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The Island

Date:1 - 5 May 2002

Venue:The Warehouse (Havelock Road)


Two convicts are incarcerated in the prison of an island. Winston, a boor, has been sentenced to life imprisonment while the other man, John, faces ten years of penal servitude.


Days crawl by during their jail term, they are made to dig sand interminably on the beach, which is only one of the trying disciplinary orders they have to abide by. However, the quotidian toil does not rob them of their unremitting will to live.


Sharing the same cell, they rely on their vicarious imagination to dramatize a small slice of life every single day. Despite the harshness of camp time, they manage to create a period for personal gratification daily, when laughter and dance need not be restrained. Fired with a common enthusiasm for acting, they even decide to put up a small extract of the ancient Greek tragedy Antigone to an audience of prisoners and wardens.


As the rehearsal approach the end, John is awarded an early release. His prison term has been mitigated to allow him to leave in three months.


Winston is thus forced to come to terms with the fact that he will have to spend his remaining years in jail till his death. Rationality is shattered; the concomitant friendship and trust built up over the years of long-term detention are also put to the test. Nevertheless, the play must still be staged. And as Winston the boor fleshes out his part as Antigone, he causes the unexpected by letting out resounding cries, indecipherable utterances that etch vividly on everyone’s mind.



“Should future performances rise to all the possibilities engendered by the play, there will be a pot of gold at the end of every island.”

Adele Tan,The Flying Inkpot,3 May 2002

Art originates from life. Theatre is like a mirror that reflects the people and happenings in life from a different perspective, encouraging us to look within ourselves and to observe the ways of others.

Kuo Jian Hong | Artistic Director