Watching Another Country in Another Country

So we had the fortune of being in Petaling Jaya (okay not so much fortune as planned food trip) to catch Wild Rice’s excellent Another Country while it was staged at the DPAC.

Directed by Singapore’s Ivan Heng and Malaysia’s Jo Kukathas, Another Country that begs the question of our imagined differences between Singapore and Malaysia through a medley of notable Singaporean and Malaysian peoms, novels, plays and writings.

These include our favorite, Emily of Emerald Hill to the Malay Annals. Another Country deftly lead us to believing in our competitive need for differentiation. As a performance of two halves, you’ll find an entirely Malaysian cast performing Sayang Singapura in the first half and a Singaporean cast performing Malaysia @ Random 2 in the second.

To reinforce this ‘competition’, Leow Puay Tin’s Tikam-Tikam session invited the Malaysian audience to select how the Singaporean cast would perform Malaysian stories. I almost let out a chuckle of pride when I overheard a Malaysian whisper “This Siti (Khalijah Zainal) is quite good”.

Together, these disparate stories of laughter, sadness and joy, came together to become greater than a sum of its minced parts. It offered a look beyond the individual texts to realize our corroborated differences and mirrored similarities.

If Another Country is an example of what the arts could achieve through our Malayan connection, then we look forward to this promise.

Catch Another Country in Singapore from 25 June to 11 July.

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