Process

 

1988 - Happy Families (Snap!)

Short Description
Directors' Messages
Josephine Peter

There's no such thing as a "Singaporean play", but there are Singaporean playwrights and "made-in-Singapore" plays.
 

1988 - Round and Round the Dining Table

Short Description
About the Play...

Within a loosely sketched scenario each of the workshoppers adopted a character and was responsible first for scripting this character's part and later for creating this part on stage. Our 2 aims were (1) to create multi-dimensional characters, (2) to involve more people in the scripting of plays.
 

1989 - Bread & Barter/Lanterns Never Go Out

Short Description
The Play's Process

"Lanterns" grew from an idea. What are your aspirations? What is the strongest feeling you have about your childhood? What are your disillusionments, your hopes, your fears? If you were to choose an object to represent your youth, what could it be? The information was then gathered and the first draft of the script evolved.
 

1990 - Those Who Can't, Teach

Short Description
Dialogue... Monologue
Haresh Sharma

A playwright listens... and smiles.
 

1992 - Staged News Vol 1 Issue 1

Short Description
In Retrospect
Julius Foo

This whole process was very stressful and none of us knew where we were heading. The next stage was more focused. The improvisation revolved round the theme "God is coming to visit" and we had to find means of "cleaning" up the place so as to impress "God".
 

1993 - Still Building

Short Description
Process
Josephine Peter

How many directors have the luxury of having a playwright for a member of the cast; an actor who is inspired enough by improvisations to want to write a play and a cast committed and versatile enough to push improvisations to the limit? The play began with the directors largely responsible for shaping and streamlining the various aspects of the process but had evolved into one where the control of the process was shared with Haresh being pivotal in the writing.
 

1993 - Off Centre

Short Description
The Labour of Off Centre

We would like to share with you the nine months of labour. Below is an account of what playwright Haresh Sharma went through during the nine months starting from Day One, 8 Jan 1993.
 

1997 - 9 Lives

Short Description
Playwright's Voice: a Forum on Playwriting

Haresh: It is not so much that I want to reduce my role, but to write a text in terms of working with the ensemble. That means incorporating other aspects of theatre like movement and using texts from the actors themselves. And when I work with directors I tell them: if you can summarise one page of my lines into an action, do it. Because the writing itself is not really the point of the whole play.

2002 - focas #3

Short Description
The Death and Rebirth of the Playwright

Haresh Sharma: Some of the collaborations that I have with Alvin, for example–we stopped using "director" and "playwright", we just say "conceptualised". There are some productions where parts are written by myself, some parts are devised, edited, transcribed and reworked... am I a playwright or do I call myself an editor?
 

2004 - Ask Not

Short Description
Second-Generation Artists 3: Natalie Hennedige

Sean: Can you describe in detail your journey as a director/collaborator?

Natalie: [...] Another method I used was something I picked up as an actor working with Alvin and Haresh in ABUSE SUXXX!!! There was this exercise where we were asked to put on random costumes within a very short span of time and then we were given characters which had very little to do with what we were wearing and we'd start a scene. So I used a variation of that exercise in Lanterns—I gave them random costumes and they started a scene. And that was how the taxi driver character was born! Mani played the taxi driver. I had no idea that I was going to incorporate this taxi driver character. At first I was a little worried about Mani, because he wasn't a very experienced improviser. I mean he had a lot of strong qualities as an actor and his comic potential was a gift from God, but he was uncomfortable with random improvisations. But once he discovered the character of the taxi-driver, his improvisations became unbelievably powerful. A lot of the text that he came up with, I used verbatim and the audience really loved it.

In most cases, this kind of work is transcribed by a volunteer, but I decided to do the transcribing myself, so that I could 'craft' it on the spot. It was a tedious process but very effective. I cut and pasted on the spot, pressed pause and re-wrote certain segments... I was able to capture the best of what the actors had to offer, craft and mould it to suit where I wanted it to go.
 

2010 - Shorts 1

Short Description
Working with Ensembles: Worlds Made Visible by Exploring Literary and Non-literary Vocabularies
Alvin Tan

An ensemble comprises a group of actors working on a project over a substantial period of time. It was impossible in the late 80s and early 90s to employ actors full time, but dedicated ones stayed long enough to workshop a play to fruition.

Two separate ensembles were there with us for Lanterns and More. By the mid-90s, a full-time ensemble came onboard for Hope and Talk 1. Working with ensembles also gave rise to developing physical vocabularies which were applied effectively to More and Talk 1.
 

2010 - Trilogy

Short Description
Preface
Alvin Tan

All the plays emerged from a rigorous three-phase process with substantial intervals in between the phases for ideas to brew. Phase 1 is marked by field work and improvisations. We would interview doctors, lawyers, hospice supervisors, care-givers, ex-political detainees and anyone who could share experiences related to the themes and issues. We would then create characters with the actors and develop them through improvisations.
 

2013 - Don't Forget to Remember Me

Short Description
Foreword
Alvin Tan

Whilst Haresh has been the sole face-to-face interviewer-researcher, I often embark on another strategy—to obtain stories on Facebook. A Facebook status update often brings forth a pool of volunteers who wish to share their stories but prefer to remain anonymous.
 

2014 - Best Of

Short Description
Working with Siti Khalijah Zainal and Haresh Sharma
Alvin Tan

The Alvin Tan-Haresh Sharma collaborative methodology started with The Necessary Stage's Lanterns Never Go Out. It involved an intensive interview with an actor, Low Kah Wei. Haresh then wrote the script. After workshopping it and several re-stagings, it was finally staged at the 1990 Singapore Arts Festival at the old Drama Centre. That approach has been refined over the 27 years of the company's existence, and has become a methodology from which we draw from and are still developing.