A French Kiss In Singapore

Do not miss A French Kiss In Singapore.

Thank you SingTheatre and George Chan for putting this wonderful showcase of singing and storytelling together. Last Thursday we watched George Chan, Hossan Leong, Linden Furnell and Robin Goh interpret and deliver some of the most iconic French contemporary songs originally written and performed by Charles Aznavour, Charles Trenet, Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. We were blown away by the collective storytelling prowess of the quartet (as well as that of George, Hossan, Linden and Robin, who were nothing short of awesome).

For some more background on the French greats (and maybe jog your memory of some of the songs you already know):

A French Kiss in Singapore runs till 7 Dec. Book your tickets now.

Kumar’s Amazing Race

The past couple of years, I’ve said it’s a privilege working with the funniest drag queen on the planet.

Nothing’s changed in that respect. In fact, it’s been even more fun exploring all things Indian. From Little India to real India. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of the whole Thaipusam-cannot-play-drums-or-music debacle, and we’re quite certain we have the solution.

Just thought I’d post this before tickets sell out. They really are selling fast, so please, if you want to watch Kumar at the Esplanade this year, fasterly book now.

Kumar: Stripped Bare – big shout out

Kumar: Stripped Bare & Standing Up

It’s not every day one gets to write the script for a completely sold out show.

It’s been such privilege to help write Kumar’s show (which closed last night), and I only wish the run was longer so’s more people could’ve watched it.

It’s also been an extremely rewarding experience interviewing Kumar for a week at the beginning of this project, listening to his life stories, of which there were so many that there was the added task of picking which ones to put in the show.

What made it fun also was the fact that it wasn’t just one way traffic – Kumar learned from me about the lack of Tamil directional signage at the Airport, while I learned that “Lingam” is a symbol used in the worship of Shiva, and which is sometimes portrayed as a phallic symbol.

To correct Nalinee (just a little bit), the script wasn’t quite ‘well researched’ – it was more like the product of many good chats with Kumar.

There were also incredible moments where Kumar, beyond all expectations, took offence at a proposed punchline because it was too racist.

Thank you very much Selena, Kumar, Maniam (The Tabla Man), every single one from Dream Academy, and every single crew member that made this show rock.

Free tickets: Kumar strips bare

I have been at rehearsals for the past week for Kumar’s show, and I speak for everyone when I say we are having damn a lot of fun, can?

It’s also been a real privilege to be the writer for this show, because the stuff that Kumar’s been spewing during our workshops has been just revelation after revelation – about his remarkable life and his complicated family, and about being Indian in Singapore.

Sometimes its hard to tell if Kumar’s being serious or not – like when he asks me as he flips through the script, “Ben, you have all these Indian jokes, and then got the Malay one, and one Eurasian one, but don’t have Chinese racist joke. Why ah?”

Yanked my chain good.

I wish someone else would come, watch rehearsals and write about how much of a kickass show this is going to be, because, you know, if the writer tells you hisself, it’s kinda lame.

There is so much life in Kumar’s retelling of his life’s experiences that writing them down has been a real joy, with anecdotes and punches jumping off the pages and onto the rehearsal stage.

So, I’ve asked the producers for a pair of tickets to give away here. All you need to do is answer this question correctly, and the person that gives the first correct answer wins.

Q: What was Kumar’s vocation in national service?

Kumar: Stripped Bare & Standing Up
Venue: Esplanade Theatre
Dates: 19 – 21 March 2009
Tickets (selling really fast): Sistic

Seriously Hossan

My best friend Hossan is going to perform at the Esplanade (again) on the 27th and 28th (and extra show on the 29th because of popular demand) of this month. So, even if you’ve something better to do (which I doubt, because it’s Hossan performing at the Esplanade), get your tickets fast, and book yourself in for a treat.


Irene Ang in the V-Conference

Free panties for everyone!

Not every press conference gives out a swag that contains panties, and I’m happy to be associated with one that is. Thank you Triumph. OK, now that you’ve closed the bra company’s window, read on…

That’s a picture of Mr Y K Foo, freelance photographer snapping for Women’s Weekly, holding up one such panty with glee. OK, it was posed, obviously. But gleefully posed, can?

Rehearsals have started in earnest for Irene Ang’s one woman (and one man) show called “Irene Ang in the V-Conference“, and everyone’s going a bit mad, which is a good thing. Mad is good. You should see Irene Ang mad. She’s damn funny when she’s mad. Mad as in crazy.

Beatrice is going a bit mad too, but then she’s already mad to want to direct this show after coming off things like “Cabaret“.

Script reads and rehearsals so far have been really fun because Irene’s a bit scared of what we’re wanting to make her do. “What are you all trying to make me do?” is a common refrain in the rehearsal room.
Co-star Chua Enlai, on the other hand, is never reticent about being totally outlandish, so he’s already a hoot.

On behalf of Fly Entertainment (Irene’s company), thank you all youse journos who turned up for the press conference at Bellini Room, St James Power Station last week. For those who didn’t, you missed out on a bit of fun that Fly decided to put up, transferring a bit of the energy that rehearsals have been packed with. We made Irene wear a ridiculous frilly skirt and answer really awkward questions from the ‘press’ – comprising myself, Beatrice and Enlai. Questions such as “Irene, will we be seeing your “V” during the show?” were thrown at an unprepared Irene, who managed to ad lib admirably without revealing too much.

If only all press conferences were this fun.

Irene Ang in the V-Conference runs 25th – 27th and 30th September at Movida St James Power Station. Tickets available from tdc.sg and from all tickets.com outlets.

Please, come and watch! Bring your friends!

V-Conference Press Conference
Enlai (not paying attention), Beatrice, Irene and me (don’t like flash)

V-Conference Press Conference
No, Beatrice didn’t have to squat to get to my height

V-Conference Press Conference
In Malaysia, this is known as a “Wee”

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A good run

Yay, flowers!Update: Engie Ho, otherwise known as the multi-tasking production administrator for the show, has diligently informed me that I shouldn’t have left out the following names from my Thank You list: Shao Ann (lightning lighting designer), Mo (the theatre costume industry), Denise Low (The Producer). And the Ang Mo volunteer’s name is Lansell. Good on youse all! So here they are.

Thank you everyone who watched Hossan: Multiple Personalities Disorder. And thank you everyone in the production for making it such an enjoyable experience. Yes, I am understating it, because I really don’t know how to describe how great the whole experience has been.

Thank you to the company: Dream Academy Playhouse, and the MPD production people: Toh Lin, Stanley, Xin’en, Kala, Sofian, Engie, Shah, Bobbie, Ashley, Joo Huey, Fifi, Li Ting, Vivian and dunno who else… oh yah, the siao on Ang Moh who volunteered at Front of House. Champions all!

Hossan and Selena. Thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Love youse all!

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Thick skinned

 Albums V88 Shaoann Mpd4When Naomi asked me last night, ‘how was the show?’, I said, ‘good, Hossan was so funny I kept laughing even though I knew what was coming’.

‘Not shy, some people! Laugh at own joke!’, she said.

What I can say is, the jokes are no longer mine once they’ve been given a life of their own by Hossan. He owns the space. I mean, really! Me and the costume designer Mothar were in stitches, barely keeping our butts on our seats even though we had seen every single skit several hundred times.

And I’m not saying this just because I’m hoping more tickets will be sold. Although that would be nice. So here’s the link. Thank you very much!

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Opening night

The programThe show opens tonight! Yay!

Actually, I’m not sure what I’m feeling at the moment. A bit of nerves, a bit of relief, a bit of pride, a bit of nerves.

But yay, nonetheless. And yes, tickets are still available for the rest of the run (till Sat 10th Feb), though I think this week’s shows are gonna be quite crowded.

Thank you also to the test-audience at this afternoon’s final run, for laughing your asses off even before Hossan uttered a word. This is probably the first time that manic laughter’s actually had a calming effect. More please!

Thank you!

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Newater RawIt can be quite thirsty work, rehearsing for a show, even if you’re not the performer. Everything is coming together nicely. Actually, with five days to opening night, they’d better be. Thank goodness for these fizzy vitamin tablets that you put in water that make you look like you’re peeing highlighter ink an hour later.

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