The Opening Play for Shanghai Modern Drama Valley – International 5 Cities Public Theatre Festival 2012
K, a play produced by Toy Factory in September 1996 will return as the opening play in Shanghai Modern Drama Valley – International 5 Cities Public Theatre Festival 2012. This play was restaged by Singapore’s Drama Box in Esplanade’s Huayi Festival 2010.
K is one of Goh Boon Teck’s masterpieces, inspired by stories written by Franz Kafka. One of these stories is “Metamorphosis ”, which accounts the transformation of a man into an insect overnight, he faces very different treatment from people he knows and feels rejected by his surrounding. Goh Boon Teck’s K is about social prejudice, familial and peers pressure, which inadvertently transform human beings into insects. This unfortunate transformation of urbanites stems from the need to conform and adapt to societal structure.
K elaborates on a never-ending torment game, with seven innocent players morphing into unknown creatures. They each owns a code number, embark onto a conclusion-less discussion of safety and insecurity. The seemingly simple question leads them into a chain of contradictions and complications.
In the process of this tragical game, roles are switched and power is alternated. They drift into a life they hate but have to continue to breathe in. They reflect on their desires and dreams, while hitting on depressing reality. After a series of “metamorphoses”, seven of them experience their forgotten fears and nightmares again, then enter a total lost zone and become an unrecognisable state of selves.
K is a timeless classic envisions to inspire and challenge its audience. Written and directed by Singaporean playwright Goh Boon Teck, Chief Artistic Director of Toy Factory. K highlights the recurring problems of our society and shares meaningful message with today’s audience. Are we human beings or insects is a question fear by many in the past, present and future. In this blinded city that we live in, the loss of moral development and the courage to right the wrong, is a helpless movement to further cripple our humanity. This social decadent shades a dark shadow of current dehumanisation, sits rootedly like a silent elegy to the humankind.
The coming performance in Shanghai will be K’s third public staging. Seven representing groups from five cities are invited, we are proud to represent Singapore in this popular festival, organised by the Shanghai Modern Theatre Valley. This meaningful trip will prompt rich cultural exchange between Singapore Theatre and Chinese Arts Scene.
About the Festival
The festival will be held in Shanghai on April 25 to May 20, 2012. Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore theatre groups come together to present contemporary plays for an eventful three weeks. The line-up includes Theatre performances, Forum Theatre, Master classes, Talks and Exhibitions. This festival aims to address and reflect the culture and lifestyle development in modern cities, with the main focus on the relationship between Arts and City people. As the representative of Singapore’s Theatre, Toy Factory is honoured to be tasked as the grand opening performance of the festival. This will be our second opening performance for theatre festival, after our presentation of The Crab Flower Club in The 4th International Festival of Theatre – NTCC Splendid Asia 2010 in Beijing.
The performance venue is the modern and spectacular 800 Show Theatre. Once an old warehouse, it has converted into a creative hub for media events, press conferences, fashion shows, theatre, dance and other performances. This charismatic venue is gung-ho in spirit and embraces an artistic charm that will entice unswervingly.
Date: 7pm 28 &29 April 2012
Performance Venue: 800 Show Theatre, No. 800 Changde Road, Shanghai
The Crab Flower Club at Beijing’s China International Theatre Festival
East Pioneer Theatre,
19 Oct – 21 October 2010
A new play that captured the imaginations of 1,500 during the Singapore Arts Festival 2009, The Crab Flower Club was re-staged in Singapore in August of that year by popular demand. Both the media and the public have lavished praise about its stellar cast, powerful script, inspiring music and lavish set and costumes.
Set in a respectable household in the Qing Dynasty, 5 daughters come forth on the eve of their father’s 60th birthday. For the 5 ladies, whose personalities sparkle as irresistibly as flower diamonds, their twin mission is clear -to prepare the most delicately complex feast of crabs for their patriarch, as well as the setting up of an all-women poetry club.
As each of them conjures up their inner recipe, the 5 ladies assemble their intelligence, talents and grace nakedly on the table for this exchange of emotions and quick-witted verse. Words are pickled, skewered and boiled; wit is seared and charred; expressions stirred and steamed to perfection as each daughter reveals her menu of love.
In their eventful attempts, the inner worlds of spiritually beautiful Chinese poems are peeled and revealed layer by layer. The Crab Flower Club is a delicious examination on the excitingly calligraphic world of sensitivity and simmering feelings. Experience this feast of crabs, flowers and literature.
Acclaimed for his design and literary flair, Singaporean playwright and director Goh Boon Teck’s work is based on poems in Cao Xue Qin’s masterpiece, Dream of the Red Chamber. The Crab Flower Club is a calligraphic foray into the sensitive and simmering world of the female protagonists, accompanied by Franz Liszt’s Symphonic Poem – Les Preludes. Toy Factory Productions Ltd is honoured to invite Starhub to partner us in bringing this sumptuous piece of local Mandarin theatre to festival audiences in Beijing this October.
“Beautifully staged, the play demonstrated how art can be a release from the oppressions of life and also how beauty and decay seem to go hand in hand.” Straits Times Life!
“Buoyed by an effortlessly written script and the steady cadence of director Goh Boon Teck’s hand, it was like waiting for a mouth-watering dish that did not disappoint.” TODAY
“Goh Boon Teck takes the audience into the heart and hearth of this family…” Business Times
“Brilliant Work! The whole production is so refined and flawless! ” Philip Tan, Composer
“A lyrical production with an excellent cast!” TheApprenticeHousewife.sg
On 26 th April 2009, SPIRITS was performed to a full house audience in Russia’s Acron Center, with three rounds of curtain calls. Many were amazed with the ingenious artistic and musical direction of the show, which were directed by Toy’s Chief Artistic Director, Goh Boon Teck, and Malaysia’s very talented composer, Saidah Binte Rastam, respectively.
Organized by the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation and the Theatre Union of the Russian Federation, the International Theatre King Festival is one of the most important culture events of Russia. Besides award-winning international groups from Bulgaria, Israel, Germany and Korea, Toy was the first and only Singapore group to make its presence there.
Spirits, which made its world premiere during Singapore Arts Festival 2005 drew tremendous attention due to the unique blend of east and west, traditional Chinese opera accompanied by a mix of western and traditional music. It was named the “hippest opera show” and some even refer it to the “Opera for the MTV Generation”.
Spirits in Russia will see the original talented cast at work again. Aw Yeong Peng Mun, who is Singapore’s only ‘nan huadan’ (female impersonator) and one of the most acclaimed Cantonese opera performers, will be re-enacting his role as Yu XuanJi again. This time, Malaysia’s Saidah Rastam will lead the musicians, bringing back the unique and creative fusion of east and west music. With highly acclaimed cast and musicians in the team, they are ready to share innovative Singaporean Theatre with the Russians.
Toy has participated in creative exchanges in Japan, Egypt, China, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand since it’s establishment in 1990. Toy has propelled the homegrown theatre company into an ambitious ensemble, with its eyes firmly set on the rest of the world.