A satire on stereotyping

V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR

After the success of Being Mrs Gandhi in 2019, HuM Theatre's plans to produce more plays were rudely thwarted by Covid-19.

Husband and wife Subin Subaiah and Daisy Irani, who run the company, spent more than a year doing online projects and taking part in talks, panel discussions and shows remotely.

Now the pair have decided that "enough is enough" and come out with a play "that will rejuvenate the audience's interest in the wonder of theatre" and raise "a chuckle or two which is the best remedy to get all of us out of the year's gloom".

The new HuM Theatre production Jihad Jones And The Kalashnikov Babes, a satirical comedy by Egyptian playwright Yussef El Guindi, will be staged at the Drama Centre Black Box (The National Library) from May 14 to June 6.

The play uses the genre of farce to reflect on how people are stereotyped simply based on impressions that are derived from the fashion in which they are portrayed in films, particularly Hollywood blockbusters.

"If we in Singapore want to move from being a multicultural society to an intercultural society, the first thing we have to abandon is viewing each other as some manufactured stereotypical image of our race," said Subin.

"This play examines just that.

"For instance, how quickly we jump to judgement and decide that a person who is dressed differently has mal-intent or is a threat to our well-being. It's a judgement not based on first-hand experience but on a popularised notion of it.

"This play takes this problem by the throat and tries to reset our perspectives on stereotyping, albeit in a comedic, light-hearted way."

Yussef's script is intelligent and tackles complex problems of art versus bigotry. It is a theme that falls exactly within the mantra of HuM Theatre's philosophy of using the lens of comedy to reflect on social issues that distress the fabric of our society.

"Jihad Jones And The Kalashnikov Babes is wildly entertaining but audiences will go home with an appreciation of how challenging it is for stereotypes to fight their false image," said Subin.

The play is directed by Yogesh Tadwalkar, with Megan Elizabeth Barker the assistant director. The actors are Daisy, Subin, Gautam Marathe, Daisy Mitchell and Sajni. Tickets priced at $65 are available at sistic.com.sg. HuM Theatre is a "not for profit" company and the proceeds from the ticket sales will help support the arts and its participants.

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