Thursday, June 13, 2013

Preview : Everything But the Brain by Jean Tay .... presented by Sight Lines Productions

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It has barely been 2 months since Edges the Musical (early April 2013) and they are already advertising their next show, “Jean Tay’s Everything But the Brain.”  or EBtB for short. This play was first staged in 2005 and again in 2007, each time to sold out runs. However, 2012 is the Sight Lines version of EBtB. It also garnered two awards in the 2006 ST Life! Theatre awards for Best Original Script and Best Actor – Gerald Chew. GUESS WHAT … Gerald will be back .. reprising his role in the 2012 edition as well !! Woo Hoo !!

Sight Lines’s dynamic duo of Derrick and Engie will be directing and producing EBtB respectively. The cast of the show seems like a good mix of veteran actors in Gerald, Koh Wan Ching and Edward Choy. I last saw Gerald Chew in 2012’s W!ld Rice production of Romeo and Juliet. The young actors are Faizal Abdullah, Amanda Tee (last saw her in Boom … pls read my review of Boom for more information) and Cassandra Spykerman (related to Rebecca and Kimberly Spykerman). I love to see mix of veteran and young actors together. The balanced, steadiness of the veterans together with the exuberant, eagerness of the young stars always provide for good viewing.

“My brain tells me it will be better to just let him go. My heart... not so much.”
Author Unknown

It was about one year ago that I caught Jean Tay’s Boom also presented by Sight Lines. I can still remember the stage set for Boom and being completely in awe of it. However, what I remembered the most was the storytelling. The way the message was delivered to the audience. Boom was a relatively serious play (it had its funny moments) with a very powerful message .. about home and family and clinging to the past. From what I read in the EBtB synopsis, I can tell that there is a powerful lesson within which we have to face and learn. Under Derrick and Engie, I am pretty sure there will be plenty of light moments to keep the audience ‘awake.’ As I have always said, Sight Lines is a production house which focuses on the minor details which make the whole play and experience for the senses. You not only see and hear the actors, but you can feel the atmosphere via clever and non-distracting stage sets, excellent sounds and effect. All may seem minor but they bring enable the audience to better experience the play rather than just be present at a “play reading” session with some acting in between.

Again guys .. if you missed Boom last year… make sure you do not miss Eveything But the Brain. If you have watched anything produced by Sight Lines … you will know the high quality production that you will be getting … for those who are Sight Lines ‘Virgins’ .. you must catch this to see what they are capable of. Great work Engie and Derrick !! Keep it up and All the Best !! Stay tuned for my review ….

Dates & Timings: 10 – 11 August 2013, 16 – 21 August 2013

 No show on Mon

Tues – Fri: 8pm

Sat & Sun: 3pm & 8pm

Venue: DBS Arts Centre, Home of SRT

Ticket Prices: $35 - $55

Prices exclude $3 SISTIC handling fee

Ticketing Details: SISTIC

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Akan Datang : Alfian Sa'at's Cook a Pot of Curry .. presented by W!ld Rice

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Everyone one of us has some prejudice inside us, but only the strong and respectful care to hide it.’
Author unknown

PRCs, NRIs, Ah Tiongs, Pinoys, Cina Kwee, White Trash … these are all terms commonly used in Singapore to describe a person based on their race or nationality. They are all derogatory in their own way. A local Chinese will comment about how the China Chinese talk “so loudly and are so rude.” A local Indian will comment about how the India Indian “act as though they are white and atas.” How many times have you heard your friends saying something similar?

With more and more immigrants in the country, the locals are getting more and more testy and irritated by the immigrants actions. The number of PRs being given out is being scrutinised.  The number of work permits, S passes and Employment passes are being questioned. There is also a growing fear of “foreign enclaves” within Singapore. The Indians have Serangoon, the Philipinos have Lucky Plaza, the Burmese have Peninsula Plaza and the Thais have Golden Mile.

Some of these unhappiness have erupted into very public spats such as the “Jollybee” boycott. To make matters worse, some have become from discriminating based on nationality to being borderline racists. The internet is rife with many such comments (just look at the ST Forum) and Facebook posts. A classic example would be Amy Cheong and her Malay wedding comment. Another ‘event’ which received quite some media attention was the need for mediation between two neighbours of different ethnicities and their makan habits. All over the cooking of curry, which brings us to W!ld Rice’s world premier of Alfian Sa’at’s Cook a Pot of Curry.

Cook a Pot of Curry is written by Alfian Sa’at and directed by Glen Goei. It features a six-member cast including the evergreen Neo Swee Lin, Rishi Budhrani and the red-hot Judee Tan. It is a play about the issues faced by both the locals and the foreign immigrants and their living together in this ‘little red dot.’ From what I understand, the play will be based on numerous interviews with Singaporeans, new PR holders and the foreign talents. It seeks to highlight the problems faced by all parties but are unable to express.

Alfian Sa’at needs no introduction. He is one of Singapore’s brightest playwrights with his plays receiving both local and international awards. His plays are also frequently used by Literature students in secondary schools and junior colleges here. He has a knack for telling a story which is so true to home (pun intended) in a way which we can all laugh about.

As this is presented by W!ld Rice, we can be sure that the audience will be treated to a sensory treat.

All I can say is … come catch ‘Cook a Pot of Curry’ and I am sure you will not regret it. Of course I will be there and will provide my review after. Until then, would anyone like some curry …???


Director : Glen Goei

Set Design : Wong Chee Wai

Producer : Tony Trickett

Cast : Rishi Budhrani, Nelson Chia, Noorlinah Mohamed, Neo Swee Lin, Najib Soiman, Judee Tan

Venue : The Singapore Airlines Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts

Show Dates : 3 – 20 July 2013

Ticket Prices : Previews at 8pm on 3 & 5 July: $40, $50

Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 8pm & Sat, Sun at 3pm: $45, $55

Fri & Sat at 8pm: $50, $60

(Prices exclude $3 SISTIC handling fee)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Akan Datang : Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl ... presented by Couch Theatre

A few weeks ago, I was asked whether I could do an upcoming preview for a new production by a new theatre company, “Couch Theatre.” The play that they are staging is called "Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl." I gladly agreed (always open and willing to helping fledging theatre companies in any way I can) and also will do a review of the play after.

To be honest, I have never heard of “Melancholy Play” or either of “Sarah Ruhl.” So I did some research (via Wikipedia & FaceBook) to find out more as well as about Couch Theatre.  Couch Theatre in their FB page describe themselves as  an upbeat and offbeat theatre company made up of young adults brought together by their enduring fervour for the arts.’ Their aim is to ‘create theatre that brings an enriching emotional experience to a wider audience, giving the common Singaporean <like me> a reason to fall in love with the theatre..' Wow .. a very ambitious aim considering that the latest survey states that Singaporeans are generally very emotion-less. I personally feel that it is not that Singaporeans have no emotions .. it is just that they do not show it as much as others. I often see how angry they are when they miss the sale … or can feel and hear their frustration / anger when someone cuts into their lane on the road. The problem is that we cannot show emotions of happiness and joy in public or else people will say we are “siao lang.” I was once happily shuffling my feet to “Sorry, Sorry” in the MRT and people were staring at me like I should check myself into Woodbridge. That made me more self-conscious and more restrained. However, I must applaud Couch Theatre for their efforts and I hope they are successful. I will do what I can to help them out.
Which brings me to the production itself. What is meant by “melancholy?” When the word melancholy is mentioned .. what frequently comes to mind? A feeling of sadness? Dread? Depression? Sympathy? A ho-hum kind of feeling. From what I understand, Melancholy play is about how the feeling of “melancholy” can be interpreted in various forms and how it may not be such a bad feeling after all. It also aims to portray why some people choose to be melancholy as opposed to bring all bright and silly. In this I think that Couch Theatre made the right decision in choosing to stage this play in Singapore. I think the feeling of Melancholy is very much prevalent in Singapore society. Worries and depression about the high rising costs of living, about childrens’ education, about not being able to find a job, about getting the best grades in school and about being able to get the complete Hello Kitty set in McDonalds. We are wired to be pessimistic .. to look for the half empty glass. With this play, the audience should be able to connect with the theme and be able to feel the same way as the actors. Why am I so emo? Is this feeling of emo something I am comfortable with? Can I get out of it? Do I want to get out of it? How to people around me see me / feel when I am emo? I hope this will all be acted out. It is now all down to the actors …

So please support Melancholy Play by Couch Theatre. The tickets are very reasonable at $25/ticket. You can get more details at       As they are new, this is a very limited run of only 4 shows so please get your tickets early. If you are tired of the typical ha-ha, dialect, slapstick theatre then maybe “Melancholy Play” is for you. Yeah I know currently life is depressing enough … but maybe after watching this .. Singaporeans may be more emo ?? Better than emo-less, Ho Hum..  Stay tuned for my review ….

Monday, June 3, 2013

Brief sabatical .... watever that means ...

Hi all Ladies and Gentlemen … Boys and Girls … young and all … blah blah blah ….

It has been more than 6 months since my last post. I have been pondering closing down this blog due to work commitments. These work commitments has resulted in me having to spend quite a bit of time abroad and so unable to catch any shows / plays / musicals in Singapore. However as luck may have it … the issue has kinda been resolved and my travelling schedule has been reduced so WOO HOOooooo … all out Singapore theatre for the rest of 2013!!! I will watch everything I can for the remaining 7 months of the year to make up for missing out from January to May 2013!!

So please stay tuned … previews and reviews coming up soon …. Love you guys !!!