For the first time since premiering as part of the 2009 Singapore Arts Festival, Goh Boon Teck’s The Crab Flower Club finally receives a restaging, more than a decade on. Performed for the first time in Mandarin in Singapore, the drama-opera set in the late Qing dynasty follows five daughters from the respectable Wu household, as they reunite on the eve of their father’s 60th birthday.
The ladies’ twin mission is clear—to prepare an exquisite feast of crabs for the master of the household and set up a clandestine all-women poetry club in a highly patriarchal society, where women were still resigned to more traditional and conservative roles.
Awakening the dormant poets within their souls, the Wu ladies leverage their talents for this exchange of emotions and quick-witted verse. Words are pickled, skewered and boiled; wit is seared and charred; expressions are stirred and steamed to perfection as each daughter reveals her menu of love. The lyrical exchanges in the Wu household’s kitchen herald the winds of change sweeping across the entire country.
Commissioned by Esplanade and produced by Toy Factory Productions, The Crab Flower Club is grounded by seven poems from Cao Xueqin’s literary masterpiece Dream of the Red Chamber—one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, and pays homage to Singapore’s Ping Sheh Peking Opera Society. The performance features Chinese opera artists and live musicians on stage, who will demonstrate the artistic possibilities in this fusion of contemporary theatre and Chinese opera.
Bringing together crabs, flowers, opera and the poetic vagaries of life in a single magnificent banquet, come experience the glory of The Crab Flower Club live at the Esplanade Theatre this March.
The Crab Flower Club plays from 18th to 20th March 2022 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets available here