OLD MAID 《老处女》

OLD MAID 《老处女》

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.

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGCol-jb3UA”]

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:

Play screening at LASALLE College of the Arts' Creative Cube

Play screening at LASALLE College of the Arts’ Creative Cube

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMiqv9PQVWA&”]

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:

“余华的小说《兄弟》,有一部分描写了中国改革开放后,男人对处女的欲望、女人对再次成为处女的渴望。我觉得这里头揭露了人性的阴暗面,就起了写《老处女》的念头。”

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.

The format of this play draws comparisons to the very successful Broadway play, Eve Ensler‘s The Vagina Monologues.

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)

Synopsis
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?
Says who?

Rating: Mature Theme & some Homosexual References. R18
*Performed in Mandarin with English subtitles

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