Wednesday , February 8 2023
'Mostly, I've tried to keep the story moving briskly and quickly so everyone can be out of the theatre early for ice cream.'

Interview: Joel Tan, Writer of Wild Rice’s Pantomime ‘Jack and the Bean Sprout’

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Wild Rice’s annual pantomime is here, and this time it’s a re-take of the popular kid’s story “Jack and the Beanstalk” – only now the Beanstalk is a Bean Sprout (Tougeh) and the characters and location are local to Singapore.

In addition to staging the panto, Wild Rice is also participating in the launch of #GivingTuesdaySG, a personal philanthropy movement set to take place nationwide on 3 December 2013. The movement will be practiced for the Jack and the Bean-Sprout! panto.

The Singapore chapter of #GivingTuesdaySG takes its inspiration from the success of its American counterpart, first launched in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y. Donations from the public are being accepted to help less-privileged Singaporeans see Jack and the Bean-Sprout! as well. Each donation is applicable for tax exemptions. Eight performances are set aside during the panto’s run to will benefit charity organizations.

Also, Wild Rice is raising funds for the Emma Yong Fund. This is done through the sales of Jack and the Bean-Sprout! CD. For each CD sold, the Company will contribute S$5 to the Fund. So do keep an eye out for the CD at the show.
We sat down with scribe Joel Tan to find out more about Jack and the Bean Sprout.

Joel Tan
Joel Tan

This panto was first staged in 2006, Why the decision to restage it in 2013?

Wild Rice has always wanted to create a bunch of panto-stories that the company revives, like a ‘repertory’ of pantos. They’ve already revived Cinderella, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty… so I guess the time was right to re-stage Jack!

As the scriptwriter, could you please tell me what changes you’ve made to the script since the first staging?

I’ve tried to make it more current (2006 was a long time ago!), adding references to things that have happened in the past year or so. I’ve jazzed up some of the characters, given them more to do! Mostly, I’ve tried to keep the story moving briskly and quickly so everyone can be out of the theatre early for ice cream.

What drew you as a writer, in 2006, to write this panto based on a popular kid’s tale?

Actually, it was Desmond Sim who wrote the 2006 script. I was brought in earlier this year to help update it. But I guess the wonderful thing about the Jack story is that it’s really the story of how sometimes parents can learn a thing or two from their kids, and that’s what I really wanted to work on for this show.

What themes did you explore in this panto?

Gambling is quite a big deal in this pantomime, but I’ve also looked at our obsession with material things, teenaged love, mother-son relationships…

Why should audiences watch this panto, what can they expect from it?

Expect all kinds of laughs, some warming of the heart, some pre-Christmas cheer. It’s a great way to wrap up this busy 2013.

About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.

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