Hot issues on stage
by Foo Rong En (Photos: W!ld Rice)
With the fiery debate on immigration policies in Singapore comes an even hotter play. Cook a Pot of Curry revolves around the pressing issues of integration and national identity.
Written by renowned playwright Alfian Sa’at and directed by Wild Rice’s Associate Artistic Director Glen Goei, the play presents the viewpoints of people from all walks of life in Singapore.
The six cast members took on multiple roles each. From a disgruntled China scholar who felt that there were too many other scholars in Singapore to a frustrated Indian man complaining that a Chinese waiter was unable to understand his orders, no stone was left unturned in this comedic yet thought-provoking play.
With effortless accents and coordination amongst the cast, many scenarios exploring the pros and cons of the government’s immigration policies were played out. On the one hand the cast played alienated locals who believed their jobs had been taken away by foreigners, and on the other, Singaporeans unwilling to do menial and service-related jobs, contributing to a labour shortage.
The play also highlighted Singapore’s “addiction” to cheap labour. Appalling work conditions and the issue of sacrificing human rights at the expense of economic growth were brought to the viewer’s attention, the serious undertone jarring with the general humourousness.
Look out for the jibe at the Miss Singapore costume, supposedly a sign of patriotism, in a segment that spoofed the pageant with an display of outrageous costumes that looked hilariously like the real thing.
The sarcasm was almost painful when a character gave a word of “advice”: “If you are an up and coming designer, the best way for you to destroy your career is to design the Miss Singapore costume.” A healthy warning indeed. Each segment will keep you in stitches while reflecting on the implications of the immigration policy.
At the end of the play, it is up to you to judge the merits of current immigration policy, but a good laugh is guaranteed.