BI(CARA) in residence @ Basement Workshop


BI(CARA) is a new work based on the talk Why Do We Do What We Do? by zoologist and ex-CEO of the Singapore Zoological Gardens Bernard Harrison. His controversial talk questioned the ethics of man in the ways we treat animals as meat for consumption, entertainment and commodity.

“Bicara” is the word for “talk/discuss” in Malay and Indonesian, while “cara” means “how”. BI(CARA) reflects Pink Gajah Theatre’s wish to have a conversation with you about the individual relationships we have with animals and how we are journeying alongside them in the 21st century.

This visceral physical work by perfomer Sharda Harrison questions society as much as it reflects upon and unravels human behaviour and our relationships to animals through history, myths, and examining the rituals and culture of the Orang Asli (First People).

Conceived and performed by Sharda Harrison, in collaboration with her creative and production team comprising of: Alessandra Fel (physical movement director), Sean Harrison (multimedia design), Sabrina Dzulkifli (co-writer), Mei Yin (music design).

BI(CARA) is commissioned and presented by M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016, under the Festival theme “Art and the Animal”. As a physical performer, most, if not all of Sharda’s vocabulary comes from the animal, so much so that she does not distinguish herself as separate from an animal. This work is her submergence into the physicality of a few animals (and humans) that have evolved through extensive research through articles, essays and interviews on wildlife and conservation with her research and playwriting team. As an animal, standing up for animals, Sharda felt that she needed to address this and to poke, provoke, excite, intrigue and draw audiences back into a visceral world of ritual, honor, connection and acknowledgement of who we are in relation to every other being living amongst us.

Presented by M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016
21 – 24 January 2016
Black Box @ Centre 42

BI(CARA) was developed in residence at Centre 42’s Basement Workshop.
Follow the creation process.

BI(CARA) has been in development in Centre 42 since September 2015, right up to its premiere on 21 January 2016 in the Centre’s Black Box.

It began in September with Sharda’s solo sessions in the space, writing the texts, the ideas; then bouncing them off with co-writer Sabrina and experimenting movement ideas with physical director Alessandra. The greater team – with light, sound, multimedia designers – came into the space in December to experiment with the various set design ideas. A work-in-progress was presented to the Fringe festival team and invited guests on 7 January 2016 in the Rehearsal Studio, where discussion about the work – from performative details to set design to text and intentions – took place. Input gathered will go towards refining the play in the last few weeks leading up to the opening on 21 January 2016.

Apprentice Dramaturg Nidya Shanthini Manokara, who is in the Centre’s Dramaturgy Apprenticeship Programme (The Garage) is on a work-attachment with BI(CARA), offering dramaturgical support to Sharda throughout the developmental process.

View this series of video interviews with Sharda during the development phase in the Basement Workshop.

Interview 1 – Animal Studies
Sharda Harrison shares the research she conducted to conceptualise and create the many characters she plays in her latest work BI(CARA).




Interview 2 – The Evolution of BI(CARA)
Sharda Harrison shares how a talk her father and zoologist Bernard Harrison gave entitled “Why Do We Do What We Do?“, as well as a one-woman play by the same name which she performed in 2014, led to her latest work BI(CARA). Sharda also discusses her plans for bringing the message of conservation and animal rights to schools.



Interview 3 – The Alpha Female

Sharda Harrison talks about the many female collaborators (and one male) who lent a hand in creating BI(CARA).



Interview 4 – Transformative Theatre

Sharda Harrison shares her hopes for how her latest play BICARA will impact audiences. She also talks about how the process of developing the play has challenged and changed her own beliefs.



Read also these interviews:

  • M1 Singapore Fringe Festival Director Sean Tobin chats with Sharda on the process, her influences and what she would do if she were the Prime Minister of Singapore. Read it here.
  • Mayo Martin of TODAY speaks with Sharda on the work BI(CARA) and about her growing up as zoologist Bernard Harrison’s daughter. Read it here.
  • A profile of Sharda Harrison the artist in arts magazine A-List. Read it here.
  • A video recording of the talk that inspired BI(CARA)Why Do We Do What We Do? by zoologist and ex-CEO of the Singapore Zoological Gardens Bernard Harrison. View it here.