2022 Edition


Screening Details

May 11, 2022 at 2 PM
Thomson Hall room 317, UW Seattle
Registration is required and seating is limited.

Play Description

As the Singapore Bicentennial is celebrated, six young people form a group called Raffles Must Fall to examine the country’s colonial legacy. During their gatherings, they pore over forgotten texts and artefacts, re-enacting scenes from the past to better understand the nightmare of subjugation… and the dream of self-determination.

Drawing upon a wealth of historical documentation, including speeches, newspaper articles, petitions and songs, “Merdeka / 獨立 /சுதந்திரம்” confronts viewers with questions about the colonial past and how it still echoes through our present and into our future.

Why celebrate the beginning of colonialism rather than its end? Has Singapore gained independence without truly undergoing a process of decolonisation? And if Raffles must fall, what will he take down with him?

Written by the award-winning Alfian Sa’at in collaboration with up-and-coming playwright Neo Hai Bin, this provocative and moving new play examines how our history and humanity have been shaped – and shattered – by the forces of colonialism.

Writer Bio

Alfian Sa'at. Writer of the play Merdeka.Alfian Sa’at is the Resident Playwright of Wild Rice. His published works include three collections of poetry, ‘One Fierce Hour’, ‘A History of Amnesia’ and ‘The Invisible Manuscript’, a collection of short stories, ‘Corridor’, a collection of flash fiction, ‘Malay Sketches’, three collections of plays as well as the published play ‘Cooling Off Day’.

In 2001, Alfian won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature. He has also been nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize three times, for ‘Corridor’ (1999, Commendation Prize), ‘A History of Amnesia’ (2004) and his translation of the novel ‘The Widower’ (2016).

Alfian has won Best Original Script at the Life! Theatre Awards four times, for ‘Landmarks’ (2004), ‘Nadirah’ (2010), ‘Kakak Kau Punya Laki’ (Your Sister’s Husband, 2013) and Hotel’ (with Marcia Vanderstraaten, 2016). He is also the co-artistic director of the biennial Singapore Theatre Festival.