The stage at Sinkeh Studio is dimly lit; the vibe is electric, the performers pregnant with emotion. Nancy, Beh Hu Beng (or “Fishmonger Beng” in Hokkien) and Ah Boy have a huge problem: “How frustrating it is to be alive!” they sing in chorus… in Hokkien!
I get very excited every time I hear about a Hokkien play – even more so if it is performed in Penang Hokkien – simply because there aren’t that many of them. After all, most producers would wonder why they should limit their audience to a dwindling Hokkien-speaking crowd, subtitles or no? So when I heard about Tai-Ji-Tua-Teow (“Big Problem” in Hokkien) – produced by ZXC Theatre Troupe and directed by Chee Sek Thim, theatre practitioner and owner of Sinkeh, a guesthouse and arts space – I was psyched.
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