Annual Production 2007

The Chief's Son
The Chief's Son
The Chief's Son

"The Chief's Son"

"Once upon a time, a long time ago, in this tiny village where we lay our scene."

The opening lines of Benjamin's Ng's "The Chief's Son" echoed around Hwa Chong Institution's Performing Arts Centre as the Raffles Players began their Gold with Honours winning performance.

The play tells the story of a young boy named Kim who is captivated by the dramatic tales of Manolo, the storyteller. He listens with delight to stories of "The Father who Killed the Tiger" and "The Boy Who Climbed Over the Mountain". Kim's commitment to his Father and to his duties as a Chief's son are tested as Manolo goads him into leaving the tranquil village for the hustle and bustle of the city. The play explores balancing familial commitment with following one's heart and desires. As the play progresses, we see Kim's fate intertwining with Manolo's colourful stories.

The arduous journey to one of the most memorable performances of our lives began months earlier—in rehearsals. The entire creative process began with experimentation, with trying out new and different things in an attempt to not just put on a play, but to tell a story. The objective was to make something out of almost nothing. Armed with only 4 benches and a handful of percussion instruments, the Raffles Players began piecing together our interpretation of "The Chief's Son".

Every one of us faced different challenges along this journey. For some, it was coping with the reality of expectation as they made their first foray into drama. For others, the challenge was all together more sublime—struggling to stay true to the playwright's vision as they tried to put their own spin on a character.

In the end, each of us found our own as we took to the stage to perform our creation—a unique blend of experimental physical theatre and traditional naturalistic portray. As we wowed audiences at the SYF 2007 Drama Presentation, we felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. We did it.

But through all this excitement and fervour, we never forgot that "The Chief's Son", would never have been possible without the efforts of some very important people. The Raffles Players are forever indebted to Ms. Mabel Chia, Ms. Divina Teo, Mr. Julius Foo—our external trainer—and, of course, Ms. Quah Seok Whee for their tireless commitment to the production.

"The Chief's Son" will forever have a special place in the hearts and minds of those who helped make it a reality—for it was not just a play; it was a story that exemplified the spirit of theatre and drama.

Anish Hazra

Drama Feste 2007


Bayley: "5 Players"
Buckley: "Being Perfect"
Hullett: "The Shepherd Boy"
Moor: "Price of Paradise"
Morrison: "The Greatest Show on Earth"

An uproarious irrelevant piece with randomness the calling card, Bayley's "5 Players" was devised by the cast and crew, with welcome help from an 'old boy' (Tay Woo Chiao). While the original concept was taken from an old Bayley script (or two), this version departed into non-linear structure but still retained the old flavour of feisty energy and delightful comic timing. Hooking the audience into its zany logic, it won the coveted Best Play.

From comedy to something more serious, Buckley's "Being Perfect" was an intense performance supported admirably by its ensemble of actors. With Elias Tiong (Promising Actor) in the lead, the play probed the psychological descent of the perfectionist Steven as he struggles to cope with the sins of his father’s past, and having to deal with the presence of his nemesis.

Unafraid to challenge expectations, Hullett's "The Shepherd Boy" treated its audience to a most daring performance. A bare stage save for four wooden cubes. Metallic chains ringing and clanging. Prisoners with bruised faces. The bold physical style taken for this play about totalitarian rule impressed with high commitment from its ensemble cast of just five actors.

In a similar vein, Moor's "Price of Paradise" captured people's attention with an allegorical piece about rebellion against the 'master'. The ensemble cast of lions pranced and snarled with conviction to win for Best Ensemble and Directing. Ng Shi Yang as an old lion torn between old loyalties and new realities clinched the Best Actor award for his highly focused portrayal.

Finally, Morrison's "The Greatest Show on Earth". Set in a circus atmosphere of "The Greatest Show on Earth" (Best Script), Gan Kar Liang (director and scriptwriter) created a magical fantasy world with its taint of freakish evil; lured by the charismatic words of the ringmaster (Ansari Shayan Mahfooz; Promising Young Actor), young Ryan is tempted to join this world, to escape into delusion, to deny the reality of his wheelchair-bound handicap—with tragic results.