Arts Singapore Theatre

Preview: ASYLUM by Intercultural Theatre Institute

This May, Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) presents ASYLUM, an original work devised with playwright Jean Tay and director Oliver Chong, and 12 graduating actor-students from seven countries.

The piece is inspired by the long-forgotten histories of Singapore’s old quarantine sites, resulting in sometimes surreal, sometimes downright horrifying imagery, from a tiger lurking outside the building, to a doctor attempts treatment using unorthodox methods. Within the high walls of the neglected facility, a patient hatches an escape plan.

Playwright Jean says of creating this play, “I have a deep interest in the forgotten histories of old quarantine sites in Singapore, such as the Trafalgar Home, a leprosy colony that closed in 1993. So it’s very exciting to get to uncover these narratives, with the National Library Creative Residency that I’m currently on and this devised piece. It has given the actors and me the playground to devise different scenarios and breathe life into the characters they’ve created. I hope the audience will be moved by their voices and draw out some broader lessons from the play.”

Director Oliver shares of the original work’s timely nature, “The issues this work raises are very relevant, especially since we are living in a pandemic. Looking back at the history of pandemics, when humans are driven by fear of unknown diseases, we inevitably resort to social ostracism and discrimination against those suffering. So looking at the world now, has humanity really progressed? What has the pandemic taught us? We want our audience to reflect on that.”

ITI’s graduating cohort performs two publicly presented plays as part of their curriculum. ASYLUM is their first graduation show for 2022. ASYLUM’s cast comprises Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing, Ismael Gallaza Pantao, Jemima Dunn, Kaleem Zafar, Karlwinn, Ng Yuan Ci, Oliver S. K. Wu, Peh Jun Kai, Ruthi Lalrinawmi, Wan Ahmad, Will Wong Keng Ip, and Wong Jin Yi.

ASYLUM plays from 26th to 28th May 2022 at the SOTA Studio Theatre. Tickets available from Peatix

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