Underclass identity and promotional materials

The Necessary Stage and Drama Box

Creative and Art Director
Bryan Angelo Lim

Photography Art Director
Lim Jia Qing

Graphic Designers
Deborah Neo
Lim Jia Qing
Lau Li Qin

Key visual photographer
Crispian Chan

Dominie Press

Responding to the context of increasing social inequality, social mobility and social statuses in Singapore, The Necessary Stage presented Underclass, a story of Xinyi who finds herself in a downward spiral after losing her job and her flat. When she moves into a rental unit, she meets Johari, and they strike up an unlikely friendship.

Inspired from the line “I’m not unhappy” from the play which poignantly speaks volumes about Singaporeans’ despondent yet cynical view on the state of their happiness today, the logo type prominently features a broad—and almost too bright, too contrived—smile within its design. Amidst this seeming joy, a strong, harsh vertical line within it forcefully pushes the logo downwards, heightening the meaning of the title of the play.

The photo image complicates the interpretation of the imagery: in one version, the cast dressed extravagantly, as if dripping with luxury and class but each one donning a stern, sulky demeanour; in another version, the same cast dressed ordinarily like regular middle- and lower-class citizens with their thumbs up and wide grins. This brings to mind what has been commonly told to us: that money doesn’t bring one happiness. Or does it?

The play was performed from 16 May to 3 June 2018 at The Necessary Stage Black Box by Brendon Fernandez, Goh Guat Kian, Kok Heng Leun, Petrina Dawn Tan, Siti Khalijah Zainal, Vincent Lim, Yang Shi Bin and Yazid Jalil with music by Bani Haykal.