Tag Archives: the theatre practice

The Bride Always Knock Twice《她门》

Last Friday, Rachel and I attended the opening night performance of The Theatre Practice’s latest play, The Bride Always Knock Twice《她门》:

The Bridge Always Knocks Twice
The Bridge Always Knocks Twice

The attendees for the night featured many prominent figures in the Singapore Chinese cultural scene. My big boss, the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese Newspapers Division in Singapore Press Holdings, Mr Lim Jim Koon was there, so was Zaobao.com Editor/ Crossroads Editor, Dr. Zhou Zhao Cheng. I was pleasantly surprise to spot two Member of Parliament, Mr Low Thia Khiang and Mr Chen Show Mao with their respective spouses.

The play is an ambitious narrative about eight different women from different era in Singapore history, each seeking their own escapism. Interestingly, it is written by two men, playwrights Jonathan Lim and Liu Xiaoyi. The director, Kuo Jian Hong is female.

Synopsis:

A door that’s never locked. A mysterious location. Occupied by women from different generations and backgrounds – and their secrets. A runaway bride abruptly invades this space, kicking off a series of suspenseful moments, frolics, disputes and warmth.

Audiences will find this light-hearted black comedy to be hugely accessible, as the merriment of the show provides a setting to explore the issues of gender, history, society and more.

Main trailer:

Series of trailers on “Missing” females – Part 1 of 8:

To catch the other 7 parts, visit The Theatre Practice’s youtube channel. 

Men writing about women – risky, but I think they did a pretty good job. Many female audiences seem to enjoy the play, including my wife.

In fact, Rachel was shocked when I told her the play was written by two men.

I find the use of several different languages (Malay, Cantonese and Chinese) to reflect the multilingual Singapore society since historical times very refreshing. However, it can be a bit difficult to keep up with the subtitles, especially when a few characters use different languages at the same time.

The playwright weaved in some puns on the current tension between born-in-Singapore Singaporeans versus the “new citizens” and “new immigrants”. What makes a person a Singaporean? There is the white collar office worker who immigrated from Hong Kong to Singapore before 1997 who consider herself an “old citizen” while criticising another woman from mainland China who only came here recently with a student permit. Are they that different? What is old and what is new?

I like the concept and setting of the whole play. Put eight vastly different women from different era into a confined room and they are forced to interact. This is bound to bring out tensions and coax out the life story of each character, one at a time. Brilliant. This keeps the audience in constant suspense, expecting to find out more about each character as the play moves along.

A white collar worker, a sultan's concubine, a bride, a masseur, a nun, an actress, a samsui woman and a policewomen - how diverse!
A white collar worker, a sultan’s concubine, a bride, a masseur, a nun, an actress, a samsui woman and a policewomen – how diverse!

Overall, Rachel enjoyed the play much more than me. I was probably trying to read too much into the escapism narrative, trying to find some deeper symbolism while she is able to take the storyline at face value. At times, I feel the liberal use of caricatures for entertainment sacrificed much precious screen time which could have been used to bring out more depth to each character.

At the end of the play, I left the theatre wanting to know more about each character, beyond what was revealed in the play. Then again, this could a deliberate ploy by the playwrights…

The Bride Always Knock Twice is now showing at the Drama Centre Theatre till 6 April 2013. More information is available at The Theatre Practice’s official website. To purchase tickets online, visit SISTIC. Go catch it! 🙂

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《老九》音乐剧 Lao Jiu: The Musical (2012)

Lao Jiu Musicial (2012)
Lao Jiu Musicial (2012)

A Boy. A Dream. A Choice.

Lao Jiu《老九》is one of Kuo Pao Kun (郭宝崑), the pioneer of Singapore theatre’s most popular and accessible works. In 2005, Lao Jiu was adapted into a musical for the first time, and this year it is restaged as an entirely new creative production featuring an exciting fresh lineup of performers and creative collaborators.

Getting to know Kuo Pao Kun
Getting to know Kuo Pao Kun
Lao Jiu storyboarding
Lao Jiu storyboarding
Rehearsal photos
Rehearsal photos

2012 marks the tenth anniversary of Kuo Pao Kun’s passing and The Theatre Practice is holding a Kuo Pao Kun Festival (郭宝崑节) to showcase some of his works. Lao Jiu is one such production:

I caught the musical at the premiere last Friday together with my wife, Rachel, thanks to the folks from The Theatre Practice. omy.sg is the official online media for the production.

Both Rachel and I enjoyed Lao Jiu very much. As we were commuting home, I asked Rachel what’s her key takeaway from the musical. Her answer sums up my sentiments nicely: “Everybody will have a Lao Jiu moment at some point in our lives. It’s about choice and that’s what makes Lao Jiu so accessible to everyone”.

Whether you are a student or a parent; a “scholar” or from the working class; you will be able to find inspiration from the musical.

Tickets to the musical is on sale now via SISTIC. Lao Jiu will be showing at the Drama Centre Theatre from 13 to 29 July 2012. 

Do get your tickets before they are sold out or the production ends it’s run.

Synopsis:

As the only son in the family, Lao Jiu (the ninth born) realises that he should grasp the prestigious scholarship opportunity that has opened up for him; yet, he hesitates at the critical junction of attaining the academic prize. Where his passion lies instead is in mastering the traditional art of puppetry. Will Lao Jiu persist in pursuing his dream, or will he continue upon the well-trodden scholarly path? Caught in between what his heart dictates and what his family desires, what decision will he make?

老九,家中排行第九的独子。被家人寄以厚望的他,有机会问鼎一项极具声望的奖学金。就在即将迈向光辉前途的重要关头,他犹豫了。原来他想继续学习自己热爱而又濒临失传的传统木偶表演艺术。究竟老九会追求自己的理想,还是步上领取奖学金的光明大道?游走于理想与现实、传统与现代之间,他该作何抉择?

The storyline seems so familiar isn’t it?

How many of our youths have cast their dreams and aspirations aside, in pursue of the coveted scholarships that promise a life of a smooth-sailing career and success ahead?

This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something worth thinking about. If my son Asher was to grow up and tell me he wants to be a full-time puppeteer, I would have my worries too.

In the context of Singapore’s elitist mindset of picking, branding and “manufacturing” scholars from a young age, the story of Lao Jiu still holds much relevancy into some of the fault lines in our current society.

Interview with the director, Kuo Jian Hong, the daughter of Kuo Pao Kun:

Interview with two of the leads, Sugi and Inch Chua:

Music video for the main theme song 《我是老九》:

I enjoyed Sugi and Inch Chua’s songs in the musical. Sugi brings about a playful charm to the lead character of Lao Jiu.

The two older cast of Marcus Chin and Lim Kay Siu exudes great chemistry too.

The narrative does appear a little draggy in the middle due to the simple story line. Nonetheless, the strong cast performance and musical numbers carried it along.

I like the added touch of puppetry play, weaved into the narrative. It reminds me of the multimedia theatrical adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by American filmmaker Stephen Earnhart which I saw at the Singapore Arts Festival earlier this year. Puppetry was also featured prominently.

To me, this is a way of breathing new life into an otherwise dying art. Puppetry would be very hard to appeal to the mass audience on its own, but fusing it with theatrical performances brings it to another level. 🙂

《聊斋》Liao Zhai Rocks!

Liao Zhai Rocks!
Liao Zhai Rocks!

Thanks to the folks at The Theatre Practice (实践剧场), Rachel and I caught their latest theatre production, 《聊斋》Liao Zhai Rocks! at the Drama Centre Theatre last Friday.

This production also marks The Theatre Practice’s 250th production as they celebrate their 45th anniversary this year.

45th anniversary logo
45th anniversary logo
I left a note on behalf of the omy.sg team
I left a note on behalf of the omy.sg team
Good crowd at the show
Good crowd at the show

Here’s a short synopsis of 《聊斋》Liao Zhai Rocks! from the official website:

故事灵感取自于中国神怪小说集《聊斋志异》。这一回将推陈出新、挑战传统理念,带你进入凄美的人鬼妖仙迷离世界。风流书生桑晓爱上了狐妖婴宁,经过一番死缠烂打,终于夺得芳心。不久后,他又恋上女鬼封三娘,被欺骗喝下毒药而成了替死鬼。对爱执著的婴宁,决定不顾一切到阴间救回情郎,才发现。。。

Inspired by the colourful folk stories of Qing dynasty classic ‘The Strange Tales of Liao Zhai’, Liao Zhai Rocks! vamps up all things period and brings you into a fantastical world of captivating characters. The scholar, Sang Xiao, wins the affections of Ying Ning, a vixen spirit, only to fall for the ploy of a duplicitous ghost. But when he is poisoned and cast into the underworld, it is the vixen spirit who, driven by true love, embarks on a perilous journey to save him…

Rachel and I fell in love with last year’s 《天冷就回来》(If There’re Seasons…), produced by The Theatre Practice, with the musical talent of Liang Wern-Fook (梁文福). Hence we were really looking forward to catching this year’s Liao Zhai Rocks! which involves similar directing and producing talents, with the musical talents of composer Eric Ng (黄韵仁) and lyricist Xiaohan (小寒).

Me with the program booklet
Me with the program booklet
Rachel with some promotional standees
Rachel with some promotional standees
Together on the photo wall
Together on the photo wall
Waiting for the show to start
Waiting for the show to start

Overall, we enjoyed the stage extravagant for Liao Zhai with its colourful costumes and innovative fusing of traditional Chinese folklore with rock music. The story was simple to understand and the music was moving.

The only minor complain we have is that both of us found the male lead a little lacking in manliness. Maybe the casting was deliberate as olden days Chinese scholars should be this way, but we just could not feel the chemistry between the male lead and the two female leads, unlike in If There’re Seasons…

Still, it’s a production worth every dollar to watch. You can check out their official website or watch these trailers below if you are not convinced:

Behind the scene:

Raving Reviews of Liao Zhai Rocks!:

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Singapore Blog Awards 2009: Check out 100 of the best blogs in Singapore

Finalists revealed
Finalists revealed

The top 100 finalists in the ten categories of the Singapore Blog Awards 2009 were released yesterday. You can visit the official website to check out the full list. 🙂

The full press release is as below:

Media Release

For immediate release

Singapore Blog Awards 2009: Check out 100 of the best blogs in Singapore

Singapore, 15 June 2009omy.sg today released the top ten finalists in the ten main categories of the Singapore Blog Awards 2009.

The categories are Most Insightful Blog, Best LOL (laugh-out-loud) Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best e-Commerce Blog, Best Photography Blog, EASB (East Asia Institute of Management) Best Youth Blog and Best Lifestyle Blog, with the addition of three new categories Best Modeling Blog, Best WTH (what-the-hell) Blog and Best Food Blog.

Organised by omy (www.omy.sg), a bilingual news and interactive web portal by Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH), the Awards honour “new-age wordsmiths” who devote their time and energy to create and maintain informative and innovative blogs.

There were 1500 blog registrations for this year’s Awards.  This was an increase of 50% from last year.

“The overwhelming response and a higher quality in the blog entries show that netizens have a greater impact now. Some overseas blogs are also in the running this year, and with such a vast diversity, one can truly expect a kaleidoscopic finale that’s worth waiting for,” said omy.sg Associate Editor, Ms Lee Kuan Fung.

The 100 finalists include a diverse range of individuals representing the multicultural aspect of Singapore.

Highlights include:

– A 15-year-old boy who is Singapore’s top Twitter user in the Best Youth Blog category (http://TechXav.com);

– A young doctor sharing about his work experience in the Best Individual Blog category (http://medicboyz.blogspot.com)

– Eye-brow plucker turned modeling agency boss, Steven Lim in the Best LOL Blog category (http://StevenLim.net)

– Ten gorgeous models in the Best Modeling category, including ladies who are not shy to post lingerie photos of themselves on their blogs

– A Singapore Management University student blogger who shares his blog with Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr George Yeo in the Most Insightful Blog category (http://ephraim.blogspot.com)

– A ghost hunter in the Best WTH category (http://sghc.info)

– A photographer who attempts to document the Singapore night life scene in the Best Photo Blog category (http://www.butheretonight.com)

– A blog shop that specialises in selling lingerie in the Best e-Commerce Blog category (http://www.sensualaffair.com)

– Singapore’s X-Box blog ambassador in the Best Lifestyle Blog category (http://sheylara.com)

– Three mums battling it out with their interesting recipes in the Best Food Blog category. (See attached appendix for full list)

The winners will be selected via voting and judging by a panel of ten professional judges.

Voting for the Singapore Blog Awards starts today and can be done via the official website – http://sgblogawards.omy.sg. Voters stand to win attractive prizes like portable hard disks and video cameras.

The judges this year are Mr Man Shu Sum, CEO of Mark Burnett Asia; Mr Kelvin Tong and Mr Royston Tan, both Singapore movie directors; Ms Kuo Jian Hong, Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre Practice; Ms Anna Lim, Radio 100.3FM deejay; Mr Josh Lim, Managing Director of Advertlets; Mr U-Zyn Chua,CEO of Ping.sg; Mr Samuel Ng, CEO of Marine Parade Family Service Centre; Ms Xiao Han, Director and Lyricist of Funkie Monkies Productions and Mr Chua Chim Kang, Editor of omy.sg and Lianhe Wanbao.

The winners will be crowned at a closing ceremony, with details to be announced later. The winner of each category will walk away with a custom-designed trophy created by Singapore Cultural Medallion winner Mr Tan Swie Hian and a variety of sponsored prizes.

Adding to the excitement is the finalists’ list for two fringe awards which are determined entirely by public voting. They are the Best Local Celebrity Blog and the Best Overseas Celebrity Blog.

All bloggers and voters stand to win a total of over $20,000 worth of prizes by participating in the Awards. Prizes include mobile phones, shopping vouchers, overseas hotel accommodation packages, food products and more.

The Singapore Blog Awards 2009 is sponsored by the East Asia Institute of Management (EASB), United International Pictures (UIP), National Heritage Board (NHB), Asia Web Direct, Koka, ST701, HTC and Play Smart Pte. Ltd. It is supported by local search and directory service, Rednano and two blog networks, Advertlets.com and Ping.sg.

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《天冷就回来》If There’re Seasons

If Therere Seasons
If There're Seasons

If There’re Seasons《天冷就回来》is a home grown musical by The Theatre Practice (实践剧场) which will ends it’s run tomorrow (10 May). I watched it with Rachel two weeks ago on a Tuesday night.

Here’s a behind-the-scene video of the rehearsal:

It was a wonderful experience for us, listening again to the nostalgic xinyao (新谣) songs of Dr. Liang Wern Fook (梁文福). We enjoyed the musical so much that we bought the CD during the intermission and had been listening to it for the past few days.

The songs were cleverly woven into a narrative about Singaporeans chasing their dreams oversea, only to come back to Singapore where they belong after one big circle.

For just that one night, I paused for a moment and reflected about the wonderful things I love about this country where I am born. For that one night, I felt proud to be a Singaporean, something I had not felt in many years, irritated by the high cost of living here; the severe overcrowding; the compulsory conscription of all Singaporean-born males and the accompanying ten years of reservist; the lack of free speech and expression; the insanely hot weather; rude and kiasu Singaporeans; the list goes on.

There was a time when Singaporeans were proud of our language, heritage and culture. What happened to us now? Chinese Singaporeans who can barely speak Chinese and proud to be so; a country concerned only about economic growth and nothing else.

This musical set me thinking about Singapore much more than any extravagance National Day Parade which do not mean anything to me beyond showing off our military and economic prowess.

Go watch it if you can next year. Remember to book your tickets early. The musical had a sold-out performance last year and repeated the feat again this year. 🙂

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Singapore Blog Awards 2009

Singapore Blog Awards 2009
Singapore Blog Awards 2009

Please support this k? 🙂

You can help by blogging about this or pasting this blog button onto your blog.

We have roped in more sponsors this year and two blog networks, Advertlets.com and Ping.sg to help omy.sg to rally for more bloggers to take part in this award.

You can now submit blog nomination/registration; join omy’s Blog Club; vote for the most Blogged-About Event in 2008; join the official Singapore Blog Awards facebook group and even chat with other bloggers.

The official press release as below:

Singapore Blog Awards return with more categories and prizes

Singapore, 28 April 2009 — The Singapore Blog Awards return this year with more categories and prizes for bloggers!

Organised by omy (www.omy.sg), a bilingual news and interactive web portal by Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH), the Awards honour “new-age wordsmiths” who devote their time and energy to create and maintain informative and innovative blogs.

A total of 6000 blogs were nominated and over 70,000 votes were cast for last year’s inaugural event.

This year, three new award categories, namely Best Modeling Blog, Best WTH (what-the-hell) Blog and Best Food Blog are added to the existing list of seven categories, which are Most Insightful Blog, Best LOL (laugh-out-loud) Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best e-Commerce Blog, Best Photography Blog, EASB (East Asia Institute of Management) Best Youth Blog and Best Lifestyle Blog.

With more sponsors participating in the event, prizes will also be more enticing for participating bloggers.

Ms Lee Kuan Fung, Associate Editor of omy.sg, said: “The blogosphere gets more exciting with more people sharing their stories online and more readers supporting these stories. With the launch of the second Singapore Blog Awards, we hope to bring these voices to a new high. ”

Nominations and registrations for the Singapore Blog Awards are now open. The public can log on to the official site (http://sgblogawards.omy.sg) to nominate their favourite blogs. Bloggers can also participate directly by registering themselves for the Awards.

The Awards will be divided into three phases. The first phase consists of nomination and registration, which will end in June 2009. Following that, the omy editorial team will select the top ten blogs for each category. These blogs will then be put through a rigorous public voting process as well as scoring by a panel of ten professional judges.

The judges this year are Mr Man Shu Sum, CEO of Mark Burnett Asia; Mr Kelvin Tong and Mr Royston Tan, both Singapore movie directors; Ms Kuo Jian Hong, Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre Practice; Ms Anna Lim, Radio 100.3FM deejay; Mr Josh Lim, Managing Director of Advertlets; Mr U-Zyn Chua, CEO of Ping.sg; Mr Samuel Ng, Executive Consultant of Marine Parade Family Service Centre; Ms Xiao Han, Director and Lyricist of Funkie Monkies Productions and Mr Chua Chim Kang, Editor of omy.sg and Lianhe Wanbao.

In the third and final phase, the winners will be crowned at a closing ceremony, with details to be announced later. The winner of each category will walk away with a custom-designed trophy created by Singapore Cultural Medallion winner Mr Tan Swie Hian and a variety of sponsored prizes.

Commenting on the Awards, Mr Kelvin Tong, who is one of the judges, said: “There were pagers. Then, there were mobile phones. Now there is the blog. Blogging has become a vital and intrinsic part of youth culture. They express the experiences, thoughts, ideas, dreams, hopes and fears of the new generation.”

Adding to the excitement are fringe awards which are determined entirely by public voting. They are the Best Local Celebrity Blog, Best Overseas Celebrity Blog and the Most-Blogged-About event in 2008. There will be no prizes given to the fringe award winners.

All bloggers and voters stand to win a total of over $20,000 worth of prizes by participating in the Awards. Prizes include mobile phones, shopping vouchers, overseas hotel accommodation packages, food products and more.

The Singapore Blog Awards 2009 is sponsored by the East Asia Institute of Management (EASB), United International Pictures (UIP), National Heritage Board (NHB), Asia Web Direct, Koka, ST701, HTC and Play Smart Pte. Ltd. It is supported by blog networks, Advertlets.com and Ping.sg.

Singapore Blog Awards 2009 Categories:

1. EASB Best Youth Blog EASB 最佳青苹果部落格

This category is for all blogs written by bloggers below 16 years old.

2. Best Lifestyle Blog 最佳生活资讯部落格 (sponsored by National Heritage Board)

This category is for blogs with strong lifestyle content.

3. Best Photography Blog 最靓摄影部落格 (sponsored by Asia Web Direct)

This category is for professional photography blogs.

4. Best Food Blog 最佳饮食部落格 (sponsored by KOKA)

This category is for blogs featuring food reviews, cooking and recipes content.

5. Best e-Commerce Blog 最佳 e-shop部落格 (sponsored by ST701)

This category is for blogs which deal with online commercial activities, including corporate blogs and blog-shops.

6. Most Insightful Blog 最具深度部落格

This category is for serious blogs with interesting and revealing insights, analytical reports, dealing with various social issues.

7. Best LOL Blog 最具娱乐性部落格

This category is for blogs with strong humour that cackles up readers.

8. Best “WTH” Blog 最不可思议部落格

Blogs which focus on the strange, the underground – topics that make you go “What-the-hell is this?”

9. Best Modeling Blog 最佳个人靓照部落格

This category is for blogs with lots of self portraits and modelling photos.

10. Best Individual Blog 最具个人特色部落格

This category is for individualistic blogs with free-wheeling content about daily lives and musings that cannot easily fit into any categorisation.

Judging Criteria
To crown the award winner for each of the 10 categories, a score will be computed based on public votes (30%) and professional judging (70%).

Judging Criteria And Points

Inspiring/entertaining content – 40
Expression/presentation – 30
Judges Total – 70
Voting Total – 30

Other Fringe Awards:

Popular Choice Awards (sponsored by HTC)
This will be awarded to the top five most voted bloggers among the finalists in the ten main categories.

2008 Most-Blogged-About Event
A voting-only category for the public to determine a news event that generated the most interest in the local blogosphere in 2008.

Celebrity Blog Award

1. Best Overseas Celebrity Blog
This category is for blogs written by overseas celebrities in the entertainment and media industry, writers, sportsmen and others.

2. Best Local Celebrity Blog
This category is for blogs written by Singapore celebrities in the entertainment and media industry, writers, sportsmen and others.

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