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A secret untold. A passion hidden. A love defiant. 

A wealthy family burdened by its own silence.

The storm is coming. 

Thunderstorm (1933) by Chinese dramatist Cao Yu, is recognized as one of his most complex scripts and one of the most popular Chinese dramatic works in its period. Widely lauded for its cogent depictions of love and cruelty, the play is a “classic tragedy” brimming with action- from scandalous liaisons, thrilling twists and heartbreaking falls from grace.

As part of The Theatre Practice’s 20th anniversary celebrations, Co-Artistic Director Wu Xi presents his interpretation of this classic text, featuring a stellar cast of performers from China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The line between right and wrong, good and evil is blurred as we take a closer look at the nebulous grey areas between- allowing he humanity of each character to shine through in this stunning illustration on the tussle between Man and Destiny. 

Date: 28 September – 1 October 2006

Venue: Victoria Theatre

Director: Wu Xi

Producer: Ribble Chung

Lighting Designer: Lee Bee Bee

Co-Set Designer: Nicholas Li, Yang Han

Sound Designer: Leong Weyhsien

Costume Designer: Sandra Foo

Graphic Designer: Imagine Wong

Cast: Johnny Ng, Yeo Yannyann, Chu Hungchang, Liu Xiaoyi, Alvin Chiam, Fan Yanhua, Ni Chao, Li Qian, Huang Huimin, Koh Wanching, Ace Chew, Thong Weien, Clarissa Soon.

“The Theatre Practice is 20!

At this young age, why have we chosen the Chinese classic THUNDERSTORM once again?

In the program for our 1988 production of THUNDERSTORM directed by Mr Xia Chun (Beijing People’s Art Theatre), Mr Kuo Pao Kun talked about his motives:

“To begin with, this is a great play that satisfies the audience. Besides, we see it as a subtle lesson, an opportunity for young actors and audiences to experience the spiritual essence of our forefathers. It widens and lengthens our connections to our cultural past.”

That year, THUNDERSTORM was a gathering of who’s who in Singapore Chinese theatre scene. The talent pool was so abundant that there were even double-casting for some of the roles. Eighteen years later, we gather actors from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore to be a part of our THUNDERSTORM. This precious collaboration will definitely yield wonderful performances, but such an arrangement also reveals a dilemma of Singapore Chinese theatre.

With the vanishing of the “Chinese-educated”, decline of Chinese language standard, Chinese culture has been placed in a disadvantage position. To find actors who are fluent in Mandarin, expressive and have acting potential is tough, not to mention casting a production with such high demands on language and performance skills. The shortage of talents puts Chinese Theatre in a CRISIS.

Against the tide, we place our hopes on the growth of the new generation. Young actors like Yeo Yann Yann, Alvin Chiam and Liu Xiao Yi have been hard at work. Accumulating crafts and experiences through performances, they have slowly become the bedrock of the Chinese Theatre scene. Along the way, we have “statesman” like Johnny Ng guiding us, sharing his knowledge and experiences with us. The passing of torches from a generation to another is the TURNING POINT of local Chinese Theatre.

Since The Theatre Practice’s production of FAMILY in 1997, we have been germinating till now to get ready for another production of contemporary Chinese classic. Today, we are able to perform THUNDERSTORM onstage, and you are willing to witness it in the theatre. This is the HOPE of local Chinese Theatre.

We sincerely appreciate the commitment and contribution of Fan Yanhua Laoshi, Hongzheng, Li Xi and Ni Chao. Their presence brings artistic depth and scope to this production. Thank you!

Eighteen years ago, the bridge to our “Cultural Past” was a success.

Today, The Theatre Practice builds on 20 years of relentless efforts, THUNDERSTORM lets us continue to lengthen that bridge.

Today, with the help of friends from many places, THUNDERSTORM lets us continue to widen that bridge.

Of course, the most important thing is that you have a satisfying theatrical experience.

Kuo Jian Hong
Co-Artistic Director