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    At a Plank Bridge

    A drama by Malaysian playwright KANNAN MENNON about one of World War II?s little-known atrocities: the thousands of Asians who were forced by the Japanese to build the ?Death Railroad? between Thailand and Burma. ?AT A PLANK BRIDGE? is set just after the end of World War II. Fook Leong, a badly injured Malayan man riding his bike on an old country road, happens upon Chandran, who is waiting for a bus to take him to Singapore. At first Chandran believes that Fook Leong is a robber, but after discovering that he has been shot in the leg, proceeds to tend to the wound. He tells Fook Leong that he has escaped from from a ?Death Railway Camp,? where he was forced to work as slave labor for the Japanese — and that he has been directly involved in the just-ended military conflict. But Fook Leong has a strange and terrible history which he is compelled to disclose as he learns of Chandran?s actions. How Fook Leong deals with Chandran, and how Chandran tries to resolve the growing conflict between them forms the stunning climax of the story. The play is based on actual events during and immediately after the Second World War, when Malaysia (then known as Malaya) was a British colony occupied by the Japanese. After subduing Malaya, the Japanese hoped to push through Burma into India. To do so, they decided to build a railway stretching from west of Bangkok into Burma, through some of the wildest, most impenetrable jungle in the world. In order to complete this railway, the Japanese resorted to forced labor. The story has been partially recounted in the film ?Bridge on the River Kwai,? which looks at the suffering of the allied servicemen who were treated as slave labor by the Japanese. Forgotten is the fact that the Japanese forced as many as 200,000 Asian workers to also work on what became known as the "Death Railway."

    Dates:  Jan. 9, 2003 - Jan. 26, 2003
    Schedule:  Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m.
    Venue:  Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave.
    Price:  $10
    Tickets/info:  (212) 254-1109


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