Huayi – Chinese Festival Of Arts 2020

Play judge in murder tale

Put on by theatre collective GroundZ-0, Prism Of Truth (above) is a murder mystery in which audiences vote on how they think the death happened.
Put on by theatre collective GroundZ-0, Prism Of Truth (above) is a murder mystery in which audiences vote on how they think the death happened.

Who is the killer?

You get to be the judge of that in Prism Of Truth, a murder mystery in which audiences vote on how they think the death happened and thus decide the outcome of the play.

The drama will not just unfold onstage, but also online.

For a change, audiences are encouraged to check their phones during the play, as new information will be disseminated through social media such as Facebook.

"What is the ultimate truth?" asks Zelda Tatiana Ng, the play's director and co-writer. "Is there one?"

Prism Of Truth is inspired by Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa's seminal 1950 film, in which the events leading up to a murder are recounted from four conflicting perspectives.

"What the movie depicts really reflects our own situation in the present time," says Ng, 50.

"In the modern world, there are so many versions of the truth everywhere - social media, the press, real-life accounts - which one is the truth?"

Prism Of Truth is by GroundZ-0, a young theatre collective founded by Ng that made its debut at the 2018 Singapore International Festival of Arts with 0600, a mixed-media show that drew on part of the National Gallery Singapore's past as the former Supreme Court.

 
 
 

The new play centres on the death of a high-ranking police officer, who was in a bar one night with his wife, a teacher, when they crossed paths with a successful young entrepreneur.

The audience will get to hear from these characters, as well as witnesses such as a security guard, a driver and a man who works in a religious institution.

There are no seats for the 11/2-hour performance, but audience members may sit on the floor or move around during the show. Ng recommends comfortable footwear.

  • BOOK IT /PRISM OF TRUTH

  • WHERE: Esplanade Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Jan 31, 8pm; Feb 1, 3 and 8pm; Feb 2, 3pm; Feb 4 and 5, 8pm

    ADMISSION:  $38 from Sistic

    INFO:  No admission for ages below 13. Recommended for 16 years and above. Performed in a mix of Mandarin, English and some Chinese dialects with no surtitles. No latecomer entry or re-entry.

At the end, audiences will get to choose among a number of options of how the death occurred, which will decide the ending they are then presented with.

"You don't know who is telling the truth," says Ng, "because everyone is so believable."

Olivia Ho

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2020, with the headline 'Play judge in murder tale'. Print Edition | Subscribe