Off Centre

30 May, 2017
haresh-sharma

Photo credit: The Straits Times

“Off Centre” by Haresh Sharma is The Necessary Stage’s landmark play, which was first staged in September 1993 at The Drama Centre. It is one of Sharma’s most famous plays, best remembered for bringing mental illness and its patients’ plights to the attention of the media and the public.The play uses effective techniques of flashbacks by moving the characters in and out of their schizophrenic andnormal selves to elicit the rational and emotional experiences of two schizophrenics – Vinod and Saloma. The play was originally commissioned by the Ministry of Health, which withdrew financial support after Sharma refused to soften his portrayal of mental maladies. It struck such a chord, however, that it was made into an experimental feature film, adapted into a television movie and, in 2007, was the first Singapore play to be offered as part of the O-level literature syllabus.The play has been re-staged multiple times, most recently in 2015 under the Esplanade’s “Studios: fifty” celebration of iconic Singaporean theatre. Recently, the play was mentioned in a Straits Times article which featured the non-profit theatre company’s “30 years of making theatre”. (The article can be found here: http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/30-years-of-making-theatre).

Haresh Sharma (Alumnus, Dept of English Language and Literature) has been writing plays since 1988 and has had 30 plays to his credit, all of which have been staged. His plays are consistently acclaimed by theatre critics in Singapore, and he has received awards for his writing. In 1997, Haresh Sharma was awarded the Young Artist Award for Theatre by the National Arts Council. 

A work inspired by Sharma’s scripts, ‘Being Haresh Sharma’ by Natalie Hennedige, will be staged at the Drama Centre Theatre from 29 June to 2 July 2017.

To find out more about the play you may click here:http://www.necessary.org/index.php/main-season/#beinghareshsharma. Alternatively, you can buy the book here.