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First Emperor’s Last Days

Four writers- a dissident, a poet, a journalist, a government hack are under hose arrest to write the living biography of the First emperor of China.  Confined to write the authorised biography of the Song of Heaven is a task laden with dangers,

A psychological twister, the smell of death permeates the stifling writers’ lair.

The scent of suspense is thick with waifs of espionage.  History, truth, a severed head and power are the ingredients of this multimedia story.

Four writers are confined somewhere in our past, present, and future.  They carry out their imperial duties in a space warp void of everyday distractions such as time, daylight or the four seasons.  They must write the definitive story while the Emperor still lives.  They write with uncertainty, each stroke of the pen, click of the keyboard and fleeting thoughts are being recorded.  This is the digital age of surveillance. 

Who is exactly watching?  Who is manipulating?  Who is in charge?

The Emperor has done many great things.  But oh, the terrible, cruel things he has also done.  So what does one write?  Especially if one loves life.  And truth.  And the price of truth is death.

Tan Tarn How

Ong Keng Sen

Paul Wong

Pierre Thibaudeau

Kuo Jian Hong

Tay Tong


Koh Boon Pin
Lim Yu-Beng
Karen Tan
Ravi Veloo

13 – 14 June 1998
Victoria Theatre

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