Thanks to the folks from Drama Box (戏剧盒), Rachel and I were invited to catch OLD MAID 《老处女》 last week – a play under Drama Box’s New Play Season 2011 《新剧季2011》 to celebrate the harvesting of scripts written during their incubation programme, Blanc Space Playwright Series 《白色空间之编剧系列》.
The programme was launched by Drama Box in 2007 to encourage playwriting and production of original Chinese Language theatre scripts. Aspiring playwrights are paired with experienced Mandarin theatre playwrights under a mentorship programme.
After two years of regular consultations, with public play reads in between, the most stage-ready scripts were staged during New Play Season.
OLD MAID 《老处女》 is one such play and marks the playwriting debut of Holly Ho (何仙姑), a graduate from the Blanc Space programme:
A fan of modern China satirist writer, Yu Hua (余华), I was drawn to the play by this quote from the playwright, Holly Ho:
The premise for the play stems from the exploration of the theme of female virginity and human’s fascination with the intact hymen. Through five different female characters; a transvestite, a lesbian school teacher, a career super woman, an old granny desperate to lose her virginity before her death and a filial daughter plying for her father’s approval in life; the play delves into various feminism and feminine issues, beyond just the discourse on female virginity.
The play features an all-female acting cast, director and playwright. The director mentioned during the Q&A that it wasn’t a deliberate arrangement, but getting male talents to act all the male roles in the play may portray males in a negative light and bring about debates on gender issues. An all-female cast on the other hand, allows more free play and focus on the female gender. Deep. I agree though.
There are differences of course. OLD MAID is less angry and more approachable in style. At least to Rachel and I. We both enjoyed the play very much. It generated much talking points for us after watching – deep, but not deep until you go “WTH?” as you leave the theatre. 🙂
More about OLD MAID 《老处女》
8th to 11th December 2011 (Thursday – Sunday)
Playwright: Holly Ho 何仙姑
Director: Li Xie 李邪 (Young Artist Award recipient 2005)
Cast: Goh Guat Kian, Tan Beng Tian, Doreen Toh, Tan Wan Sze, Koh Wan Ching and Goh Seok Ai
Ticket Price : $28 (excluding SISTIC booking fee)
Who is considered a virgin?
Does an intact hymen constitute to being a virgin? Even if it were reconstructed?
What about those who just indulge in tongue action?
Masturbating without intercourse?
Victims of sexual harassment without intercourse?
What about those with wild fantasies?
Are lesbians considered virgins?
Who is considered an old maid?
At what age are you considered an old maid?
Rating: Mature Theme & some Homosexual References. R18
*Performed in Mandarin with English subtitles