singapore theatre scene proper with a brand new play this September.

Presented by Teater Ekamatra as part of their 30th Anniversary season, Tiger of Malaya takes inspiration from the 1943 Japanese film ‘The Tiger of Malaya’. Based off the life of Tani Yutaka, a Japanese man who lived on the east coast of Malaya, the film portrayed him as a patriotic agent who liberated the Malay natives from British imperialists and Chinese capitalists. But come the present day, more than 70 years after the film was originally released, a group of actors have come together to reenact scenes from the film. Instead of the original ‘brown face’ Japanese actors, real Malay actors have been roped in to play the parts, while a Chinese actor will play an antagonist who is ‘less evil’. Meanwhile, Japanese actors attempt to find a space of performance between the wartime propaganda classifications of heroes, villains, and victims.

Tiger of Malaya will be directed by Teater Ekamatra artistic director Mohd Fared Jainal, and star an ensemble cast comprising Farez Najid, Yuya Tanaka, Rei Kitagawa, Rei Poh, and Siti Khalijah Zainal. Watch as this motley crew of actors come together to comically ‘correct’ history, and in the process, discover how their identities are sustained not by the accuracies of history but the stubbornness of myths.

Tiger of Malaya plays from 12th – 23rd September 2018 at the Drama Centre Black Box, performed in English, Malay, Japanese, and Mandarin, with English surtitles. Tickets available from SISTIC

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