Being Haresh Sharma
Presented by: The Necessary Stage in collaboration with Cake Theatrical Productions
Directed by Natalie Hennedige
Being Haresh Sharma is a work that looks at Haresh’s body of writing over 30 years. It makes bold, unexpected links and associations, mapping stories and characters in ways that surface the social, political and spiritual aspects of life here; bringing it all together with unexpected and exciting performance energy, sparking new ways of looking at his words and of experiencing performance and theatre.
(Synopsis taken from http://www.necessary.org/index.php/main-season )
Mr Haresh Sharma came down to Eunoia Junior College, delivering a talk during Deep Dive Day 4 about being a playwright in Singapore. One point which resonated deeply with me was how Mr Sharma often sought to bring in various controversies and perspectives in his plays, many of which are unpredictable leaving the audience with mixed feelings (I’m sure those who attended the talk would feel the same way).
I was so intrigued by the talk to the point where I actually wanted to watch a full length play written by him (not kidding!). So when the opportunity arose, I dragged my sister along with me to catch “Being Haresh Sharma” last Sunday.
“Being Haresh Sharma” was not written by Mr Sharma, but comprised of a collation of his multiple works. The play was split into about 7 parts* with each part being a mini play focused on a specific theme. For example, Detention, Grief, Sickness and many more.
I came to the performance without expecting much. After all, I had never watched any of Mr Sharma’s plays before. The play started off in a lighthearted manner as it poked fun at the founding of Singapore by Sang Nila Utama and Sir Stamford Raffles. As the play progressed, the stories got darker, exploring themes such as the detention of suspected political opposers by the government, the relationships between foreign maids and the families they serve, and suicide. One thing that struck me was the unexpected plot twists throughout the play. Occasionally, there were times where I could only grasp the gist of the play. There were also certain disturbing scenes (A girl whom I believe was a prostitute describing how she had sex with a black sailor to another prostitute. Another scene was when a son tried to kill his mother.) which left me feeling quite uncomfortable.
I had numerous questions regarding the play when it ended. Who was the protagonist? Who was the antagonist? What happened in the end? All these were very vague and unclear at times. For example, the resolution to the conflict presented in the play was ambiguous, leaving the audience to infer and guess how the story ended.
Overall, I felt that the play was indeed an eye-opener and a very unique experience for me. In all honesty, I could not translate my feelings about the play into spoken words. I could not decide whether I was disturbed by the controversies or just relieved that there was an ambiguous close to the conflict. But one thing I am sure, is that I will definitely be back to watch more of Mr Sharma’s plays!
I guess, this is why the Arts exists. It evokes emotions in a human being that are inexpressible by words. It leads us into exploring a separate dimension of life. It enriches the soul.
“Being Haresh Sharma” is longer being shown but you can always look out for his other plays in future!