The rest of the menagerie

Featured in: The Chronicles Of One And Zero: Kancil by Zeugma; Human Bestiary by Principio...; and BI(CARA) by Pink Gajah Theatre

What to expect: These shows may not fit into neat categories, but are united in that they deal with the relationship modern man has with animals, whether real or folkloric.

With festival commission The Chronicles Of One And Zero: Kancil, new collective Zeugma packages the tales of Sang Kancil, a witty mousedeer from the ancient Malay fable Hikayat Sang Kancil, for a modern audience.

Inserted in the retelling of Sang Kancil's tales is a commentary on industrialisation and how it affects "the forests of history", says director Rizman Putra, 37. He also performs in the piece as part of collective NADA with Safuan Johari and Gloria Tan.


  • WHERE: Esplanade Theatre Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Jan 13 to 16, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $22


  • WHERE: The Substation Theatre, 45 Armenian Street

    WHEN: Jan 22 and 23, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $22

  • BI(CARA)

  • WHERE: Black Box, Centre 42, 42 Waterloo Street

    WHEN: Jan 21 and 22, 8pm; Jan 23, 3pm; Jan 24, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $22

The hour-long interdisciplinary work incorporates body projection mapping and animated sequences, alongside syair and puisi, traditional forms of Malay poetry. It will be presented in Malay with English surtitles.

In BI(CARA), another Fringe commission, performer Sharda Harrison from Pink Gajah Theatre explores the relationship that modern humans share with animals.

"Bicara" is a Malay and Bahasa Indonesia word meaning to discuss, while "cara" means "how".

Harrison, 28, was inspired by a talk her father, Singapore Zoo's former chief Bernard Harrison, gave, entitled Why Do We Do What We Do?, which touched on the ethics surrounding how man treats animals.

She will play four characters in the hour-long piece: a "cat lady" who feeds community cats; an orang utan keeper who treats animals better than humans; a shaman; and herself talking about her own "irrational fear" of snakes despite growing up with them.

She says: "I hope we all go back into our hearts and rethink our relationship with the animal."

All-female production Human Bestiary, by Mexican theatre group Principio..., will walk further on the wild side. It deals with animal extinction due to man's actions.

The group's spokesman says: "In the end, we are all related to one another... if we don't change our behaviour as a species, we won't last here much longer."

The 90-minute show is as unapologetically confrontational as it is entertaining, utilising a live DJ and video projections.

Nabilah Said

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2015, with the headline 'The rest of the menagerie'. Print Edition | Subscribe