By Grace Ng
If you’ve never heard of Couch Theatre, now’s a good time to get to know them – this youth theatre group is staging its second production this week, and it’s got a USP student in the lead.
Lim Shien Hian (Business Administration + CNM + USP, Year 1) plays Katurian in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, an award-winning dark comedy in which Katurian must prove his innocence regarding a series of murders that copy his own stories.
Couch Theatre was founded by seven Raffles Junior College members in 2013, two of whom entered the University Scholars’ Programme here in NUS: Shien Hian, who wears two hats as the group’s associate artistic director, and media manager Tang Rei-En (Communications and New Media + USP, Year 3).
Above: USP student Lim Shien Hian (centre) stars as Katurian in Couch Theatre’s take on The Pillowman.
“We aspire to be a breath of fresh air in the local theatre scene, bringing our youthful energy and ideas to the Singaporean stage,” says the group. And indeed, despite their relative age (both company-wise and member-wise), Couch Theatre has already made quite a splash. With both Shien Hian and Rei-En in the cast, they staged the Asian premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play last year to four sold-out audiences and positive critical response.
Choosing The Pillowman as a subsequent offering falls in line with the group’s mission to go off the beaten path. It also gives them big shoes to fill: Olivier and Tony Awards aside, the play was last staged here in 2007 by the Singapore Repertory Theatre to rave reviews. But Melancholy Play’s absurdist script was no cakewalk either, which lays a promising track record for this next offering.
As a group that “dreams big and brave”, according to the Straits Times, Couch Theatre is certainly one to watch.
The Pillowman runs from 17 July to 26 July at the Drama Centre Black Box. Tickets are available at SISTIC for $30 each, and can be bought at http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/pillow0714.
National Library Board Building, Drama Centre, Black Box
17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 July 2014: 8pm – 10:30pm
150 minutes (including 15-minute intermission)
U16 Advisory (Violence and Coarse Language)