The 16th century sailor seen wandering at the National Museum

30 01 2016

With all that’s been rumoured about the National Museum, the curious sight of a lost soul dressed in the manner of a 16th century Portuguese sailor wandering around one of its galleries would not be unexpected. Strangely though, rather than stay well away from the sailor – as one might expect, those present in the gallery seemed instead to be drawn to him.

The Level 2 galleries.

The National Museum – where the past comes alive in more ways than one.

There is little that is sinister about the sailor who roams the basement gallery with two muses in tow. On a quest to find what he thinks will offer an escape from the curse of his long but lonely existence – attributed to the consumption of the Elixir of Life, the sailor enlists the help of those around. The sailor, the two muses, and his quest – to find the greatest treasure in the world, is all part of the fun of an experiential play, “The Greatest Treasure in the World”.

A muse and Aesop (as well as several other characters from the past), also help Afonso in his quest.

A pair of muses and several other characters from the past, also help Afonso in his quest.

The experiential play also has the audience take part.

The experiential play also has the audience take part.

The play, created by Peggy Ferroa, has the audience, embark on a rather enjoyable adventure through time with Afonso, the Portuguese sailor – whose full name sounds as long as the life he has had. The search for the treasure takes place in the in the Treasures of the World from the British Museum exhibition –  where Afonso suspects he would, with the help of the audience, find what he seeks.

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Tickets to join Afonso on his quest cost $38 and can be booked through SISTIC. Two sessions of the hour-long experience will be held on the evenings of 30 January, 25, 26 and 27 February, 24, 25, and 26 March and 28, 29 and 30 April 2016. More information on the The Greatest Treasure in the World can be found at the National Museum of Singapore’s website.

The cast with Peggy Ferroa (standing second from right).

The cast with Peggy Ferroa (standing second from right).

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Three bears turning back the clock

13 08 2013

EVERYTHING BUT THE BRAIN on a Sunday Afternoon …

[A pair of tickets up for grabs – click here for details]

Sitting still watching a play isn’t something I can usually do for long, especially when it does involve trying to understand scientific theories. It was however just what I did do on a Sunday afternoon at the DBS Arts Centre, where I did sit completely still for the entire length of a performance of Jean Tay’s award-winning EVERYTHING BUT THE BRAIN, presented by Sight Lines Productions.

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EVERYTHING BUT THE BRAIN, in its third run here having been staged to sold-out audiences in 2005 and in 2007, is a play which revolves around the life of Elaine Lim (played by Koh Wan Ching), who finds herself taking a year off to care for her stroke-afflicted father (played by veteran actor Gerald Chew in a reprise to his role in the original staging for which he picked up Straits Times Life! Theatre Award for Best Actor).

The story is one which, despite its title, has everything to do with the brain. The main characters are ones whose love for Physics binds them together as much as the love between father and daughter does. Elaine is a Physics teacher and Father, a retired Professor of Physics who’s main work was in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – his attempt to explain the theory to a six-year old Elaine on a train ride to Malacca in which a chorus of three bears through the persuasion of Elaine are introduced, forms the basis for the Elaine’s attempt to slow time down to save her father from deterioration.

Main Leads Edward Choy, Gerald Chew and Koh Wan Ching.

Main Leads Edward Choy, Gerald Chew and Koh Wan Ching.

The chorus of three bears (played by Faizal Abdullah, Amanda Tee and Cassandra Spykerman), is present throughout the play, aiding not with narration but also with injecting much to laugh at into the hour and a half long play. Completing the list of characters is the Doctor (played by Edward Choy), with whom Elaine finds an uncannily a connection with each time he makes an appearance.

The three bears played by (from bottom) Faizal Abdullah, Amanda Tee, and Cassandra Spykerman.

The three bears played by (from bottom) Faizal Abdullah, Amanda Tee, and Cassandra Spykerman.

The mix of fairy tale characters in the three bears, a love-struck doctor and a much talked about Physics theory is a touch of genius which does help the audience in confronting a subject matter that is very real in our lives which nobody really likes to think about, mixing humour with plenty of poignancy. It is in this that we see the pain, emotional anguish, and the struggle that a child faces with an unplanned and unexpected situation which in which the roles of a parent and child are reversed.

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The restaging of the play is one in which sees Sight Lines Productions holding in partnership with the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) and the Health Promotion Board with an aim to raise the level of awareness of the fight against stroke. It hopes to also spread the message of  the necessity and critical importance of timely intervention in the event of a stroke. A performance held on Sunday evening was dedicated to a Charity Gala Night to raise funds in aid of the SNSA.

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While I do find myself saying strange things sometimes, saying that I would spend another one and a half hours with three bears in an attempt trying to understand the two Physics educators use of them in explaining a scientific theory isn’t quite as strange as it does sound. With the play running until 21 August 2013, there certainly is the opportunity for me to do that!


A pair of tickets to EVERYTHING BUT THE BRAIN up for grabs!

Do drop me an email with the subject “Everything but the Brain” by noon on Thursday 15 August 2013 with your name and email address. The winner of the pair of tickets will be informed by email. Tickets will be for the 8 pm performance on Sunday 18 August 2013.


About EVERYTHING BUT THE BRAIN

EVERYTHING BUT THE BRAIN tells the story of Elaine, a Physics teacher who hatches a plan to turn back time and save her stroke-afflicted father from further deterioration. Along the way, she is egged on by a chorus of three bears, occasionally distracted by a dashing young surgeon and haunted by a particularly memorable train ride to Malacca…

Don’t miss this award-winning, comic play, which premiered in 2005 to critical acclaim. After two sold-out runs, it went on to win two awards at the 2006 Life! Theatre Awards including “Best Original Script” and “Best Actor” (Gerald Chew).

“The adroit handling of themes, from the origins of genius to gene heritage and the tyranny of time make Everything but the Brain one of the best things seen on stage here in a while.”

– ST, LIFE!


About Sight Lines Productions

Established in 2011 by Derrick Chew and Engie Ho, Sight Lines Productions is an entertainment company that produces theatre, films and events. We believe in delivering entertainment that not only excites and entertains but inspires and challenges perspectives. We view ourselves as the next generation of theatre makers and are committed to nurturing young artistes and theatre practitioners, providing the stage and platform for them to produce quality work. We aim to become a national recognized brand name, focusing on the creation of new, exciting local work as well as the re-imagination and reinterpretation of existing modern texts.


Show Details

Written by: Jean Tay

Directed by: Derrick Chew

Cast: Amanda Tee, Cassandra Spykerman, Edward Choy, Faizal Abdullah, Gerald Chew, Koh Wan Ching

Show 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  / www.sistic.com.sg / Hotline: (65) 6348 555






Fly with three virgins to the moon

11 05 2013

It was on the moon that three young girls from Kampong Tanjung found themselves on at the end of an eventful fasting month of Ramadan. That Ramadan was one audiences are taken on an adventure through, as three best friends, reunite on the eve of Aidilfitri, in the improbable setting of a hospital room, look back at their friendship and reminisce about that Ramadan 30 years before.

The friends are Chot who is in a coma, Pungut who is the victim of an plane crash and Salmiah who is in a broken marriage who feature in a return of a play in Malay which received much acclaim during its debut run by Teater Kami in 1995. The play in taking audiences back to the childhood of the three friends also revisits the memories that the playwright and director, Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit, has of growing up in the long lost coastal village of Kampong Tanjong Irau in the Sembawang area of Singapore.

The journey the friends take through that fateful Ramadan, is one which also looks at the innocence and carefree days of childhood – in a rather amusing way, and one which is guaranteed to have the audience in stitches through the antics of the three as they relive their many moments of childhood mischief through that Ramadan at the end of which they embark on their flight to the moon on the back of a “rocket” – the rakit (Malay for “raft”) on which the three often find themselves on.

The play does also examine life’s realities with a tinge of sadness. The three lose touch as they continue journey into adulthood and are never able to find the opportunity to celebrate Hari Raya together, meeting in the hospital room where Chot lies in a coma.

Fun, amusing, and light-hearted, the play which does have English surtitles, is certainly one and a half hours well spent. It is one which I thoroughly enjoyed – not just for the laughs but for the opportunity to be taken back to a way of life which doesn’t exist anymore.

 …dan tiga dara terbang ke bulan is presented by Panggung Arts in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay as part of The Studios. Two more performances of it will be held today at 3 pm and 8 pm at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Tickets are priced at S$25.


About …dan tiga dara terbang ke bulan

…dan tiga dara terbang ke bulan (… and three virgins fly to the moon) is an acclaimed play returning to the Singapore stage after 18 years since it was first put up by Teater Kami in 1995. This new rendition will be helmed once again by director and playwright Aidli Mosbit, who was one of the artists who devised the original production, and will mark her return to directing. The story involves three women – one in a coma, another troubled by a broken marriage and a third who died in a plane crash – who are best friends and got together one night, by chance, to reminisce and celebrate 30 years of friendship. It will also feature a brand new cast consisting of Siti Khalijah Zainal, Shida Mahadi and Nur Khairiyah Ramli.


Images used in this post courtesy of Mr Delvin Lee of Esplanade.