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Preview: Charlie by Bhumi Collective

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After not one but two successful runs overseas at the On the Rocks Festival and Edinburgh Student Arts Festival (winning the Best Performing Artist Award) in 2017, Bhumi Collective will finally present the Singapore premiere of Charlie, a unique, experimental performance by Victoria Chen.

Charlie is unusual in that it takes the form of a 15-minute one-on-one experience in which the audience member enters a room and interacts with the titular twelve year old Charlie, who has spent the majority of her life within these four walls. Within these four walls is a sterile room, in which Charlie has been completely sheltered from the world around her, brought up to believe that there is an unknown danger beyond her room, and that the world has made a sacrifice for her to remain safe in her room. Yet she knows that one day, her time will come where she too will have to meet this outside world.

Charlie was conceived as in the aftermath of political upheavals like Brexit and the appointment of Donald Trump as the latest President of the United States of America. Says Bhumi Collective Joint Artistic Director Mohamad Shaifulbahri: “As Victoria and I were both based in the United Kingdom (UK) back then, Brexit was something that was a living and breathing thing for us, and what consequently happened with Trump did not feel too far away. Now that we are back in Singapore, we are fascinated by how such events are clearly life-changing for some, yet a distant reality for others. How do we grapple with the reverberations of something that does not impact us directly?”

With Charlie as a tabula rasa, Charlie aims to give audience members the burgeoning responsibility of shaping a girl’s idea of the world through their words and how they feel about the world they are bringing the girl into, challenging their understanding of the world they live in through gentle introspection.

Says Victoria: “A lot of conversations happening around the world now are filled with judgment and scaremongering. How do you justify and explain all these sentiments to a child who did not have any part in it?” If your words were the only thing a little girl could hang on to in this maddening world, what would you say to her? Find out for yourself in this unique performance, where the only thing you should expect, is the unexpected.

Charlie plays at Goodman Arts Centre from 20th November to 7th December 2018. To book tickets, visit their website here

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