Singapore playwright Alfian Sa’at tackles the immigration debate


“Cook A Pot Of Curry” references an intriguing incident reported in the media some two years ago, in which a mainland Chinese family quarreled with a neighbouring Singaporean Indian family, because they could not bear the smell of the curry the latter cooked at home.

The incident went on to spark a lively discussion in Singapore about immigration and the Singaporean way of life.

For “Cook A Pot Of Curry”, Alfian interviewed some 40 people from different walks of life to get their opinions on immigration, before curating them and presenting them in the form of a play.

“I think for me the process has been a very organic one, because both the director and actors have been instrumental in shaping the raw material (the interviews we conducted with various respondents on the issue of immigration) into performance pieces.

“I’m lucky that many of my interviewees were willing to open up and share their stories in such a frank manner.”

“I think what helped also was the fact that they could opt to use pseudonyms if they wanted to, and that they would have an actor ‘representing’ them,” said Alfian.

“Documentary theatre, as opposed to documentary film, offered my respondents a kind of protective shield, where they could freely express themselves without explicitly putting themselves in the line of fire. “

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