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The Struggle: Years Later

“In Struggle, disagreement easily arises among the workers over whether or not to accept delayed payment and a cash reward from their employer for working longer hours. As the play progresses, it becomes apparent to the audience and readers that the capitalist employer has all along intended to deceive the workers with false promises of rewards. The illusion of material gain ironically causes division among the workers.”

– Quah Sy Ren

In 1969, Kuo Pao Kun wrote and directed The Struggle, which was banned by the government two weeks before its opening. The artistic team was forced to replace the performance with poetry recital and skits. The Struggle remained as Kuo Pao Kun’s only script yet to be staged. It reflects upon the social turmoil resulting from rapid urban development and people’s struggles against these changes back in the 70s.

40 years later, Liu Xiaoyi leads an eclectic ensemble to re-imagine and interpret this playtext by questioning its relationship and relevance to modern times.

Date: 16 – 26 July 2015

Venue: Creative Cube @ LASALLE College of the Arts

Festival: M1 Chinese Theatre Festival

Script Adaptation and Director: Liu Xiaoyi

Sound Artist: Darren Ng

Lighting Designer: Lim Woan Wen

Assistant Director: Ric Liu

Cast: Yang Shi Bin, Kuo Jing Hong, Doreen Toh, Hung Chit Wah, Felix and Chong Woon Yong

“If you are looking for an honest play based on the banned script, then you will not find it here. The director has no intention of putting up a play relating the struggle during the 1960s; he is more interested in finding out: so, what now? Years Later, after the incident of a play that was banned, what is left of that generation? What is the next generation doing? … Liu’s direction highlights the essence of humanity from Kuo Pao Kun’s script and brings that essence to a new audience.”

— Sam Kee,Centre42,17 July 2015

“Liu’s evocation of real people trying to make peace with their past mournfully suggests how censorship breaks artists… One wishes Liu had given more meat to the play instead of mostly mood and evocation, because there is so much to say about the play, the circumstances of its ban and the impact of censorship on artists. But ghosts, one supposes, can’t and won’t be hurried.”

— Helmi Yusof,The Business Times,24 July 2015