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Looking for a good laugh?

It’s easy to forget how enjoyable a live performance can be. Mark a date and catch one of the many plays in Singapore in the months ahead! Coming up soon is Sing’theatre‘s, Forever Young, a production that combines the emotion and drama of a play with the impact and fun of a music concert. With a classic cast including Hossan Leong, we’re sure it’ll be brilliant!

Forever Young sing'theatre musical

What’s it all about?

Initially written by Swiss playwright Erik Gedeon, the European cult hit Forever Young has been “localised” by blogger and comedy writer Benjamin “Mr Miyagi” Lee, and will be performed as part of Sing’theatre’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

The story is set in the year 2067 and chronicles the life of a group of retired actors living in a nursing home. The zany nonagenarians – formerly pillars of Singapore’s art scene – are determined to prove that it’s not all “behind them”. They do as they’re told, but, once their no-nonsense caregiver Sister Sara leaves the room, the pensionable performers belt out musical theatre canons, rock classics and more.

The arthritic dance moves and renditions of familiar songs – everything from Jay-Z’s “Forever Young” to Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, The Eagles’ “Hotel California” and One Direction’s “Story of My Life” – will make you laugh. But the show also looks at hard-hitting issues including dementia, illness and physical deterioration, as well as the mental and psychological wellness of the aged that are largely disregarded.

Among the star-studded cast is the fabulous Hossan Leong, who is also directing the show. Hossan’s aim was to permeate the production with a sense of hope. “Growing old shouldn’t diminish one’s optimism and zest for living!” he says. “I hope that through Forever Young, audiences will develop more empathy and a better understanding of growing old.”

Forever Young play
Artistic director Nathalie Ribette

A word from the Artistic Director

Nathalie Ribette, the play’s Artistic Director (and the Founder of Sing’theatre), agrees; she’s relishing the opportunity to explore this theme in a light-hearted and heartwarming manner. “The issues surrounding ageing and eldercare discussed in the play are part and parcel of life – they’re universal. It’s especially pertinent in Singapore’s context, where the country is increasingly pressured to tackle problems surrounding an ageing population.”

Nathalie felt that, after 10 years of producing French-Singaporean-centric shows, it was time to develop and embrace wider subjects – and Forever Young is a chance to align Sing’theatre’s productions with the hospital outreach programmes it’s been working on for the past five years. “I saw the show in Paris two years ago and I loved it. It made me think, laugh and cry – all the reactions I like to create when producing a show. I think it will resonate with and appeal to everyone. Many of us have old parents around and most of us will become old one day!”

The topic is especially close to her own heart, too. “I must confess that the subject is personally relevant as my mother is now in a nursing home with slight dementia. It’s a way for me to speak about her, as it becomes more and more difficult to speak with her!”

Nathalie has also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Hossan. “As he is himself an actor and a producer, he’s a very open-minded director. He knows all the constraints we face and he takes them into account. He contributes to many aspects of the show, and helps wherever he can – in the sales, the promo, the production. He chose his artistic team both for their skills but also for their human qualities. He always has the best for the show and the company in mind.”

 

Forever Young runs from 11 to 21 October 2017 at the SOTA Drama Theatre. For more information, visit singtheatre.com.

 

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This article first appeared in the September 2017 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!

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