4 April 2022 – Wild Rice today announced the next three shows in its 2022 season: Faghag (from 12 May 2022), Straight Acting (16 June – 2 July 2022) and Don’t Call Him Mr. Mari Kita (7 – 23 July 2022).
“Wild Rice is proud to present these critically acclaimed productions, which represent the very best of Singapore theatre and deserve to be seen by as many people as possible,” says Ivan Heng, the company’s Founding Artistic Director.
All three shows will be performed in The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, Wild Rice’s main-stage venue in its performing arts complex in Funan.
A Message of Love, Pride and Acceptance
In May, Pam Oei will make a triumphant return to the Wild Rice stage for a full run of Faghag, her critically acclaimed one-woman show that documents her journey as an LGBTQ+ ally and activist.
The production has run into a number of obstacles as a result of the pandemic. In July last year, the show had to be cut short when restrictions on live performances were tightened under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).
A planned encore run in November 2021 was cancelled when Oei tested positive for COVID-19 a few days before the show was set to open.
“Third time’s the charm,” Oei laughs. “As with everyone in Singapore and around the world, the pandemic has tried repeatedly to bring us down. What we all need now, more than ever, is love and laughter and light, which is what audiences will get with this show.”
For Oei, this restaging of Faghag remains profoundly relevant. On 28 February, Singapore’s Court of Appeal upheld Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men.
“It’s evident that Singapore still has a long way to go in according our LGBTQ+ community the equality and respect they deserve,” says Oei. “Until that day, I will proudly perform Faghag and keep sharing its message of love, pride and acceptance.”
Getting Straight to the Point
In June, Thomas Lim’s Straight Acting, which premiered to sold-out houses last year, returns to Wild Rice’s stage for a limited run.
Heartfelt and humorous in equal measure, Straight Acting introduces us to two LGBTQ+ couples who pretend to be straight in order to start a family and make a life together – something they cannot easily do in straight-laced Singapore.
Hailed by critics and audiences alike for its honest, empathetic portrayal of the struggles faced by Singapore’s LGBTQ+ community, the production recently received two Straits Times Life! Theatre Award nominations for two members of its cast – Darren Guo (Best Actor) and Deonn Yang (Best Actress).
“I’m excited to revisit this work and try out some new ideas that I’ve had since its premiere last year,” says Lim. “Live theatre relies so heavily on the interaction between the actors on stage and their audiences – so, this time around, I’m also thrilled by the prospect of having this show play to a full-capacity audience!”
A Celebration of Singapore’s Musical Heritage
In July 2022, Wild Rice will present Don’t Call Him Mr. Mari Kita, a sensational new musical tribute to Zubir Said – the late, great composer of Singapore’s National Anthem and beloved classics such as Semoga Bahagia.
This uplifting, inspiring exploration of Singapore’s musical heritage is written and will be performed by Julian Wong, one of the country’s leading music directors. He created the show as a tribute to his teacher’s teacher – Zubir Said taught music to the late Iskandar Ismail, Wong’s mentor.
“I hope to show audiences that Zubir Said was so much more than just the composer of our National Anthem – his music, his life, his sacrifices, and the courage of his convictions are all equally noteworthy,” says Wong. “At a time of ongoing uncertainty and division, I think there is no better composer whose music can unite us.”
The upcoming run in July will be the first time Don’t Call Him Mr. Mari Kita will be performed for the general public. The production had originally been slated to premiere in 2021, but had to be postponed and, ultimately, cancelled due to tightened pandemic restrictions. Four private performances of the show were produced to raise funds for Wild Rice.
“We are so glad to finally be welcoming audiences to Don’t Call Him Mr. Mari Kita,” says Heng, who will be directing the production. “This very special show is a love letter to Singapore’s music and history, and is essential viewing for anyone who calls Singapore home.”
Tickets to all three shows go on sale to Wild Rice Angels from 4 April, and to the general public from 10am on 11 April.