SPH Chinese Media Group presents crosstalk production It Could Have Been____!

From left: Playwright Han Lao Da, and crosstalk veterans Johnny Ng and Yong Ser Pin.
From left: Playwright Han Lao Da, and crosstalk veterans Johnny Ng and Yong Ser Pin.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - To mark Singapore's bicentennial, Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Chinese Media Group is presenting a Chinese crosstalk production on Singapore's history.

The crosstalk production, also known as xiang sheng in Chinese, is titled It Could Have Been____!, said SPH in a statement on Thursday (May 9).

The performance will be launched at this year's Singapore Book Fair, with the first two shows at Capitol Singapore on June 8 and 9.

Subsequent performances will be staged over the following weekends at Ang Mo Kio Central Stage, Our Tampines Hub and Kampung Admiralty. Admission is free.

The production was first staged at the Esplanade in 2015 and had garnered rave reviews from audiences.

The script was written by Cultural Medallion recipient Mr Han Lao Da, a Singapore crosstalk pioneer and renowned Chinese-language theatre playwright.

In this version of the production, Mr Han updated the script into a 75-minute performance with seven acts spanning across 700 years of Singapore's history.

  • Performance details

  • June 8 (Sat), 8pm, Capitol Singapore (Stage @ Plaza, Level 1)

    June 9 (Sun), 4pm, Capitol Singapore (Stage @ Plaza, Level 1)

    June 15 (Sat), 7.30pm, Ang Mo Kio Central Stage

    June 16 (Sun), 7.30pm, Ang Mo Kio Central Stage

    June 22 (Sat), 4.30pm, Our Tampines Hub

    June 23 (Sun), 6pm, Our Tampines Hub

    June 29 (Sat), 7.30pm, Kampung Admiralty

    June 30 (Sun), 7pm, Kampung Admiralty

The production has also been modified for the open stage, and is directed by theatre practitioner Jalyn Han and anchored by local crosstalk veterans Johnny Ng and Yong Ser Pin.

There will be a synopsis in English at the beginning of each scene to cater to a wider audience.

It Could Have Been____! is co-organised by SPH's Chinese Media Group with People's Association (PA) and presented by China Life Insurance Singapore in support of the bicentennial.

Mr Han said: "We hope that (this production) will help to educate Singaporeans about our past, which did not begin with the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles but way before that.

"The production also touches on the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore which is a constant concern of citizens from both countries. Crosstalk is an ideal platform to help audiences to appreciate serious topics in a more light-hearted manner."

SPH's Chinese Media Group head Lee Huay Leng said the"thought-provoking production is an extremely meaningful and entertaining showcase. Through the comical language of a cross-talk, it enables audiences to acquire better understandings about Singapore's history and the close ties between Singapore and Malaysia".

PA director of grassroots policy and programmes division Clarin Wee said: "Through our collaboration (with SPH's Chinese Media Group), we hope to reach out to more Singaporeans and they can get to enjoy this light-hearted and engaging performance."

Mr Zhu Lixin, deputy general manager of China Life Insurance Singapore, said: "As crosstalk is a popular Chinese cultural art form, we are delighted to use this event to help promote this traditional art to a wide audience."