“If There’re Seasons…”
The winter of death numbs a lover’s pain,
The autumn of dreams lies awake in vain,
The summer of life sings its passing song,
And spring comes again… with courage to hope, and go on.
If there are seasons I would see snow, but not around here…
If There are no seasons here, but there is always love…
After the painful demise of his girlfriend, Ah Le leaves Singapore to pursue his musical ambitions in New York. There he meets and befriends fellow Singaporeans and dreamers Ah Qiang and Rose. Soon a bittersweet friendship of battered dreams and bruised hearts is born amongst them. Unknown to them however, the future is about to change their lives and their friendship forever…
“If There’re Seasons…” boasts an evocative score of beloved Xinyao hits written by Liang Wern Fook, a pioneer figure in this uniquely Singaporean vocal genre. Written by award-winning Hong Kong playwright Raymond To (Perhaps Love), this critically acclaimed jukebox musical tells a timeless story of love beyond death, friendships that go the distance and dreams that find their way home.
Date: 3 – 27 April 2014
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Director and Co-Lighting Designer: Kuo Jian Hong
Composer and Lyricist: Liang Wern Fook
Playwright: Raymond To
Music Arranger: Bang Wenfu
Choreographer: Okorn-Kuo Jing Hong
Music Director and Additional Arranger: Julian Wong
Set Designer: Wong Chee Wai
Co-Lighting Designer: Genevieve Peck
Sound Designer: Shah Tahir
Hair Designer: Ashley Lim
M.A.C Creative Artist: Beno Lim
A-Le: George Chan
A-Qiang: Ric Liu
Rose: Joanna Dong
Xiao Jing: Celine Rosa Tan
Xiao Song: Erwin Shah Ismail
Xiao Jiang: Marc Valentine Chi
Jun Qiang: Oliver Pang
Uncle Cheng: Lim Kay Siu
Kitchen Uncle: Gan Yeok Thiam
Dishwashing Auntie: Goh Guat Kian
Robert: Chad O’Brien
Break Dancer: Yumida Sumitra (Boy)
Hip Hop Girl: Tiffany Tallon, Gabrielle Evelena Ferdinands
Children: Deng Chen Chao, Lee Qian Yu, Ethel Yap
Cast A: Victoria Sung Yushin, Marcel Sebastian Bek Gotsmy, Nadine Bastienne Bek Gotsmy, Lauren Yeo
Cast B: Olivia Yi-Le Hatton, Toh Yun Woon, Toh Keow Woon, Tan Kai Rui
Lee Qian Yu, Jodi Chan, Ethel Yap, Hang Qian Chou, Zachary Ho, Edward Choy, Tay Wei Liang, Candice de Rozario, Jo Tan, Hung Chit Wah, Felix, Deng Chen Chao
Whenever we stage a musical our premises at Stamford Arts Centre become a hive of activity. Dance practices, vocal rehearsals, scene works, speech coaching, set painting, props making and costuming occupy all our rooms and studios. Sometimes, even the corridors are claimed as temporary workspaces. Then, after months of hard work by so many people that have devoted thousands of man hours, a production finally opens. Later, after the final curtain falls on the last show, the studios return to their state of tranquility and for those who worked so hard, the vacant feeling known as ‘post –production blues’ quickly sets in.
But it doesn’t last long and the process is soon renewed with the next production. So it goes, time after time. We meet and we part, over and over again.
For any theatre company, investing in a musical requires a mammoth amount of human and material resources. The risks involved are enough to put a company out of business if it fails. So why have we chosen to take this risk repeatedly for the past ten years?
For 49 years, the idea of change has defined the journey of “Practice.” And yet there has always been one constant: people. People are the heart of what we do. People are the source of all our inspiration. They are the overwhelming reason we have striven to take risks and challenge the odds. Their energy fuels and inspires our musicals. On that stage, we have seen touching exchanges between people of vastly different backgrounds and experiences, artists from different disciplines with different skills, and individuals at different stages of life, come together in collaboration. This creative collision is the spark that ignites our shows. In this process, we have seen challenges overcome: singers learning to act, actors learning to dance, dancers learning to sing – all stepping out of their comfort zones to learn and grow together.
We have chosen to create musicals as a way to meet, to nurture and to develop… people.
We have evolved since our earliest efforts in adapting Lao Jiu: The Musical in 2005. That production set the stage for many new works, including the first production of “If There’re Seasons…”. We reinterpreted The Soldier and his Virtuous Wife, pushed boundaries with Liao Zhai Rocks!, reimagined Lao Jiu: The Musical and now we are refining “If There’re Seasons…” for its third production. With our pioneering creative team, vibrant talent onstage, excellent production and administrative support, and faithful audiences, we continue to grow as we translate a western theatrical form into a performance language of our own. We search to answer the question: What is our musical theatre?
“If There’re Seasons…” stands on the stage once more, speaking to the audience one more time. This would not be possible without the trust and support of Raymond To and Liang Wern Fook. It is wonderful to reunite with our many partners and collaborators. Our marketing executive has become the show’s producer. A former keyboardist is now the music director and conductor. A one-time stage assistant is now the co-lighting designer. On stage, Ric Liu and Celine Rosa Tan, who were supporting players in the beginning, are shouldering leading roles of A-Qiang and Xiao Jing. And finally, George Chan and Joanna Dong reprise the lead characters A-Le and Rose for the third time, deepening and elevating their pivotal roles in the musical that they helped develop.
It has been seven years of change.
We have seen students choose to pursue theatrical careers and talented amateurs depart for professional careers. Some of us have married, and some now have children. Some have gone and returned, while others have not. Loved ones have been lost.
One way or another, we have all grown.
This is our third run of “If There’re Seasons…” and we have chosen to start fresh, to begin at zero in an attempt to reconnect with our original creative impulses, to rediscover the world of these characters and rethink the way the story should be told. As with all of our productions, we treasure this journey and every discovery we make along the way. We revel in each moment of inspiration. And this time, among this group of “old birds,” we have found a few “new birds” to join in our creative process.
We have found many like-minded friends in these seven years. Through many challenges, their efforts and contributions have bonded us all into one big family. Lim Shieh-Yih was a crucial contributor to our musical journey and without him our family would have been lesser. Off stage he was an inspiring vocal coach that guided and encouraged us all to soar. On stage, his voice mesmerized and lingers still. This year, he will be with us once again for this family gathering as the house lights dim and songs echo in the theatre. Shieh-Yih will be with us as we tell this heartfelt story one more time.
People with purpose can transform a mere project into something more profound.
That is what “If There’re Seasons…” means to us.
In the audience there are many who have journeyed with us these last seven years, and many who are meeting us for the first time. Regardless of who you are, we welcome you into our big family.
For these reasons.
This is our season.
In a city where the shifts in our physical and emotional landscape could rival the most tumultuous of seasonal changes, and where hardly anything stays the same, it is a pleasure to know that some things, like Liang’s songs, can remain constant and evergreen.