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.


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.”


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  / / Hotline: (65) 6348 555

Edging in with a song cycle

12 04 2013

A lighthearted and surprisingly entertaining production which is currently playing at the Drama Centre in Singapore is EDGES the Musical. Produced by Sight Lines Productions and directed by Derrick Chew, the musical takes a look at four characters – young adults at the crossroads between adolescence and adulthood. Their experiences, their hopes and dreams and their emotions are expressed through what is a fairly new concept in their use in musicals seen in Singapore (and to me), a song cycle.

Edges features a cast of four young locally based performers in a small scale but highly entertaining musical.

Edges features a cast of four young locally based performers in a small scale but highly entertaining musical.

Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who are the youngest winners of the Jonathan Larson Award), and with performances seen in North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa, Edges features “Be My Friend” in its song cycle, more popularly known perhaps as the “Facebook Song” which went viral on the internet. In it is a locally based cast, three of whom are from LASALLE College of the Arts Musical Theatre Programme, Mina Kaye, Linden Furnell, and Kristy Griffin. The fourth member of the extremely talented cast is Benjamin Kheng, a member of  local indie band, The Sam Willows, who has been named as one of ST Life’s face to watch in 2013.

Benjamin Kheng who has been named as one of ST Life's face to watch in 2013.

Benjamin Kheng who has been named as one of ST Life’s face to watch in 2013.

While the production does examine contemporary issues faced by the young adults of today, told through catchy tunes and lyrics which offer a witty look at situations the characters face, most of us (myself, having left that phase in life far behind, included) can quite easily relate to the characters’ experiences. Combined with what must be said is a masterful performance provided by the young cast, the musical was great fun, thoroughly enjoyable and well worth very bit of the one-and-a-half hours of time spent watching the characters deal with the emotional roller coaster associated with the coming of age.

Mina Kaye a graduate of LASALLE's Musical Theatre who made her professional stage debut at the Esplanade Theatre in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Mina Kaye a graduate of LASALLE’s Musical Theatre who made her professional stage debut at the
Esplanade Theatre in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

EDGES the Musical runs from 3 to 19 April 2013 at the Drama Centre Blackbox (National Library Building Level 5). Showtimes are on Mondays to Fridays at 8 pm and on Saturdays at 5 pm and 8 pm. Tickets are avilable at S$38/- with discounts available for Arts Platinum & FRANK Cards (15%), and all other OCBC Cards as well as PAssion Card (10%) at TicketMash.

Linden Furnell and Kristy Griffin.

Linden Furnell and Kristy Griffin are also graduates of LASALLE.

I have two pairs of tickets, courtesy of Sight Lines Productionss, for the show on Monday 15 April 2013 to give away. If you are interested, do drop me an email by Saturday 13 April 2013 with your name, email address, and why you would like to catch the show. Winners will be notified by email the following day.

Production photographs courtesy of Sight Lines Productions