[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Saturday, June 21, 2008

[Class Enemy]
I caught a play with foreign dialogue on Thursday. Titled Class Enemy, this Bosnian play, directed by Haris Pasovic, is an adaptation of Nigel Williams work set in a South London classroom in the early 1980s.

The only difference is an addition of a few scenes.

When I read the synopsis, it likened the show to William Golding's Lord of the Flies. The story is about the interactions between a group of British schoolboys stuck on a deserted island.

In Class Enemy, a group of seven students are in a classroom waiting for their teacher but no one turns up.

When I watched the show, I was transported into a country where little emphasis is placed on educating the worst of the lot. The violence and vulgarities of these students let me to think of our own class of students that are forsaked and abandoned. The show starts with students doing what students would do - misbehaving, switching the lights on and off, and rearranging the tables and chairs - and then dives into a taboo topic in conservative Singapore - sex.

The main bully of the class, Iron talks and acts out his sexual escapades with a female social worker. He goes around the classroom touching his crotch area and throws his body at the girls. The students act out how they are abused by the teachers who used to teach them.

Through the show, they find things to do to kill their time. They speak about their actions, trials and tribulations using metaphorical stories in their lectures at the suggestion of Iron. Stories range from what sex is about, growing flowers in flower pots, racial prejudice and throwing bricks in shop windows.

I was particularly moved by the actress who played Sky - Maja Izetbegovic. She played her role very well. Her lecture was about throwing bricks at windows and vandalism of walls. I felt she was trying to show her pent up angst. There were notions of breaking free and self expression, something that students at the lower rung grapple with.

In fact, all the lectures struck a chord in my heart. I really felt for their plight and gained a better understanding of their characters though their show-and-tell.

Another aspect I liked was the hip-hop beats of the funny guys in the show - Kitty and Cat played by Samir Karic and Amir Muminovic from the group AS Dreamers from Hajvazi in North-East Bosnia. It reminded me of the hip-hop culture and the negative association and stigma on the Singaporean hip-hop culture.

Throughout the show, attempts to enforce order by the Deputy Headmistress turn to naught. In one scene, she is blocked by the barricade of tables and chairs constructed by the students.

In the last few scenes, the students turn against the Deputy Headmistress who finally manages to enter the classroom. She gets involved in a scuffle between two students. A thunderous shoot-out follows (real blanks were fired from the guns) and she lies dead on the ground.

Self-defence was being played out in the finale when the students barricade themselves from the audience. And then the school day ends.

It leaves many questions and thoughts like gun control, violence and shoot-outs in schools and issues that students grapple with everyday - from sex to self expression. Most importantly, it established that connection between youths.

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