Young Chinese theatre company infuses new life and fresh ideas

NEED Entertainment is presenting this week Fall of the City, a play in Mandarin but with a translation of the script in English. A recently formed Chinese company, they caught Kakiseni’s attention when Ming Jin, manager at The Actors Studio, informed us that they sold all their shows even before they started. There was obviously some good marketing there, and presumably some good theatre too. Kakiseni interviews by e-mail the people behind NEED Entertainment:

Kakiseni: Can you introduce briefly the members of NEED Entertainment and what everyone is bringing?

NEED Entertainment: NEED Entertainment was formed by I-Ling Tang, Andrew Low and Andy Wong, who all met at a high school drama society years ago. Andrew and Andy have been working in marketing and A&P field for the past few years. This will help us to promote and market what we are doing now. For the artistic and creative work, Ling will be taking care of it and pulling talented people to join us.

K: Ling, can you tell us a bit about your background, what you studied, what experiences you’re bringing to the Malaysian theatre scene?

NE: Ling, NEED Entertainment’s artistic director, e-mailed her resume, explaining that after a Chinese education in Malaysia she studied at the Central Academy of Drama (Beijing) and obtained a Bachelor of literature with a major in directing. She established Double X Production in Beijing in 1999, then came back to Kuala Lumpur in 2001 and started NEED Entertainment. At 26, she has plenty of experience acting and directing.

K: What do you think of the Chinese theatre scene now? And the Chinese audiences?

NE: Several Chinese companies were formed last year, like DoDo Children Theatre, Fay Theatre and NEED Entertainment. This is a good sign. It’s a blessing that all these theatre groups have different missions and directions. These may provide more choice for the audience.

There are very few people going to Chinese theatre; it could be a cultural thing. The Chinese would rather go to a concert or other forms of entertainment. They have no habit or rather say they are not interested in watching theatre performances. Whereas Taiwan & Beijing are different. Most of the audiences are students from secondary school and university. Yet, the number of Chinese audiences is growing.

K: Who wrote Fall of the City? What is the message?

NE: Fall of The City 2002 is a group creative work. It is directed, compiled and edited by Charles Jong, artistic director of Dan Dan Theatre. Fall of the City 2002 shows another side of people and the city, more the dark and sick aspects. It is a performance that parodies everyday life; it explores love, oppression, violence and freedom.

K: What audiences is the play for?

NE: We target college students, young working adults and more mature people. Fall of the City is for people who live in the city, especially who come from elsewhere; those people who are staying alone. The show is thought-provoking rather than a story-telling performance.

K: What are NEED Entertainment’s plans for this year?

NE: NEED Entertainment, being a newly establish theatre company, focuses on Chinese theatre production. This year we collaborate with many other talented director and theatre groups, for example:

In March: we collaborated with DoDo Chinese Theatre and presented Hui Niang Goes to School. In June: we work with Charles Jong, the artistic director from Dan Dan Theatre. Sometimes we collaborate with Chinese Director Box at The Actors Studio, a bi-monthly showcase, introducing new and up-coming directors in Chinese theatre. Coming in September, we present The Angryman, directed by Lim Yeow Hua; a talented director who is currently studying directing in Beijing. In November 2002, a big budget production of the year My Poor Marathe, a classic script adapted and directed by Ling (NEED Entertainment’s artistic director). We are proud to say we dared make the move, and show people our commitment to the theatre industry.

K: Anything else you want to add?

NE: We are looking forward to working with different theatre companies. Be it Chinese, Malay and English theatre, we welcome all!

First Published: 20.06.2002 on Kakiseni

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