Muralidharan (a.k.a Dharan), director of Triangle Educational Consultancy, has been an Enrichment Educator for the past 15 years and scriptwriter. He has developed and taught drama and many other enrichment courses for numerous primary and secondary schools in Singapore and have trained students for competitions. He is also actively involved with directing plays for public screening.
1. What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am preparing a couple of schools for the Human Values Drama Festival and the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation. Apart from those major works, I am also finishing up the primary schools Tamil Language Drama Presentations.
2. What’s the direction of your work? Has it changed over the years?
My direction of work is to get the younger generation to experience and enjoy the theatre and performance. Yes, it has changed over the years – from just teaching to empowering each and every student with the love for drama.
3. What is a dream project that you hope to do?
My dream project is Shakunthala, a story adapted from Mahabhratha. I am currently working on the script. The play focuses on single mums and their struggle to bring up a child born out of a wedlock.
Shakunthala is a modern adaptation of a play written in Sanskrit by the Indian poet Kalidasa. It speaks of a young lady Shakunthala and her journey. Shakunthala was abandoned by her parents at birth and is taken in by a social worker Kanva, an old aged man. He works during the day and rests at night. He rarely is able to spend time with Shakunthala though he cares and loves her. Shakunthala grows up to be young interovert child, whom rarely speaks to anyone. As she hits the age of adolescent. She starts to question her existence.
4. How did you start out doing what you do?
Drama was always a passion of mine. From my primary school days, I have put myself on stage prepared and unprepared.
5. How do you keep your work fresh?
I always watch live performances, Youtube videos to learn new techniques. When ever possible I also take up short courses to upgrade and learn.
6. What do you think makes a perfect drama educator?
There can never be a perfect drama educator but as a drama educator he/she should be a student at all times. Learning has no limits.
7. Why is drama important? Why should it be taught in schools?
Drama is important because it allows one to express himself without being judged. Students nowadays spend a lot of time on their phones, which results in the lack of social skills. Drama will become an avenue for the students to express themselves and most of all, be themselves.
8. Who was the drama educator that has the most impact on you?
Though I have met many educators on my journey, one particular drama educator was Ms Amelia Jayshree when I was doing my Diploma at GIG. She encouraged me to experiment with new techniques, which has allowed me to be more confident of myself.
9. What is your most memorable moment in the on stage?
The most memorable moment for me was when my first major production consisting of 4 aesthetics group (Drama, Band, Dance and Choir) come to live on stage.
10. Share a drama activity that you love to do.
I get my students to to take turns to build a tableau – one student starts with an action and slowly the rest build the story up. Sometimes it does end the way the first person wanted it to, but most of the time it does not. This makes it more interesting.
11. What do you hope to see in Singapore’s drama/theatre landscape in future?
I would like to see more youngsters come forward to learn and enjoy drama, not just as an art form but as a tool to change the world.
12. In one word, sum up your drama education journey.