The final instalment of The Finger Players’ Citizen trilogy has arrived, and besides exploring the concept of citizenship, this last one is set to take audiences on a trip of self-discovery as well. Co-created by Oliver Chong and Liu Xiaoyi, the play will run at the National Library for just four days, from Mar 26-29.
Titled Citizen X and performed in Mandarin, the show sees Chinese male Liu Xiaoyi heading to Singapore from Swatow Airport in 1998. Unbeknownst to him, his journey parallels one his grandfather once took, seventy years ago. One story, two lives—this piece unveils the uncanny overlap of the voyages taken to the little red dot, and how the fates of the men seem to be inextricably entwined.
As you may have already noticed, the grandson in Citizen X is named after one of the co-creators, and for good reason. Based on true events, the play showcases the family history of award-winning director and playwright Liu Xiaoyi, while spotlighting the incidental and personal discovery that Liu’s granddad had also travelled down South, which set him on a quest to retrace that voyage.
Citizen X definitely bears some semblance in themes to Citizen Pig (2013) and Citizen Dog (2018), which makes sense. The trilogy, although all different in plot, delves into citizenship, meritocracy and even migration. Citizen Pig discussed the rental of properties in Singapore as the number of immigrants climbed, while Citizen Dog saw the story of a writer expected to be evicted from his home set against the backdrop of a corrupt government.
With the entire trilogy coming to an end, it’ll be wise to catch this latest and last play while you can. Not many recent shows offer a good look at the concept of citizenship and social classes, so why not seize the opportunity to get better understanding of these topics through theatre.