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___ Can Change

(2021)

Theatre; 90 minutes
with The Necessary Stage, dir. Alvin Tan

Role: Multimedia Designer


Today we're talking about change.

We believe that we have it in us to change—and change for the better. We would like to distinguish between right and wrong behaviours.

Basic values must be upheld and must stand as the cornerstone of any modern society we live in. For example, we need to create social stability, harmony and security. We must protect and promote strong family bonds. Decadent Western lifestyles and divisiveness through activism must be rejected. Socially irresponsible behaviours such as racism, religious intolerance and alternative lifestyles threaten our moral fabric, and are therefore rejected by the government.

If we are not upholding the basic values of our society, we must change. We would like to present three plays about change: Indians Can Change, Homosexuals Can Change, and Marxists Can Change.

Please enjoy the performance. We look forward to an engaging discussion.

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First staged in 2010 at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, ____ Can Change’s restating in 2021 allowed us to re-design the show. Consisting of three small plays, the work adopted the tone of a corporate, seminar-style, PSA-by-government-agency lecture. The show was designed to be under-designed, devoid of the amount of symbolisms, narrative arc, or pathos one might otherwise expect in a theatre production.

As a multimedia designer, my designs had to be both visually and emotionally minimalist. They had to be diegetic, existing in the same world as the characters as presentation “slides” that they can point to as they speak. They existed only to serve a function: of delivering information in this “lecture”.

Therefore, for the work, I studied and emulated a style called “corporate Memphis.” First invented by the Memphis Group in the 1980s, the style is marked by its used of simple lines,
shapes, and colours. However, today’s “corporate Memphis” is often used as a pejorative, to denote the ubiquity of flat, cartoonish illustrations that you see peddled by large companies and corporations – as something that looks polished and pleasant, but ultimately superficial and vacant.


Reviews
2021 — Bak Chor Mee Boy "Review: '_____ Can Change' by The Necessary Stage"
2021 — The Straits Times "Theatre review: The Necessary Stage challenges you to change your mind"
2021 — 剧读 thea.preter "剧评:____ Can Change"

Credits
Playwright: Haresh Sharma
Director: Alvin Tan
Performers:  Joshua Lim, Karen Tan, Masturah Oli, and Tan Guo Lian Sutton
Lighting Designer and Set Coordinator: Liu Yong Huay
Multimedia Designer: Jevon Chandra
Costume Designer: MAX.TAN