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- The Straits Times
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Gallery Theatre, National Museum of Singapore
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An old woman’s recollection of romance under the Japanese occupation of Singapore causes her young interviewer to re-evaluate life, memory and history.
Written by award-winning and acclaimed playwright Huzir Sulaiman, Occupation weaves the true story of Huzir’s grandmother, Mrs Mohamed Siraj, with the experiences of the fictional character Sarah. Mrs Siraj was a young woman in her teens during the war years and spent most of the occupation sequestered in her large family home. Later, in her eighties, Mrs Siraj is interviewed by Sarah, a bureaucrat tasked with collating Singapore’s oral history. In looking at the past, Sarah struggles with questions of her own life in modern day Singapore.
Occupation first premiered in 2002 as a Singapore Arts Festival commission. The Straits Times hailed it as “a triumph of a production”. TODAY said that “Occupation is a gem in the history of the theatre”, while the Arts Magazine said “Sulaiman’s script is lyrical, nuanced and highly literate”.
Directed by Claire Wong and starring Jo Kukathas, Checkpoint Theatre’s new 10th anniversary production of Occupation is an intimate journey through the labyrinth of memories of love and loss, and a celebration of that which has passed and that which remains forever. Vivid, humourous and beautiful.