Only Cut Mangoes That Are Ripe

Playwright

Director

Cast

Rajkumar Thiagaras

Jaryl George Solomon

Pramila d/o Krishnasamy, Kavita Kaur, Preksha Banerjee

Synopsis

Malar reminiscences about her life and marriage as she shares her yearning for the sweet mangoes of her childhood with her daughters. But do mangoes always stay sweet? And when is it time for her to cut mangoes for herself, and not others?

What inspired you to write this performance? 

"My Amma was a young immigrant bride who travelled from a small village in India to Singapore. With little education and without her family by her side, she struggled for many years to assimilate, please her husband and in-laws, bring up her children, and gain the respect of her husband’s community. I wrote this short play as a tribute to her trials and tribulations, and just wanted to thank her for cutting fruits for our family till this day, even when we’re old enough to do it for ourselves." 

— Raj

What is your process?

"For this play, I thought of mangoes as the main imagery to play with and explore in terms of its sweetness/tartness, innocence/sensuality etc. For some strange reason, I also remembered Jesminder Bhamra from Bend It Like Beckham. The writing itself then flowed naturally as I kept Amma at the back of my mind. What started out as a monologue turned into an ensemble piece with potential for movement work that my collaborators brought out organically, and I thank them for baring their vulnerable souls for this formidable task."

— Raj

"Though I have a general vision for the pieces I explore, I like to supplement my vision with insights from my collaborators. This performance is no different. This festival brought my team together as a collective of South Asian voices and visibility. I hope to tap into their experiences and opinions to do justice to this piece!" 

— Jaryl

What do you hope to achieve with this performance?

"I hope for more South Asian women’s stories to be told, heard, performed, uttered and proclaimed out loud for Singapore theatre to see and listen to. I don’t know if I’m the right person to be telling this story, but I hope to contribute to a canon that keeps on expanding and enriching the local scene so that South Asian voices become a norm and not an anomaly."

— Raj


"I hope this performance showcases South Asian excellence through the words we craft, the visions we execute and the actions we perform. It is important for audience members to embrace and reflect on pieces that explore minority experiences, but not because of the tokenism of diversity. Instead, I want this performance to point out the universality of the human condition through a unique take on the South Asian experience."

— Jaryl

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Rajkumar Thiagaras

Playwright

Rajkumar Thiagaras is a bilingual actor and playwright and was part of the Young & Wild actor training programme. His notable playwriting credits include Ashes, Ashes (Toy Factory Productions) and Chandramukhi (Avant Theatre). Raj was a co-deviser and performer in works such as To Speak Quietly (Pink Gajah Theatre) and The Tale of the Anklet (Work-In-Progress) and has collaborated on projects such as Rasanai: An Invitation to Appreciate (Brown Voices) and They/Them (The Necessary Stage). His short play Onthakan – The Blue Hour won the 3rd prize in the open category of the 24 Hour Playwriting Competition 2020 by T:>Works, and was subsequently staged by Theatresauce in 2022 as part of the Emerging Directors Lab Showcase. His short story, “The White Lotus: Sinking to the Bottom”' was published in the anthology, In This Desert, There Were Seeds by Ethos Books and Margaret River Press. In 2021, Raj was awarded the Avant Theatre Award in recognition of his contributions to Singapore Tamil theatre. 

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Jaryl George Solomon

Director

Jaryl George Solomon is an educator, poet and playwright deeply intrigued by the chaos that comes from the constant tug-of-war between his body and queerness. He hopes that his works create urgent conversation around themes and issues we are too afraid to talk about. Currently, he is the Poetry Editor and Co-founder of Mahogany Journal, Singapore’s first online literary journal dedicated to featuring and honing +65 South Asian voices. When he isn’t creative, he enjoys playing Pokémon, watching cartoons and building a body strong enough to crush racists/fatphobes.

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Pramila D/O Krishnasamy

Cast

Pramila's love for the arts developed from the age of 7, and has evolved through interests in singing, the fine arts, and later on,theatre. A strong believer of learning through play and storytelling, Pramila is now an Arts Educator ,teaching and mentoring children and youths as well as a PAL methodology facilitator, training MOE teachers to further enhance education with the support of arts and to challenge conventional methods of teaching. No stranger to the performing scene, Pramila has been in various collaborations and plays staged in the Esplanade, The Arts House, and Centre 42.

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Kavita Kaur

Cast

Kavita Kaur is an actor who has been in the industry for three years and has had training in Lee Strasberg's Method Acting . Her acting portfolio includes short films, short series, commercials, corporate videos and voice-over work. Most recently, she played Vidya in The Seekers and Julie in I AM. Outside of acting, Kavita has done several photoshoots with brands such as Bio-Oil and Jackson Chicken. When she isn't working, she makes use of her background in bellydance and Indian modern dance to enjoy a bit of dancing, as well as learn new skills such as rollerblading, which has so far been a disastrous attempt.

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Preksha Banerjee

Cast

Preksha has been acting since the age of 9. She has starred in a number of productions and short films, from 'The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet' to 'A Bed Among The Lentils' from BBC's Talking Heads. She has trained for 8 years at The Studio in Bangalore, India, under the tutelage of respected actress Phyllis Bose. She has completed all levels of the Trinity Guildhall Examinations in Speech and Drama with distinction. In addition to theatre, she has been playing the piano for more than 15 years, having completed the Trinity Guildhall Music Examinations as well. She also completely self-taught the ukulele and can play by ear.