Arts Picks: Exhibition of Singapore artists, Hokkien opera adaptation

Boom is a 2007 stage play by Jean Tay that has been adapted into a feature film. PHOTO: RYAN LOI


This adaptation of Singaporean playwright Jean Tay’s 2007 stage play of the same name follows an elderly mother struggling to preserve her home.

A tribute to the quickly vanishing heritage sites in Singapore, the heartfelt story is told in English, Hokkien and Cantonese with English subtitles.

This 60-minute work marks the feature film debut of director Derrick Chew, who has more than 15 years of production and directing experience in theatre and entertainment. His graduation short film Conversations won Best Film at the 20th Singapore International Film Festival in 2022.

Where: Esplanade Recital Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive
MRT: Esplanade
When: Saturday and Sunday, 3.30pm
Admission: Free with registration

Voice Of Art – I

Starry Night #10 by Kevin Tan is among the artworks showcased by 80 artists at Ion Art Gallery. PHOTO: BE ONE GALLERY

This exhibition at Ion Art Gallery features 80 emerging and established artists residing in Singapore reflecting on and redefining the meaning of Singapore culture and interconnectedness.

Among the notable artists are Wong Yee Heng and Mohamad Quthubdean Mohamad Farooq, who respectively clinched the silver prize and was highly commended in Singapore’s Emerging Artist category at the 2021 United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year award.

Pateo Chang, the 2022 silver award winner of Singapore’s Established Artist category, also has a work shown at the exhibition.

Where: Ion Art Gallery, Level 4 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn
MRT: Orchard
When: Friday to Wednesday, 10am to 10pm
Admission: Free

Quest – The White Hare

Quest – The White Hare follows a mishmash of characters attempting to stage a Hokkien opera with no experience. PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

In recreating classic Hokkien opera The White Hare – a story about a rabbit reuniting a mother and son after 16 years – Toy Factory uses the fable to reconnect audiences with their cultural roots.

“This is another attempt to experiment with Hokkien opera,” says director Goh Boon Teck, 51.

“Art is always evolving – with artists, with time, with society. I am not an opera purist or a traditional artist. Although I want it to be safe-kept as it is, I am from the theatre arena. I think I do have the liberty and licence to create a different look.”

Most of the cast members, who have no opera training, play characters with little familiarity with Hokkien opera and, in some cases, little mastery of the dialect. The exception is veteran theatre performer Wei Li Fen, who used to perform with Singapore’s oldest Hokkien opera troupe Sin Sai Hong. She will perform excerpts of Hokkien opera in the production.

Goh says: “I hope Hokkien opera purists will give this a chance by viewing it as an alternative way of delivering the art form. There is always another way to say the same sentence and do the same dance.”

Where: Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive
MRT: Esplanade
When: Friday and Saturday, 8pm
Admission: From $32

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