Arts Picks: The Glass Menagerie, The Crab Flower Club, book bazaar

Salif Hardie (left) and Inch Chua will star in Pangdemonium’s The Glass Menagerie. PHOTO: PANGDEMONIUM

The Glass Menagerie

With this Tennessee Williams play, home-grown theatre company Pangdemonium is aiming for what could be some of the first full houses for Singapore theatre in a long while.

Audiences will be able to sit shoulder to shoulder in the 614-seat Victoria Theatre, nearly two years since theatres in Singapore had to shut down in March 2020 and, upon reopening, deal with social distancing restrictions such as leaving empty seats between patrons.

Williams, one of the foremost playwrights of early 20th-century America, is acclaimed for plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. But it was The Glass Menagerie that propelled him to fame in 1944.

The semi-autobiographical work, set in 1930s St Louis, Missouri, is a "memory play" based on narrator Tom Wingfield's recollections of his family, which may not be precise or reliable.

Tom, an aspiring poet, is trapped in a factory job to support his fragile sister Laura and his domineering mother Amanda, a one-time society belle left embittered by her husband's abandonment and her struggles to raise two children amid financial difficulties.

The Glass Menagerie has been a recurring favourite in Singapore theatre, with versions ranging from Singapore Repertory Theatre's 1996 production starring Pangdemonium co-founder Adrian Pang to Teater Kami's 2016 Malay adaptation Perhiasan Kaca.

This time, Tracie Pang directs the four-hander, which stars Jamil Schulze as Tom and Singapore-based American actress Catherine Gardner, best known for appearing in television soap opera All My Children between 1996 and 1998, as Amanda.

Singer-songwriter Inch Chua takes on the role of Laura, a shy, insecure girl who has a limp due to a childhood illness and who owns the titular menagerie of small glass figurines. Salif Hardie plays Jim, a gentleman caller whom Amanda has designs on as a suitor for Laura.

Where: Victoria Theatre, 11 Empress Place

MRT: City Hall/Raffles City

When: March 11 to March 27, Tuesdays to Fridays, 8pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 3 and 8pm

Admission: $40 to $80 from the Pangdemonium website.


The Crab Flower Club

PHOTO: TOY FACTORY PRODUCTIONS

In the late Qing Dynasty, the five daughters of the Wu household reunite on the eve of their father's 60th birthday. Their mission is twofold - to prepare a feast of crabs and set up a secret all-women poetry club, in defiance of the era's patriarchal rules.

Toy Factory's sumptuous fusion Chinese opera returns more than a decade after its acclaimed premiere at the 2009 Singapore Arts Festival. This will be its first Mandarin iteration in Singapore.

Directed by Goh Boon Teck, it draws on seven poems from Cao Xueqin's Dream Of The Red Chamber, one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature.

Where: Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive

MRT: City Hall/Esplanade

When: March 18 and 19, 8pm; March 20, 3pm

Admission: $38, $58 and $88 from the Esplanade website.

Info: Performed in Mandarin with English subtitles


Singapore Literature Book Bazaar

Remote video URL

Under the aegis of the Sing Lit: Read Our World movement, the Singapore Book Publishers Association is holding a book bazaar for home-grown literature both in person at The Arts House and online on e-commerce platform Lazada.

Besides book sales, there will also be hybrid author talks, panel discussions and workshops that will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

Where: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane; online

MRT: City Hall

When: Till March 20, 11am to 6pm daily

Admission: Free, registration required for events

Info: Visit the Singapore Book Publishers Association website.

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