A Work-In-Progress reading of “The Radicalisation of Mrs Mary Lim-Rodrigues” By Michelle Tan | SIFA 2024

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18 May 2024 | 2:00 - 3:00pm
19 May 2024 | 3:00 - 4:00pm
Black Box, Stamford Arts Centre

Admission: Free with $20 Refundable Deposit

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“Solidarity… is a radical posture.”
- Paulo Freire

What does it take to change a system? Or before that, a person? Or before that, a belief? 

This is a story about the most well-intentioned person you know, and about the moment they are confronted by the fine line between help and harm. It is a story about good people believing they are doing good things, about the way things are and have always been, about all the right ways to live, learn, and die.

This is a story about all that, until it isn’t. Then it is a story about rupture, irreversible loss, and the question of what it takes to fix the things and people broken by all the good intentions in the world. Then it is a call for revolution.

This play is written by our outgoing Writer-in-Residence, Michelle Tan. It is part of Centre 42's line-up at SIFA 2024: Tomorrow and Tomorrow.

Creator's Message

Built upon the fact of how words can sometimes be powerfully incisive and at other times fail us spectacularly, this play contains both a hypothesis and a hope - it invites us to reimagine the possibilities of systemic change, if first we were to confront all the ways we fall short of each other. It posits the theory that true compassion - especially towards those we don’t understand, or see as other - is a radical act. If not, it is a mere meaningless platitude that costs nothing to express. 

At this stage of development, I’d like to find out how you feel about the way this story has been constructed. What moves or alienates you? What draws you in and what rings false? Did you see anything or anyone in a different light? At the heart of it I think this play is a love letter; an attempt to articulate big complex feelings in a small intimate way. It is written for all the Marys we know, and all the Marys we also are. I hope this letter reaches you.

The Process: Behind the Scenes

Long white table around which several people are seated, looking at a projector screen.

29 February: The first table read for The Radicalisation of Mrs Mary Lim-Rodrigues, where playwright Michelle Tan received feedback on the script from director Chen Yingxuan, dramaturg Juliet Chia, and members of the Centre 42 team.

Five people in a room. A person in black stands between two seated persons and two standing persons.

13 May: The first rehearsal for The Radicalisation of Mrs Mary Lim-Rodrigues, featuring (from left) stage manager Samzy Jo, Michelle, Yingxuan, performer Serene Chen, and performer Sindhura Kalidas. 

Two female-presenting persons in white shirts, holding hands and reading from scripts.

15 May: Serene and Sindhura rehearsing a scene from the play during a stumblethrough in the Black Box at 42 Waterloo Street. 


Michelle Tan
Juliet Chia
Serene Chen