Here we have five minutes with Glen Goei, one of Singapore's well-known Artistic Directors. As part of the W!ld Rice creative team, he is responsible for the production of La Cage aux Folles, a spectacular musical featuring both local theatre talents and an assembly of showgirls from all over the world. The musical takes place at The Esplanade Theatre and runs from 20th July to 4th August.
You have been wanting to stage this musical for a while now. How does it feel to finally make it happen?
Glen: Actually I've always wanted to stage this musical since I brought my mother to see it in London in 1987. She liked it so much, she asked me to take her to see it again the next day! I know how much my mother (and father) love musical, and how they brought up all their children to enjoy theatre, so this is my little present to them. I am thrilled to finally be given the opportunity to direct it!
La Cage aux Folles is based on a 1973 play by Jean Poiret and there was a film version titled “The Birdcage”, starring Robin Williams. In what ways is this adaptation different?
Glen: Firstly I've relocated the musical and it is now firmly set in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore. And second, I've set it in 2012, even though the play was written in 1973.
We at August Man have a keen eye out for style and we would like to know if there is a particular theme for the costuming. And what is the inspiration behind it?
Glen: The costumes are designed by Frederick Lee, my long time collaborator who designed the costumes for my production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" for which he won the Straits Times Life Theatre Award for Best Costume 2010" so you can expect something quite spectacular. The inspiration for this production comes from the 1930s, and it's very art-nouveau. Think Busby Berkeley and the Ziegfeld Follies!
With a star-studded cast including popular local names like Hossan Leong and Tan Kheng Hua, coupled with a host of beautiful showgirls, it is set to be a great musical. Is there anything else audiences can expect out of it?
Glen: I've assembled an international cast from New York, London, Sydney, HongKong, Philipines and Malaysia. Expect tonnes and tonnes of sequins, feathers and A LOT of bulbs!
Would you say the theatre scene is thriving here in Singapore, compared to, say, 10 years back?
Glen: Definitely. There's so much more variety these days. And a growing audience base who want something more than just Western films and theatre. They want something which engages and connects with them on a deeply personal level.
In today’s capitalist world most people would think twice about venturing into theatre and film as their full time career. What is your story, to go against the flow and become an Artistic Director that you are today?
Glen: Chase your dreams and follow your passion. You know you are doing the right thing when you sleep well each night and you can't wait for the next day to begin!