About Gruesome Playground Injuries

Gruesome Playground Injuries, as its name speaks, revolves around blood, fun, love and adrenaline. Prior to the play, I was expecting one of the main highlights to be the grotesque gory make-up, stunning shiver-down-the-spine sound effects and as always, an astounding cast. (who once again received a standing ovation)

It definitely must’ve been the whole Halloween “festive” period for creating such vivid anticipation.

Alas,  the play took on a whole new perspective. To my surprise, the impressive points wasn’t the make-up or sound effects but the realistic mental enactment of a pain addict. Double thumbs up for the cast for executing it so well.

An important message

Self-infliction is becoming popular especially among the newer generations, and this play bridges the generation gap, bringing the audience through the entire mental process of a pain addict.

I grew up in a generation where male schoolmates will regularly get into fights and enter classrooms with uniforms ripped and limbs bleeding all over. I squeal and lean over to carefully paste a plaster. To my bewilderment, they got offended. Perceiving pain as a form of masculinity isn’t an alarming issue, it’s a phase they’ll grow out of sooner or later. The real problem comes when pain becomes a form of release. A release from anger, vexation, devastation that is so intense, they need a form of manifestation, and that is pain.

Until today, I remember that very feeling when tears stung my eyes and the sharp pain in my lip from biting it too hard when I accidentally caught a glimpse of the self-inflicted scars on my best friend’s wrist. It was heart-wrenching.

For many years, I couldn’t deal with the guilt. The guilt of never asking them why, the guilt of not knowing what to say even if I did.

It’s hurtful to watch your loved ones inflict pain on themselves, everyone knows that. But go beyond that, show them that you care for them beyond superficiality; Show them how it feels like to be watching, so helplessly, so painfully, perhaps even greater pain than theirs.

I guess the number one mistake is asking pain addicts to stop. I mean, deal with your own feelings, don’t selfishly ask them to stop because you can’t handle the aftermath of seeing those scars. The matter of fact is, pain addicts can’t stop, even they themselves don’t know why so don’t, ever ask them to stop. Prove to them that there is an alternative to release their pent-up emotions, prove to them that you are, at least, close to understanding what they are going through.

*mini-spoilers ahead*

My second favourite scene was when Doug (Alan Wong) asked Kayleen (Seong Hui Xuan) to slit his thighs too after she slit hers. It shows the level of empathy Doug had. From that very small act I could almost hear Doug speaking “I feel what you’re feeling, do you feel what I’m feeling?”

And so what is my number one favourite scene you may ask? It is the scenes where Kayleen exhibits her miraculous healing power. In the first of such scene my mind ran wild and I thought is she some kinda superhuman? But later on, I realised, it was figurative. It revealed the immense power of love, care, concern that can heal almost any emotional wounds. Scars it may leave, but pain it relieves.

 *end of mini-spoiler*



Pangdemonium! Has done it again. Gruesome Playground Injuries directly addresses this alarming social issue by allowing the audience to understand the mentality behind a pain addict.

The level of intimacy is beyond any other productions. Within 20 feet, you can see the actors arranging the set, applying make-up and changing their clothes. It could’ve been better if the play was on a Thrust or Arena stage but then again, Singapore doesn’t have that many stage venue options, what a pity.

I especially love the hanging display of dangerous objects you can find at home, from hammers to knives to nails to even a broken statue. Very in theme, and very impressive to get that all up on a single string-thin support.

I appreciate how Pangedemonium! is genuine in helping those facing such issues by directly rendering help for it. In its brochure, there is a list of psychologists’ suggested reasons on why youth inflict pain on themselves and some related sources for receiving help. Since Pangdemonium! has the heart to spread the word, I think it’s only fair that I do my part.

Reaching out

To find out about how to cope with self-harm or how to help someone who may be harming themselves go to: http://www.youthinmind.sg/bust-the-myth/self-harm/help/

Youths seeking professional help with mental health concerns. CHAT: 1800-221-4444

For youths needing counselling for interpersonal, family, stress, depression or anxiety problems. Youthline: 6336 3434

For people who have psychological, psychiatric or social problems and others who need information for such persons: Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH): 1800-283 7019 Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221 4444

For women seeking support, information and encouragement. AWARE Singapore: 1800- 774 5935 (http://www.aware.org.sg/support-services/helpline/#sthash.HuSI0Haz.dpuf/)

Gruesome Playground Injuries Theatre Dates

31 October – 10 November 2013
Esplanade Theatre Studio 

 Directed by Tracie Pang

Starring Seong Hui Xuan & Alan Wong



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