- About the Playwright
Off Centre is The Necessary Stage’s landmark play in the history of Singapore theatre. First staged to great acclaim in 1993 under the direction of Alvin Tan, it is best remembered for bringing mental illness and its patients’ plight to the attention of the media and the general public. Over the past 24 years, Off Centre has been made into an experimental feature film, adapted into a television movie, given a full reading in the UK, taught at a University in Kuala Lumpur and translated and staged as Otak Tak Centre in Kuala Lumpur. As one of The Necessary Stage’s landmark works, Off Centre is part of the Singaporean canon of literary works, and is also the first ever Singapore play to be offered as part of the GCE 'O' Levels literature syllabus.
The play uses effective techniques of flashbacks; moving the characters in and out of of their schizophrenic and normal selves to elicit the rational and emotional experiences of Vinod and Saloma, the two young protagonists. It is not an exaggeration to say that the play touched every person in the audience when it was staged in 1993/1994.
Off Centre has also been selected by the Ministry of Education as the first Singapore play to be offered as a GCE ‘O’ Level literature text from 2007, and has been republished by The Necessary Stage. Two editions are now available – a generic edition as well as a student's edition which includes resource notes by Dr Christine Hatton of the National Institute of Education, a special introduction from A/P Kirpal Singh of the Singapore Management University, as well as a foreword by The Necessary Stage’s Artistic Director, Alvin Tan.
“Off Centre marks a new maturity in Singapore theatre, addressing an audience prepared to be challenged.”
—Hannah Pandian, The Straits Times, 3 Sept 1993
Haresh Sharma is Resident Playwright of The Necessary Stage and co-Artistic Director of the annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. To date, he has written about 100 plays. One of these, Off Centre, was selected by the Ministry of Education as a Literature text for ‘N’ and ‘O’ Levels, and republished by The Necessary Stage in 2006. In 2008, Interlogue: Studies in Singapore Literature, Vol. 6, was published by Ethos Books. Written by Prof David Birch and edited by A/P Kirpal Singh, it presents an extensive investigation of Haresh’s work over the past 20 years. A collection of Haresh’s plays was also translated into Mandarin and published as <<哈里斯·沙玛剧作选>> by Global Publishing. In 2010, Epigram Books published Those Who Can’t, Teach.
Haresh was awarded Best Original Script for Fundamentally Happy, Good People and Gemuk Girls during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Life! Theatre Awards respectively. In 2010, the abovementioned plays were published by The Necessary Stage in the Trilogy collection. Most recently, two collections of short plays by Haresh, Shorts 1 and Shorts 2, were published as well. In 2011, Haresh became the first non-American to be awarded the prestigious Goldberg Master Playwright by New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2014, Haresh was awarded the prestigious S.E.A. Write Award.
Cover Type: Softcover
Page Count: 183
Year Published: 2006
Size: 210mm x 135mm