After a run in 2012, Lao Jiu: The Musical is back in April this year with The Theatre Practice. This Singaporean classic was written by our late Kuo Pao Kun – a tale of conflict between dreams and familial responsibilities. Among theatre veterans such as Johnny Ng and Peter Ong, Sugie Phua will be reprising his role as Lao Jiu in edition.
Popspoken speaks to Sugie about his role and how relevant this piece of work is in today’s day and age.
Popspoken: What is your favourite element about working in a musical?
Singing in a big number, rehearsing with the ensemble and hearing all parts in the song come together as one musical piece.
PS: What do you look forward to in working with this cast and creative team?
I am looking forward to learning from this cast and creative team – actualizing all our thoughts and effort as one whole unit; connecting and sharing space and experience with them.
PS: How do you feel reprising your role Lao Jiu with The Theatre Practice?
I am very thankful to be able to take up this role twice. Lao Jiu: The Musical is a musical that is very close to my heart and working with The Theatre Practice again on this project feels like coming home for reunion dinner after a long vacation – everything feels so familiar, the sweat, the stress and the rehearsal process yet I have many new observations and realization too.
PS: The last time you did this musical was back in 2012, what new discoveries have you found about the storyline and your role?
When I started revisiting the script and the songs this year (5 years later), I discovered many more layers to the development of characters – I gained more clarity to why the character made certain choices and how other characters in the play has affected Lao Jiu’s journey at different points in time.
PS: In this day and age, do you think it is possible to place passion above all else in choosing a career?
I think that in any time and age, it is possible to place passion over all else in choosing a career. The point is to know that you have a choice, to know that that’s YOUR choice, know why YOU make that choice, and knowing clearly the consequences and be prepared to live by it.
PS: In your opinion, what do you think makes the late Kuo Pao Kun’s writing relevant that goes beyond generations?
I think it is because he always talk(s) about fundamental issues in ways that touches the heart at its root.
PS: What do you hope the audience will take away from this year’s performance?
I hope the audience would be touched by the script through this year’s performance. For those who have a dream and think that they do not have a choice, to think again. For those who have made a choice to pursue their dream, to know that YOU are not alone. All in all, no matter what choice you make, just know that YOU are the one making it.
Lao Jiu: The Musical
Date: 6th – 23rd April 2017
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Time: Tuesday to Sunday – 8pm, Friday to Sunday – 2.30pm
Admission: From $51 (Concession rates available. Get your tickets here.)
Photographs Courtesy of The Theatre Practice and Tuckys Photography