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Preview: Toy Factory’s DIRECT ENTRY returns with new play, “For My Highness” by Shaleihin Pi’ee

Toy Factory Productions Ltd’s director-mentorship programme, DIRECT ENTRY, returns for it’s second season to bestow promising theatre director, Adeeb Fazah with a timely original script, For My Highness – which spotlights on the crippling vices of substance abuse and its inevitable infliction onto familial ties. DIRECT ENTRY is spearheaded and mentored by award-winning director, Goh Boon Teck, as an initiative to nurture more theatre directors within the theatre artscape of Singapore.

First launched in 2020 as a conscious effort to provide opportunities for theatre practitioners and directors during a time of Covid-19 uncertainties; DIRECT ENTRY eagerly returns to feature its 2022’s director-mentee, Adeeb Fazah at the Stamford Arts Centre Blackbox. At heart, the director-mentorship programme is created with the intention to curb the shortage of stage directors by creating an avenue for NextGen artists to experiment and fully-realise their vision with the support of a theatre company.

“I have seen Adeeb’s work, and I observed that he’s a calm and composed director whom often push the audiences to think critically. He’s good at solving dramatic equations, and this script will further expand his creative arsenal as a director. My goal for DIRECT ENTRY is to serve as a platform to instil creative confidence amongst young artists, and launch them onto the stage as capable directors. ” shared Goh Boon Teck when asked for his reasoning behind selecting Adeeb for this mentorship, and the significance of DIRECT ENTRY.

As the Artistic Director of The Second Breakfast Company, Adeeb Fazah has always been a proud advocate for young and emerging talent on professional stages. His flair in directing is often seen in his intricate curation on fleshing out Singaporean narratives in a raw and truthful light. In tandem with DIRECT ENTRY, this year’s mentorship sets out to sharpen Adeeb’s keen eye on a more taboo topic with an original script, For My Highness. A script that will stretch his artistic capabilities as a director, as it calls for a more edgy and psychedelic treatment.

“It has been an honour to be selected and mentored by Goh Boon Teck. He has been very forthcoming with his guidance, and has pushed me to go beyond stage conventions, which I can appreciate. Taking on an original script that is peppered with opportunities to go wilder in my direction is definitely a challenge, as For My Highness is a play that demands balance whilst still capturing both spectrum of abstractionism and realism.” exclaimed Adeeb when asked about his journey into the programme and script thus far.

In For My Highness, after nights of getting high from one place to another, Zaki seeks refuge in the most unlikely of places – a gay sauna. It is just him, his pipe, and the mirror that blurs reality from fantasy; how long more can this persist before he loses reign over his life?

In 2019, Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) statistics reported that 3,524 drug abusers were arrested in Singapore, and 52% of the arrested were drug abusers below 30 years old. These figure reported was the catalyst for playwright Shaleihin Pi’ee to pen down For My Highness. A collection of stories that were then distilled into a play written from a Malay/Muslim’s perspective; a gay man’s journey trying to navigate out of the vicious cycle that is prevalently growing within the underbelly of the LGBT community in Singapore.

“I feel that it is about time that we give voice to the marginalised people who have fallen through the cracks of society, and empathise as a community on what we can do better to support these individuals. It’’s even more important that we address this on stage with the rising numbers of substance abusers facing jail time and even those sentenced with death penalty recently.” shared Playwright Shaleihin Pi’ee when asked on his intention of turning those stories he collected into a play.

For My Highness runs from 25th to 27th November 2022 at Stamford Arts Centre Black Box. Tickets available here

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