The human lefts series: postmodern self-reflexivity and post -independence Singaporean theater

  • Lim Kok Wai Benny

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This critical review serves as a significant formal documentation of the postmodern self-reflexive theatre in the postmodern and post-independence Singapore. Through the Human Lefts Series, which I conceptualised and performed between 2005 and 2009, we are able to look at postmodern Singapore theatre beyond issues relating to the loss of cultural and historical past, which might not be significant for those who were born after 1965. The situation is such that, currently, there is no formal documentation of postmodern self-reflexive theatre in the Singapore context, especially theatre pieces responding to postmodern, post-independence Singapore. This critical review aims to detail analysis made from the Human Lefts Series and its significant contribution to the study of self-reflexivity.

    More relevant issues to the postmodern Singapore include the current political situation, alternative sexualities (homosexuality and transexualism explored in the Human Lefts Series), and the effect of 'cloning' and appropriation being the key cultural dominant of Singapore. By the end 2009, a total of four pieces of works under the Human Lefts umbrella was showcased to the public. Three main outputs will be discussed in this review.

    The study aims to answer the following research questions:

    I. What is self-reflexivity in the postmodern, post-independence Singapore context?

    2. How has the Human Lefts Series responded to the self-reflexivity defined in this research?

    3. How has the concept of self-reflexivity affected the process of creating the
    Human Lefts Series?

    4. What further inferences can be made, in relation to postmodern theories, from the process of creating the Human Lefts Series?

    This portfolio also highlights the absence of a physical rehearsal process for the Human Lefts Series. With a clear performance structure, a performer can walk into the performance and begin the delivery of the performance immediately. There is also a discussion on the functions of a performer in a postmodern self-reflexive theatre, in relation to Roland Barthes' essay on The Death of the Author. The performer's experience cannot be totally separated from the character in a postmodern self­ reflexive performance.

    The portfolio consists of the main body of text (the review), a set of appendices and the video recording of the three research outputs. It is recommended to watch the video recording (performances) prior to reading this review.
    Date of AwardNov 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRichard Hand (Supervisor) & Stephen Lacey (Supervisor)


    • Theater
    • Singapore
    • History

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