Love the theatre? There are a great number of plays in Singapore in the months to come! We chat with local theatre director Glen Goei about his passion for performing and the upcoming Wild Rice production, Mama White Snake.
How and why did you get into theatre?
My earliest recollection of performing on the stage was at the age of six. I came from a mission school (Anglo Chinese School) with a long tradition of drama. Being a gregarious child, my teachers often put me in charge of class productions. I was also influenced by my family members – my parents brought us to the theatre from a young age and my siblings were involved with theatre in school.
What do you enjoy the most about performing?
I haven’t performed in 28 years – since my last stint with Sir Anthony Hopkins in M. Butterfly in the West End! So, in a way, it’s terrifying for me as I have spent all those years behind the scenes as a director and not an actor. I love the theatre for the same reason that we all love a good story. Whether as a director, actor or audience member, we enter that magical space together and are taken for an amazing ride through another world.
What can we expect from Mama White Snake?
Expect the unexpected! It’s based on the well-known Chinese legend of Madam White Snake, but with a contemporary twist; a mishmash of Western pantomime with Chinese opera. Expect lots of fun, laughter and heart. It’s going to be a hoot!
What do you love about the story?
The story works on so many different levels. I like the theme of not being judgmental about other people’s differences, but learning how to embrace them.
Do you relate to the character you play? How so?
Most definitely. I play a single mother who raised her son with the help of her best friend (Green Snake). She brought up her son to be honest, upright and with good manners, but it hasn’t always been easy because the life they lead is different from everyone else; they’ve never conformed to social conventions. They are always reminded to be authentic and true to themselves.
What do you believe is the main message of the play?
To be true to yourself and honest, and to respect and embrace others who may be different from you. Mama White Snake runs from 24 November to 16 December at the Drama Centre Theatre. For more information, head to wildrice.com.sg
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