I was expecting Deciphering The Peach Garden Oath to be a three-for-the-price-of-one Chinese opera treat. After all, you had Cantonese, Hainanese and Beijing opera all onstage at once. Plus, Toy Factory’s Goh Boon Teck, in a previous interview, gamely described their differences for the layman as “a poetry club, a fun community centre and a circus,” respectively.
That all flew out the window when I realised that distinguishing these forms as such doesn’t mean squat to anyone who knows next to nothing about Chinese opera and had his eyes clinging on the surtitles screen for dear life. Yes, that would be me. Continue reading ‘Huayi Fest! Peach Garden! Deciphering Chinese opera!’
Nominated Member of Parliament Audrey Wong (a.k.a. Singapore’s Arts NMP) has weighed in on the Victoria Theatre retrenchment issue, among other things. Here’s the statement she released to the press.
Stay tuned, because apparently, there’s more.
A response to the news of retrenchment of VT staff
“I read with regret the news that the veterans and stalwarts who made up Victoria Theatre’s staff, have been made redundant due to the closure of the theatre for renovations. I hope that NAC will make all efforts possible to find new jobs for the staff and provide them with the necessary moral support, as many of them have given decades of their lives in service to the arts. I also hope that NAC will do their utmost to help the part-time staff too. Their passion for the arts as well as their sense of duty were a hallmark of the Victoria Theatre-going experience.
I have been going to Victoria Theatre since I was a child – first when my parents presented Chinese Opera shows there, and later for other plays and dance performances. VT has long had an affectionate place in the hearts of theatre audiences and artists in Singapore. A few years ago, I organised a little tour of VT led by veteran actor Han San Juan, who regaled us with tales of the glory days of the 1960s when Chinese theatre audiences packed the hall to the rafters, when cast and crew worked tirelessly for the love of theatre, and when many stage effects had to be created by hand.
Both the Victoria Theatre and Drama Centre have contributed to the diversity and growth of the arts in Singapore, and I appeal to the Esplanade to remain committed to the ‘open door’ policy of these theatres. This is a valuable public service, because it allows arts groups of different capacities – from large-scale to small-scale, professional to amateur – to present shows, and broadens the outreach of the arts to the public.
I am sure I am not alone in expressing my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the team at VT for their untiring behind-the-scenes work all these years.”