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Sharma, Haresh 1965(?)-

Sharma, Haresh 1965(?)-

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1965, in Singapore; son of Parmanand Rijharam (in business) and Nanki (a homemaker) Sharma. Ethnicity: "Indian." Education: National University of Singapore, B.A., 1990; University of Birmingham, England, M.A., 1996.

ADDRESSES:

Office—The Necessary Stage, Marine Parade Community Bldg., 278 Marine Parade Rd., Ste. B1-2, Singapore 449282. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

The Necessary Stage (theater group), Singapore, resident playwright, 1990—. Playwright and tutor at Interplay Australia, 1999, and Interplay Europe, 2000.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Still Building chosen to represent Singapore at the 1992 Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre; Singapore Literature Prize, 1993, for Still Building and Lanterns Never Go Out; Shell-National Arts Council for the Arts scholarship, 1994; Singapore Book Prize, 1996, for Still Building; Young Artist award, National Arts Council, 1997; Best Original Script at the Life Theatre Awards, 2007, for Fundamentally Happy, and 2008, for Good People. fellowships from British Council, Singapore, and U.S. Information Service.

WRITINGS:

PUBLISHED PLAYS

Lanterns Never Go Out (produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1990), published in the collection Still Building, EPB Publishers (Singapore), 1994.

This Chord and Others: A Collection of Plays (produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 1991), Minerva Press (Atlanta, GA), 1999.

More (produced in 1991), published in the collection Still Building, EPB Publishers (Singapore), 1994.

Off Centre (produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1993), Ethos Books (Singapore), 2000.

Still Building (produced in Singapore, at Guinness Theatre, 1994), published in the collection Still Building, EPB Publishers (Singapore), 1994.

Top of the World (produced in 1995), published in This Chord and Others: A Collection of Plays, Minerva Press (Atlanta, GA), 1999.

(With Alin Mosbit and Alvin Tan) Rosnah (produced in Singapore, at Guinness Theatre, 1996), published in This Chord and Others: A Collection of Plays, Minerva Press (Atlanta, GA), 1999.

OTHER PLAYS

Rigor Mortis, produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1989.

Those Who Can't, Teach, produced in Singapore, at Substation, Guinness Theatre, 1990.

MCP, produced at Forum Theatre, 1993.

Mixed Blessings, produced at Forum Theatre, 1993.

Three Years in the Life and Death of Land, produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1994.

Talk, produced in Singapore, at Substation, Guinness Theatre, 1994.

Waiting, produced at Tampines Regional Library Theatre, 1994.

The Chosen One, 1994.

Mother's Day, 1995.

Lizard, produced at Shell Theatre, 1996.

October, produced in Singapore, at Substation, Guinness Theatre, 1996.

Galileo (I Feel the Earth Move), produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1997.

Pillars, produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1997.

Land, produced in Singapore, at Substation, Guinness Theatre, 1997.

Sea, produced in Singapore, at Substation, Guinness Theatre, 1997.

Walking into Doors, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 1998.

Superfriends at the Hall of Justice, produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1998.

Untitled Man Number One, produced in Singapore, at Singapore Art Museum Theatre, 1998.

(With Paddy Chew and Alvin Tan) Completely with/out Character, produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 1999.

Exodus, produced at Gay World Stadium, 1999.

Sex.violence.blood.gore, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 1999.

Under the Last Dust, produced in Singapore, at Victoria Theatre, 2000.

Untitled Women Number One, produced in Singapore, at the Necessary Stage Blackbox, 2000.

Talk (3some), produced in Singapore, at the Necessary Stage Blackbox, 2000.

Abuse Suxx!!!, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 2001.

(With Kuo Pan Kun and Chong Tze Chien) One Hundred Years in Waiting, produced in Singapore, at Victoria Theatre, 2001.

Untitled Cow Number One, produced in Singapore, at The Necessary Stage Blackbox, 2001.

Koan, 2003.

Oh Man!, produced in Singapore, at Marine Parade Community Building, 2003.

(Coauthor) Revelations, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 2003.

godeatgod, produced in Singapore, at the Necessary Stage Blackbox, 2004.

Mardi Gras, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 2004.

Top or Bottom, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 2004.

Such Sweet Sorrow, 2004.

What Big Bombs You Have!!!, 2005.

Boxing Day: The Tsunami Project, produced in Singapore, at Jubilee Hall, 2005.

(Coauthor) Separation 40, produced at Esplanade Theatre Studio, 2005.

Fundamentally Happy, produced in Singapore, at the Necessary Stage Blackbox, 2006.

(Coauthor) Mobile, produced in Singapore, at Drama Centre, 2006.

Survivor Singapore, produced in Singapore, by the Necessary Stage and Cake Theatrical Productions, 2007.

OTHER

Contributor to anthologies, including Theatre in Southeast Asia: A Special Focus on Australasian Drama Studies, 1994. Contributor to periodicals, including Telegraph (Calcutta, India).

SIDELIGHTS:

For Haresh Sharma and his colleagues at the Necessary Stage theatre company in Singapore, noted Asiaweek contributor Alejandro Reyes, "blurred boundaries are a good thing." The gradual evolution of Singaporean society into a more Western model has opened up playwright Sharma to new opportunities to explore previously taboo subjects, including race, religion, and homosexuality. While a bureaucratic process still characterizes the production of most plays, "Sharma says he doesn't feel constrained as to what he can or cannot write," said Reyes, adding that the playwright was working on a story about two drag queens "that he wants to be performed by real transsexuals."

In Rosnah, a collaboration by Sharma, Alin Mosbit, and Alvin Tan, the title character is a young Singaporean woman on her own as a college student in England. The culture clash challenges Rosnah, and life gets more complicated when she becomes involved with an Anglo man. When she brings her "Ang-Mo" boyfriend home for the holidays, reported James S. Moy in Theatre Journal, "parental expectations coupled with her boyfriend's notion of how Asian women should behave collide to create another chaos from which Rosnah can only emerge a stronger person." In Moy's view, Sharma and company created an engaging narrative heightened by the stagecrafters' use of video and song to "show the improvisatory process behind the production."

Sharma once told CA: "I always feel I'm one of the most fortunate playwrights in the world. I have been working full time as a playwright with a theatre company for twelve years. Every play that I write is staged. Working with the Necessary Stage also means that I get to teach and conduct workshops, and write a variety of plays for different audiences. Over the years I have had my plays staged for children, youths, first-time community audiences, as well as the seasoned regular theatergoer. That is one of the greatest joys of writing.

"Another great joy is the ability to explore different forms and structures and experience different processes. With the Necessary Stage directors, I am challenged to write differently for different projects. One year, it could be a design-based multimedia production where the written text is sparse and/or opaque. Another year, it could be a project devised with a person with AIDS, based on his story. Yet another year, it could be a very research-intensive play on migrant workers.

"Sometimes I don't call myself a playwright. Sometimes, I'm the editor who puts into structure other people's voices; sometimes I'm a co-conceptualizer, working with the director to structure scenes, both text-based and non-text-based. Sometimes I'm a deviser, who creates scenarios for improvisations. I am constantly in search of new structures, but at the same time, it's vital that the work speaks to or confronts or challenges the audience.

"My greatest inspiration is Alvin Tan, artistic director and founder of the Necessary Stage. We have worked together since 1987. Ours is a lifelong partnership."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Asiaweek, March 24, 2000, Alejandro Reyes, "Agents of Change."

Theatre Journal, December, 1997, James S. Moy, review of Rosnah, pp. 525-527.

ONLINE

Necessary Stage,http://www.necessary.org/ (July 25, 2008).

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