A festival of Singapore plays from the years 1960 to 1990, Retrospective is held in recognition of the playwright’s role in the national dramatic fabric. The seven plays chosen for the festival trace the developing consciousness of Singaporeans. The reinterpretation of these seven plays by their respective directors in their search for contemporary themes is of special interest. The festival also represents the beginning of TheatreWorks’ overall focus on the playwright in the 90s. It heralds the beginning of the Writer’s Laboratory in 1991.
The Moon Is Less Bright
Hope dims in the lives of a vegetable farmer and his family when Singapore is invaded by the Japanese during World War II. Relatives from the city escape to his farm and their differing lifestyles and aspirations test the faith of his two sons. The Moon Is Less Bright was written in 1963 and first staged by the Lotus Club, University of Singapore.
A play that reflects the conscience of the 1960s, Mimi Fan shows that Singaporeans were as much in search of an inner peace as their Western counterparts. The dissatisfaction and impotence felt by foreign-educated intellectuals is seen through the story of protagonist Chan Fei Loong. Mimi Fan was written in 1962 and first staged by the Experimental Theatre Club. It was the first truly Singaporean play in English.
Witness the triumphs, the falls, the adventures of Malcolm Png and the merry men of Hotel Company as they venture forth into what they called “the Twilight Zone”. Army Daze was written in 1987 and first staged by TheatreWorks in that same year.
One Year Back Home
Hua, her brother Chye and friend Reginald, try to find their equilibrium when they return to Singapore after their studies abroad. Friendship and values, conscience and duty no longer balance in the scales back home. One Year Back Home was written in 1977 and first staged by the Experimental Theatre Club in 1980.
The Sword Has Two Edges
Based on a story from “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, the play narrates the tale of Han Chan, a servant girl, who risks her life and gives her youth to serve her country. The Sword Has Two Edges, written in 1954, was first staged by the Experimental Theatre Club in 1977.
Socrates, the great thinker, is on trial for allegedly corrupting the morals of youth and instigating unrest and dissent amongst students. His prosecutor is Plato, his former disciple, a brilliant scholar and now distinguished statesman. Whose logic prevails? The audience is the ultimate jury. Trial, written in 1986, was first staged by Jurong Junior College.
The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole
A grand burial for a venerated grandfather stops short when the coffin doesn’t fit in its hole. What will happen to the funeral rites and how will his grandson ensure the burial? The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole was written in 1984 and first staged by the Practice Performing Arts School.
The Sandpit: Womensis
Midnight. Shanti, the first wife, is on the verandah waiting for her husband, Athan, who has been away for the last four days. Sumati, the second wife, is in the brothel where Athan first found her. She too waits. While they wait, the two women talk. Recalling their marriages, they tell us about how Athan went to the sandpit and overcame his crippled state, about the mysterious liaison between Athan and No-Fear Tan, how Athan called Shanti the Silencer, and Sumati the Chatterer, and beat them both with his special weapon called the stinger. What has happened to Athan? Will he return? Neither wife really knows, but both have found strength and confidence in Athan.