Ushering in a better year in theatre, Wild Rice has announced the first three shows of 2022 – The Good Citizen (8th to 9th January 2022), The Amazing Celestial Race (from 10th February 2022), and Schooled (17th to 20th March 2022) all playing at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre in Funan.
Of the three shows, The Good Citizen and Schooled are original plays created by the participants of Singapore Youth Theatre, Wild Rice’s youth theatre wing for young people from the age of 13 to 17. “We are so proud to give these aspiring young artists a platform through which they can express themselves, as well as their concerns, hopes and aspirations,” says Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of Wild Rice.
Wild Rice starts off the year with The Good Citizen, playing for just two days in January. Devised and conceptualised by the current batch of Singapore Youth Theatre participants, the play reimagines living and growing up in Singapore as a board game, and takes an unflinching look at what players have to do and sacrifice in order to become ‘good citizens’. After all, in Singapore, the rules and goals to the game of life are clear. But when you don’t fit these strict guidelines, how then can you get ahead in life?
“Our play looks beyond the fun and games to examine the many expectations we are supposed to live up to in Singapore,” says Dharshan Nathan, age 16. “But how can you remain true to yourself when it often feels like achieving success requires you to get rid of what’s different about you?”
Two years on from its original run in December 2020, the Singapore Youth Theatre’s Schooled returns just in time for the March 2022 school holidays. Presented in a series of vignettes, Schooled incisively and humorously explores a wide range of topics about the state of the world today – from gender politics to climate change.
“We want to be a voice for young people – to share our views on the problems we face, the topics we are passionate about, and the need for change in our society,” says Madeline Yeo, age 19. “We hope that the young people in the audience will relate to this show, and that it will spark conversations among everybody, young and old.” Both shows have been created under the guidance and mentorship of award-winning playwright Thomas Lim, who is also Wild Rice’s Associate Artistic Director for Youth & Education.
“All parents, teachers and anyone who has a young person in their lives should come and see the show,” Lim recommends. “So that we may all understand their hopes, fears and aspirations and be better adults to them as they make their way in the world.”
And finally, come February 2022, Wild Rice will be restaging their hit Chinese New Year musical comedy The Amazing Celestial Race that brought a spark of joy in February 2021 when it premiered. An epic reimagining of the ancient Chinese folk tale, The Amazing Celestial Race was one of the first big productions of the year that seemed to mark a hopeful time ahead for theatre, and follows the fierce competition between animals that ultimately determined their order in the Chinese zodiac calendar.
Directed by Glen Goei with a cheeky, charming script by Dwayne Lau, original tunes by Julian Wong and a new young cast of actors, we praised the show as having ‘delivered on production value and maintaining the high standards Wild Rice have established for themselves.’ “Working with some of the best artists in Singapore to create the eye-popping world of The Amazing Celestial Race has been a career highlight for me,” says theatre veteran Goei. “We could only reach a limited audience last year due to COVID-19 seating restrictions, so we decided to bring this show back in 2022 with a bang. We can’t wait to dazzle and delight audiences of all ages and from all walks of life.”
“This show has such a powerful universal appeal,” adds Ivan Heng. “Here in Singapore, everyone – regardless of age, race or nationality – knows their Chinese Zodiac sign. Furthermore, the show’s themes of helping one another and the importance of the greater good are timeless. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the Lunar New Year with your friends and family!”
The Good Citizen (8th to 9th January 2022), The Amazing Celestial Race (from 10th February 2022), and Schooled (17th to 20th March 2022) all play at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre in Funan. More information available here