Still catching Adam Cheng

Was pleasantly surprised to see a write-up in Straits Times Life! section yesterday about my play that is opening this Thursday. Here’s the newspaper article entitled ‘Dream Catchers’:

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First-time playwright Jacke Chye, 41, used to cringe in embarrassment whenever he accompanied his grandmother on her errands as a young boy.

‘She had such a loud voice and was constantly yelling out in Hainanese,’ he recalls with a chuckle.

Today, his 97-year-old grandmother is a shadow of her former feisty self. Battling dementia and two strokes, she lives in a nursing home because she needs special medical attention.

He says: ‘It is so sad to see her not being able to make sense, to watch a strong and vibrant woman fading away.’

Confronting a loved one’s mortality is always difficult, says Chye, who has turned those emotions into an optimistic and life-affirming comedy, Catching Adam Cheng, which won the Best Play award at Action Theatre’s playwriting competition, Theatre Idols, this year.

The play, about four old women who sneak out of a nursing home in the hope of catching Hong Kong crooner Adam Cheng in concert, is on from next Thursday to Nov 30 at The Room Upstairs.

Staged by Action Theatre and directed by Jeffrey Tan, the play stars Belinda Sunshine, Fanny Kee, Beatrice Chien, Carena Chor, Esther Yap and Irwin See.

‘It is a heartwarming comedy,’ says director Tan. ‘In the current economic climate, it is a great way for people to escape from their worries.’

The four old women are caught up in various escapades, from stealing ambulances to finding ways and means of getting cash to pay for concert tickets.

Chye, a marketing director by day, is single. He says the idea for the play came about a few years ago when he learnt that his grandmother had a fall. ‘I remember rushing to the hospital and started thinking about old age and the unfulfilled dreams and desires,’ he says.

His grandparents took care of him and his brother as his parents had full-time jobs. His grandfather died in 2002.

As a child, he remembers spending afternoons watching Hong Kong serials starring actor Cheng.

He describes his play as ‘Sex And The City meets The Golden Girls meets The Fugitive’.

For his first stab at playwriting, Chye rewrote the script 16 times. ‘I’m always reading about the crazy number of drafts that writers like David E. Kelley go through,’ he adds.

One of the hardest things was editing: ‘There were times when I went ‘Oh, I love this line or this scene, I can’t get rid of it’. But I had to,’ he recalls.

The only thing he did not want to compromise on in the two-hour play was the lessons learnt amid the belly laughs.

He says: ‘I wanted to say that no matter what age you are at, life is still worth living. But once you stop pursuing your dreams, that is when you really die.’

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Brings me back to the very first day I met the rest of the cast, which was when we had our studio shoot for publicity and marketing materials. It was such great fun! =) Here’s a hilarious pic:

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Can’t wait for the show to open! =) Hope to see many of you there and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the play!

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~ by irwin on November 16, 2008.

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