The trailer has garnered over 12 000 views in less than a week and continues to be shared relentlessly on social media platforms. If the theatre production’s as funny as the trailer, audiences are definitely in for a joy ride.
Drawing inspiration from a series of uniquely Singaporean episodes -- from the floods in Orchard Road to the SMRT train mishaps, there’s no stopping this musical revue, and directorial debut by Derrick Chew.
Only 26, and unsurprisingly the youngest theatre owner in Singapore, Derrick’s Trainstopping: The Year In Revue 2011 proves to be truly Singaporean with a rojak mix of Broadway hits and pop music infused with a fresh light-hearted look at the events of 2011.
Derrick and cast member, Siti Khalijah who is 2011 LIFE! Theatre Award’s best actress, share with us their journey through Trainstopping and tell us why this revue’s not to be missed!
Director, Derrick Chew
Derrick Chew, owner of Sight Lines Productions
1. Why a comedy revue?
Because Singaporeans are usually quite uptight and we need to learn to laugh at ourselves more. And when dealing with such serious issues like breakdowns, floods, controversial bare bodies, salary hikes (and cuts) and not forgetting not one but two voting opportunities, comedy as a device is usually very apt to bring out certain points we want to address, without sounding too preachy.
2. What inspired the revue?
The show is not only about the trains fiasco. It’s a recap of the craziest happenings in 2011 and to be honest, 2011 has been such an exciting year, it is my inspiration. You don’t have to think very hard to be inspired.
3. What was the process involved in coming up with Trainstopping?
The first step is always discussing the show details with my Producer. Show concept, venue, casting, show dates/timings, budget and a whole lot more administrative work.
Then the fun part comes in. I started conceptualizing the show with my writer, Jeremy, in late December, just after the trains broke down. We brainstormed and came up with the list of things we wanted to talk about in the show. He then went back to write the script.
More rewriting and discussions took place in between until February where we met up with the actors to do a week of workshops, improvisation and devise work. From there, we went back to rewrite more stuff until our first rehearsal.
Because this is a devise work, we are constantly tweaking and adding more things in the course of rehearsal – because everyday, something new happens. So in that sense, you could say that our show is very fresh, updated and current.
4. How was the entire experience like for you?
It has been great fun! I have directed many school and church productions before, as well as worked in the industry as a stage/production manager before, so I sort of know the ins and outs of staging a production.
Perhaps what’s different in this production compared to the other productions I have done is that it is a devise piece and we are tweaking the show everyday based on what is happening in Singapore. So the challenge for me is to be flexible and innovative in the way we present the show.
5. What can the audience look out for?
A fun-filled night out at the theatre with quality entertainment performed by a solid cast.
6. Trainstopping in five words?
Darius (Tan). Siti (Khalijah). Celine (Rosa Tan). – must watch!
Actress, Siti Khalijah
Siti Khalijah with fellow cast members, Darius Tan and Celine Rosa Tan.
1. Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
Growing up, I have always been the shy one, be it amongst friends or family. Even in school, I always had low self-esteem. I never thought I'll end up being an actor! But I'm glad I discovered theatre when I was 17 years old, by going for an audition for a school production, and I've never looked back since.
2. Could you tell us more your role in Trainstopping?
I'll be playing multiple characters in Trainstopping. 9 in total! Even though I've done monologues where I’ve had to play many characters before, I wasn't required to sing. So this will be even more challenging, because there’ll be a lot of singing and dancing involved, on top of the many character changes in between. So I'll definitely need to build my stamina!
3. What is special about theatre to you?
I guess I've always been attracted to the whole 'live' element of theatre. I've done a bit of TV as well, and it's very different, but I enjoy it too. Performing to a live audience, getting reactions from them and being able to 'bounce' back the energy’s just very exciting. It differs for every show, and the rush and satisfaction I get during curtain call after each performance is pure magic.
4. Any interesting incidents on set?
Rehearsals have been pretty crazy! Most of the time will be spent laughing at each other’s ideas and contributions to the show. One of the things that usually gets to us is when our Musical Director, gets the word 'original' wrong. He’ll be going through songs with us and in all seriousness he’ll say, "Let's go through the 'ogirinal' version..." Every single time!
5. What can the audience expect from Trainstopping?
Expect a whole lot of fun and craziness because this show is really for EVERYONE! We will be voicing out and poking fun on many topics and issues that have been on everyone’s minds. You wouldn’t want to miss it!
By Sujah Abhilash
Trainstopping: The Year in Revue 2011 will be held from 26th April to 3rd May 2012 at Chamber @ THE ARTS HOUSE.