This is a story about the who’s who of Singapore’s theatre industry, more accurately, the people who had participated in the production of Beauty World, and flourished from an unknown to who they are today.
Unless you are a fervent fan of Singapore theatre, it would be quite difficult to connect with the individuals on the stage and their monologues about their journey into the theatre scene. So what? You may think. Many more people have similar stories to tell, the struggle to fulfill their passion in the career of their choice – the hard work, the sacrifice, the rejections.
I am not a regular to the Singapore theatre. It’s easier for me to name Mediacorp artists than theatre artists, even though I don’t follow any Mediacorp series. I have attended most local musicals, including watching Beauty World and its reruns, a few plays now and then, and can identify some stage artists. I presume the tribute to the few on NBC was because they were the cream of local theatres.
The event leading to the individuals’ monologues is that Singapore is on a hunt for the Artistic Director for the newly created National Broadway Company. The candidates are the who’s who of local theatre, but they are actually played by some other people, except for the dual appearances of Jacintha Abisheganaden, who plays her senior current self and, Tabitha Nauser, who played her younger self. The results would be determined by audience’s voting at the end of the four shows.
Needless to say, the segments I enjoyed most were of those people whom I am familiar with – Dick Lee, Ja, Koh Chieng Mun (Never knew her in theatre!), Ivan Heng, Hossan Leong, and Emma Yong, and I thought they were portrayed very realistically by their fellow younger colleagues. The rest – I have read about in the papers; but if not for the free copy of Programme booklet, I wouldn’t know who the others were acting as.
Beauty World was the link between all the candidates, and the frequent reference to it became quite tiresome. That aside, it was a credible performance and the singing was top class. If only there is really an NBC dishing out regular plays and musicals to showcase our local artist’s talents.
At the end of the musical, I left with an added admiration for those whose stories I heard on stage. They had the courage to pursue their passion, leaving behind cushy jobs to face an uncertain prospect. It makes me want to support local theatre all the more.