Play Den Productions
Gani Karim Abdul is a confused man. Born in Singapore to a Eurasian Catholic who converted to Islam to marry a Malay Muslim, he grew up in a Chinese neighbourhood and attended a Methodist school. His upbringing was filled with both religious and cultural conflicts and it is an experience that he explores in his solo theatre piece Salusuah.
Written and performed by Abdul and directed by Jeremiah Choy of Play Den Productions, the show is part of this year's City Festival at the Hong Kong Fringe Club. It sets out to look at how different cultures and religions can coexist.
'The issue of identity is very relevant in the Singapore context, and it's getting more relevant in the Asian and world context,' says Choy. 'Look around us - a lot of the struggles that are happening are about identity. Who we are, who we have become, and what we want to go back to.'
He says Abdul's upbringing can be very confusing 'but it is how Gani journeys within himself, drawing from the dual cultures and coming to terms, thus making peace within himself, that is the crux of the story.'
If the world realises cultures and religions can coexist sooner, there will be fewer conflicts, Choy says. 'It is just a matter of understanding and trying.'
Salusuah is made up of a monologue, which is enhanced by video and sound. Abdul will also sing and dance/move to the piece, making it a performance of physical and metaphysical theatre.
'He will bring us through a journey - spiritual, emotional and physical - of a very troubled time of his life,' says Choy.
When the show was staged in Singapore, it had a huge stage representing a 'cross' and the audience sat on three sides. The Fringe Studio set will be smaller and open to just one side.
'Also, we need to redefine some of the presentational style to enhance the meanings and context of the play for the Hong Kong audience,' says Choy.
This is the first time the production travels out of the Lion City but other destinations - Kuala Lumpur and Sydney - are now in the pipeline.
Other than 'world peace', it is hoped the show will also promote the message of tolerance. 'It's within our DNA to forgive and forget. We can live together whoever we are, whatever we believe. We just need to try harder,' says Choy.
Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Rd, Central, HK$150. Inquiries: 2521 7251