We Could **** You Mr. Birch

QUESTION 1 The most obvious idea concerning history in the play is that history is fiction. History is usually interpreted as ‘his story’ and thus implies the idea that everyone will have their own versions of history. It all depends on who is conveying the history and who is receiving it. The conveyor can just manipulate the facts and pass around a false message. In the case of this play, the history presented is based on Kee’s point of view. He himself admits that there is no particular truth but many truths by saying “We are all recipients of manipulated truth and are manipulators ourselves” (p.12) in an interview. He has included conversations which questions the subjectivity of history and validity of the truth despite the fact that the version of history being played is his. There are few scenes in the play where the historical accuracy and nature of the play has been questioned. The first one is on page 27 in the following excerpt. ACTOR/M : Wait a minute. Is this how it really happened in history? (Silence as everyone looks at each other. ACTOR PLAYING SULTAN drops out of character) ACTOR/S : History? What history? We are creating fiction, Yatim! This is fiction. History is fiction. […] ACTOR/M : What about historical truth Mano? ACTOR/S : Truth depends on who is telling the history and what he is saying to get across, who is the audience are. History can even be manipulated to convey opposing truths. You can screw around with history laa. The next scene is when the ACTOR PLAYING SULTAN reads a newspaper article (p. 35 – 36). ACTOR/DS ACTOR/S ACTOR/DS ACTOR/S ACTOR/DS ACTOR/S : : : : : : Ei, Mano, what is that all about? History. According to whom? The newspapers. Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers? Don’t you?

The third scene is from page 56 to page 57. This conversation is about the character Kuntum who was not a historical person but is given a major role in the play.

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