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23 Jul 2003

singapore's first pride parade

Fridae's Alvin Tan interviews Haresh Sharma, playwright for the upcoming play Mardi Gras which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a group of individuals as they go about organizing the first ever Pride Parade for Sin-gay-pore.

æ: Hi Haresh. Can you provide Fridae's readers with a brief synopsis of your upcoming play Mardi Gras?

haresh: Mardi Gras is about a group of people trying to organise Singapore's first Mardi Gras Parade. They comprise Ben, a 30 something school teacher who lives with his partner of 18 years Alex; Ben's younger brother Brian, a policeman who's getting married; his good friends Clement, a civil servant, and Faith, who works in theatre; Sulin, a lesbian newsreader; and Su Marican, a pregnant faghag!

æ: In an earlier interview, you described Mardi Gras as play about "hot cross buns". Can the audience expect a lot of catty and steamy action a la Melrose Place?

haresh: I'm not sure about Melrose Place... Mardi Gras is slutty, not trampy.

æ: So what exactly are the elements in Mardi Gras that will appeal to the Pride Parade crowd who are no doubt used to seeing lots of bare flesh and lots of hot action?

haresh: I hope that the characters and stories will resonate with the audience as much as the bare flesh and hot action will titillate.

æ: In his much quoted interview with Time Magazine, our Prime Minister indicated that while Singapore has adopted a more liberal approach towards homosexuality, a Singapore Pride Parade is still a big no-no. So why Mardi Gras?

haresh: Well, if you can't do it in the streets, do it in the theatre!

æ: With Mardi Gras following so closely after our Prime Minister's comments, are you worried about the possible backlash from a conservative public who may view the play as a defiant stance against the expressed wishes of the Singapore government?

haresh: The "public" is not only conservative, it is also "apathetic"... they listen, but they don't question. So I'm not worried.

æ: In what ways do you see a play like Mardi Gras contributing to the GLBT culture or community in Singapore or an understanding of that culture or community?

haresh: In a society like Singapore where there are not very many public outlets of gay expression, especially in the media, any form of expression will be positive. For one, it opens up discussion; for another you can have a great night out; and most importantly, the audience will hopefully feel empowered, even a little, by what they see on stage.

æ: Since we're on the topic, do you think that there will ever be a Pride Parade in Singapore?

haresh: Yes.

æ: And what do you think are the essential ingredients that should go into making such a parade distinctly and uniquely Singaporean?

haresh: Must have buffet!

æ: On a personal note, will you ever agree to baton-tossing and leading a Singapore Pride Parade or will you prefer to sit atop a float and wave regally to the crowd?

haresh: I will watch from the Ritz Carlton Suite as I sip my long island tea.

æ: One final question. In the press kit for Mardi Gras, you posed an interesting teaser: "Is pink over?" What is your personal take on the issue?

haresh: Pink is hardly over. In fact, it's spreading...

Tickets are available at all SISTIC outlets, SISTIC hotline 6348 5555, www.sistic.com.sg or wap.sistic.com.sg.

All Fridae members enjoy a 20% discount on $71 & $51 tickets as well as The Rainbow Package ($111) by showing the Fridae logo on your mobile phone at SISTIC outlets or say "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" (for SISITC hotline purchase). Discount does not apply to online sales. Limited quantity of discounted tickets available. For show times, ticket prices and promotion packages, please click the Mardi Gras link below.

Singapore

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