Off Centre, written by Haresh Sharma, was selected as the first Singaporean play to be offered as a GCE ‘O’ and ‘N’ Level literature text since 2007. Since then, the play, which explores the topic of mental illness through the characters Saloma and Vinod, has been studied and interpreted by batches of literature students in Singapore. Yet there has never been a comprehensive guide to study the text, up till now.
The Necessary Stage (TNS) responded to this need—by both teachers and students studying the text—by putting together a study resource that includes educator Laremy Lee‘s guide, journalist Akanksha Raja‘s reflection on studying Off Centre, insights from TNS’ artistic director Alvin Tan and even a Q&A section by Haresh Sharma.
The cover design follows the stylistic trajectory of the play’s book cover design, which is now familiar to the students. However, for the design of the guide, we chose to make reference to the birds that were used as a metaphoric device in the text to allude to Saloma and Vinod. The birds are set against a isometric grid pattern which, on one hand, gives a sense of depth, but on another, provide possibilities in understanding the image in different perspectives—subtly embodying what the resource aims to do.