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Citizen Pig

December 3, 2013
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CitizenPig1Event: “Citizen Pig” by The Finger Players
Venue: Drama Centre Black Box
Run: 28th Nov – 1st Dec 2013

Rent and Rave

In a city like ours of 5.4 million inhabitants, and with a population density of more than 7,500 persons per square kilometer, it is inevitable that the issue of space – or the severe lack thereof – rears its ugly head.

Visitors to the country, being yet unable to afford to buy housing, would have to resort to renting a room to stay in, whilst for locals who wish to start their own little enterprise of sorts, they would also have to seek to rent a suitable office space in order to carry out their business.

“Citizen Pig” tackles this oft-neglected topic of the perils associated with renting in Singapore, uncovering the seedy underbelly of the rental scam market, with Oliver Chong playing the wide-eyed local who wishes to embark on a new journey of entrepreneurship with his business partner, and Liu Xiaoyi (himself a Singaporean PR) playing the street-smart visitor from China who seeks to rent a HDB apartment to stay in.

The actors take turns to relate their stories in parts to the audience at roughly the same pace, with each actor donning multiple personalities as they appear in the storytelling.

The details of their respective stories may be different, but the parallels are unmistakable – both unwittingly find themselves locked in a scam of a rental agreement, whereby the owners were clearly out to deceive them of their rental payments, largely because the owners themselves were in desperate need for easy cash.

Each protagonist is often at his wit’s end, having exhausted literally all avenues of recourse – the authorities, the lawyers, the police, and struggles to find a way out of his arduous situation.

Eventually they do manage to find some sort of resolution to their predicaments, though not without great inconvenience, but nonetheless, each emerges from his ordeal having learnt valuable lessons.

Oliver Chong and Liu Xiaoyi are master storytellers, with Oliver in particular being as enigmatic as always, often bringing flashbacks of his turn in last year’s award-winning monologue “Roots”, which carried the same intimate storytelling style.

“Citizen Pig” is a cautionary tale (or two) that sheds light on the dangers that lurk in a society where the pursuit of material wealth often becomes the primary goal, and where morals and ethics often take a backseat.

It’s basically just two people recounting their personal stories from start to end with nothing but an array of chairs on stage, but in such an engaging way that at the end of the play you feel like you have taken two long intimate journeys with them.

And in a cold and impersonal metropolis like ours, sometimes stories are all we need.

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