Tay, Jean and Kok, Heng Luen and Wong, Chee Wai and Tan, Anthony and Lim, Woan Wen and Lim, Chin Huat and Chee, Mei Rong and Liu, Yong Huay and Tan, Wei Ting and Ong, Ben and Chew, Boon Seng (2014) Senang. [Production]

Item Type: Production
Title: Senang

Senang is an original and ambitious new work written by Jean Tay, commissioned by Drama Box under the Artistic Direction of Kok Heng Luen. The themes and plot are based on true events that occurred in the 1960s on the island of Pulau Senang that was established as a model penal settlement with the aim of reforming prisoners though humane rehabilitation processes.
Under Superintendent Daniel Stanley Dutton, 819 prisoners – detained without trial under the Criminal Law Act – were part of an experiment; partly pragmatic, to alleviate overcrowding in prisons and partly idealistic, in offering productive physical labour working the land, with a degree of trust.
The unique feature of the writing is the way it draws upon historic events and facts and from two great literary classics, one Chinese and one English. The Water Margin allowed exploration of camaraderie amongst outlaws and the changing shifts within a group dynamic; Paradise Lost resonated the flaws in humankind, and echoed the concept of ideals often being impossible to achieve. In all the three source areas lie the seeds of tragedy and the harsh light of reality that savages hopes and dreams.
Performed in Mandarin, English, Hokkien and Cantonese (with English & Chinese surtitles) the work featured an all-male cast of seven and was directed by Kok Hneg Luen. The set was by Wong Chee Wai, with costumes by Anthony Tan; lighting by Lim Woan Wen and sound by Jeffrey Yue.
Drama Box is a non-profit contemporary theatre company formed in 1990. Its mission is to create, present and curate aesthetically compelling theatre with a broad social reach, through deep and intimate engagement.
(Synopsis and Theme)
A promise broken leads to a bloody tragedy.
1960. Pulau Senang, located 15 miles south of Singapore was used in a bold experiment, led by Superintendent Daniel Dutton. He believed he could reform the inmates through labour, and abolished the use of arms to police them. Over the next three years, the detainees transformed the island into a jail without bars, as they constructed the prison settlement from scratch. However, things went horribly wrong on 12 July 1963, when a bloody riot initiated by the detainees led to the death of Dutton and three other officers and the burning of the settlement.


Performer ....... Oliver Chong
Performer ....... Neo Hai Bin
Performer ....... Chad O’Brien
Performer ....... Ong Kian Sin
Performer ....... Rei Poh
Performer ....... Peter Sau
Performer ....... Tay Kong Hui


Playwright ....... Jean Tay
Director/ Artistic Director ....... Kok Heng Leun
Set Design ....... Wong Chee Wai
Costume Design ....... Anthony Tan
Lighting Design ....... Lim Woan Wen
Sound Design ....... Jeffrey Yue
Movement Choreographer ....... Lim Chin Huat
Dramaturgy Assistant ....... Wang Fang
Co-Producers ....... Josephine Lee, Tay Jia Ying
Production Manager ....... Evelyn Chia
Stage Manager ....... Chee Mei Rong
Assistant Stage Manager ....... Liu Yong Huay
Sound Operator ....... Teo Wee Boon
Percussion Instructor ....... Quek Ling Kiong
Translation ....... Cheow Boon Seng
Surtitle Operator ....... Tan Wei Ting, Ben Ong
Resident Artist ....... Koh Hui Ling
Associate Artistic Director ....... Han Xue Mei
Marketing & Publicity ....... Nicole Lim
Front-of-House Manager ....... Amanda Leong

Subjects: Performing Arts
Divisions: Work in process
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2015 06:29
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2015 08:02