Friday, November 8, 2013

The Learning Connection's production of There's Soup on My Fly!

Earlier this year, Emily Lim introduced me to the Learning Connections' Juliet Chia who  successfully staged Emily's book Prince Bear, Pauper Bear at this year's Asian Festival of Children's Content.

Juliet started the Learning Connections to introduce children to stories written by local authors through performances at schools and other venues.So when she contacted me about the possibility of turning There's Soup on My Fly! into a children's theatre production, I was intrigued. 

It's not the first time the story has been adapted in some form, it was  first dramatised by ACT3 at the 2012 AFCC Literature Lecture, but that was more of a ten-minute performance art production and Juliet wanted to adapt the story into an actual theatre production with props, costumes, actors and an actual script. Keen to see what she would come up with, I readily agreed.

Now let's just say she's had to fasten her seat-belt more than once on the journey towards production. This particular author has been quite particular about things... to say the least!

The storyteller

The show is expected to launch in  February, so two days ago, Catherine, Emma, and I went to watch the first dress rehearsal at a kindergarten in Changi. It took a while to find the place, but we finally did and then Emma had to buy me a pre-performance coke and cookie to get me in the right frame of mind to watch the show objectively. Thanks, Emma!

We had to take off the shoes when we arrived at the kindergarten and we were thrust into a roomful of extremely active and noisy children. One child eyed me drinking my coke. I was so tempted to say "Coca Cola is good for you!" But I would have probably gotten into big trouble for that. Anyway I started drinking Coke when I was five and there haven't been any side effects that I know of aside from embarking on my crazy writing career.

Emma, Catherine and me with the cast and crew of There's Soup on My Fly!

We took our seats and Emma and Catherine braced themselves to keep me in check for the duration of the show. Throughout the performance there were a handful of crying kids, but I suppose that's to be expected at any show. Anyway, Juliet heaved a sigh of relief when the performance was over. To put it simply, it was good. Were there some things I wish were done differently? Maybe, probably, but I think this process has taught me to let go somewhat and just relax.

A book is like a child, you bring it into the world and let it go. You can't control how people treat it, or react to it, but as long as they want the best for it and for it to do well, then you can't really complain. And they've turned the story into a musical and for someone who is as tone deaf as me, that's quite something. So thanks Juliet, Elaine, Melissa and Candice, and the cast and crew of There's Soup on My Fly! And thanks, Catherine and Emma for watching the show with me.

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