Swordfish + Concubine
Swordfish + Concubine is a play inspired by the old Malay classic Sejarah Melayu. Playwright Kee Thuan Chye takes the popular story of the swordfish attack on Singapura and that of the Sultan’s favourite concubine who is sentenced to death by impalement, and weaves them together to produce an epic that resonates with the present. He infuses it with drama, comedy, action, satire, gamelan music and rap. Yes, rap!
It is sweeping, lavish and filled with fun, and it appeals to the senses, the mind and the heart. In 2006, it was judged one of the top five plays entered for the International Playwriting Festival organised by Warehouse Theatre in the UK.
How much of the resources from the sovereign wealth fund has he been channelling to his own coffers?
An alarming amount. Beyond the layman’s imagination is the extent of his theft.
Theft! That is such a degrading word to associate with a minister.
There’s no other word for it. I fear Tun Perpatih Segalar is a thief.
SRI TRI BUANA
Your descendants shall never be disloyal to my descendants, even if my descendants oppress them and behave in an evil manner. … For my descendants shall be rulers who must command loyalty, no matter what.
Swordfish attack Singapura, killing and terrorising the people. The Sultan orders his men to form a wall with their bodies to keep the fish out. They of course end up getting killed. A boy named Hang Nadim has a better idea – use banana stems instead to form the wall. The Sultan orders his men to try this out. The kingdom is saved. What is the boy’s reward?
A young girl named Nurhalisa calls for reform, including changing the ancient Covenant that conditions the rakyat into thinking they must always be loyal to their leaders. She is, however, forced to become the new Sultan’s concubine. But she soon manages to use her new position to influence the Sultan and bring about reform from within. This upsets people inside the palace, resulting in Nurhalisa being charged with attempting to topple the Sultan under Section 124 of the Penal Code. If she is found guilty, she will be sentenced to death by impalement.
|Author||Kee Thuan Chye|