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21 Mar 2003

why I like invitation to treat: ivan heng

A note from Ivan Heng, Artistic Director of W!LD RICE on Eleanor Wong's upcoming trilogy, Invitation to Treat.

Hello folks,

Ivan Heng
In the hundreds of plays performed in Singapore each year, you'd be hard pressed to find more than a handful that speak to or represent the gay and lesbian community without resorting to tokenism or stereotyping. Invitation to Treat, a trilogy of plays by acclaimed Singaporean writer and lawyer Eleanor Wong breaks the mould.

I like that Eleanor's plays frame a slice of life so that we can observe what we see and understand what we think we know. It makes visible what society has made invisible. It's refreshing to see characters who are not punished for being gay, don't commit suicide, prostitute themselves or get thrown in jail. Hell, they even have nice jobs and apartments!

I like these plays because they are some of the best I've encountered. I like them because they are Singaporean, they are peopled with characters we can immediately identify with. I like them because they made me laugh out loud and moved me to tears. I like them because they made me pause to think about the fragility of life and the choice one makes for love, and how it's important to be true to oneself.

I like that the three plays of Invitation To Treat span twenty years in the life of their protagonist. To see all three plays is to go on a unique and enjoyable journey - an Odyssey of insights which tells the story of one member of the invisible minority who struggles with her sexuality and, over time, grows increasingly confident and self-aware. With more than a little help from her friends!

Mergers & Accusations is about personal choices and living in transition while dreaming of, hoping for, and wanting, the 'perfect' future. Wills & Secession explores the corridors of the past; and unravels the bonds of family and faith in the face of disease and death. Jointly & Severably lays bare the struggle for commitment, explodes the meaning of family, love and friendship, and the right of a minority to live and love honestly and fearlessly. Today. Here and now.
I like that I can and will bring my mother to these plays. I like that these plays are being staged not only for the gay and lesbian community (i.e. the converted), but also for a large mainstream audience. But I like that Eleanor has not dumbed down the script or simplified the issues in order to accommodate this straight audience, and that there will also be "in" jokes and references that can only be fully appreciated by the GLBT community. I don't like that these plays are R(A) because I think many young people should also see them.

Ivan Heng
I like Eleanor Wong's writing. She is one of those rare playwrights who offer profound and meaningful insights while packing the punches with elegance, fabulousness and wit. I half wish I had an acting part in this play, if only to say the lines she writes and to grapple with the conundrums she presents.

I like that this project is W!LD RICE's most ambitious to date. It has been a great challenge to put on a veritable month long FESTIVAL of three plays. We have not been able to get a production sponsor, and some funding agencies have rejected our applications because of the gay subject matter. But are we surprised? W!LD RICE will continue to programme these rather more challenging works as we firmly believe they make Singapore a more normal, open, and humane society. I've always said, we're W!LD RICE so if you want congee, look elsewhere!

Ivan Heng, Artistic Director, W!LD RICE

Mergers & Accusations/Wills & Secessions double bill
Date: 2 April 2003 (Preview)/ 3 to 6 April 2003
World Premiere of Jointly & Severably
Date: 9 April 2003 (Preview)/ 10 to 26 April 2003
Venue: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Time: 8 pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
3 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
No shows on Monday
Tickets: $25 (Preview)
$30 and $35 *
$40 and $45 **

R(A) 18 years and above only.
*(8pm - Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; 3pm - Saturday and Sunday)
**(8pm - Thursday, Friday and Saturday)
Ticket prices exclude $1 SISTIC fee and handling fees.



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