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W!LD RICE's 'Grandmother Tongue' Returns for Limited Season in September!

By Flora  /  28 Jul 2017 (Friday)
A popular and critical hit at the 2016 Singapore Theatre Festival, Grandmother Tongue will be returning for a strictly limited season in September 2017. 

In a Singapore where dialects have been losing relevance for generations, Grandmother Tongue traces a young man’s struggle to connect with his 84-year-old Teochew-speaking grandmother. He teaches her to use a mobile phone. He helps her buy her favourite brand of soya sauce. He visits her in hospital after a fall. Along the way, he begins to understand just what it means to spend decades in linguistic and cultural exile. 

Grandmother Tongue 
Date: 28 Sept - 21 Oct
  • Tue to Sat: 8.00pm
    Sat & Sun: 3.00pm
Venue: SOTA Studio Theatre
Ticket Pricing: $35-$40
Language: Performed in Teochew and English, with English surtitles

(Purchase your tickets from Sistic here!)
  • TALK BACK THURSDAY: Meet the artists and deepen your experience of the play in these lively post-show discussions on Thursdays (5, 12 and 19 October 2017). 
  • SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: the 8pm performance on 14 October 2017 (Saturday) will be simultaneously interpreted in Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) for the deaf and hearing-impaired. 

Inspired by Kuo Pao Kun’s seminal Mama Looking For Her Cat, Thomas Lim’s funny, insightful play examines the social costs of our mother-tongue language policy and the erasure of dialects in today’s Singapore. In ways both humorous and heartbreaking, Grandmother Tongue explores how our identities are bound up with the languages that we use and the ones that we lose. 

This tough, tender play about family, language and identity was also a hit with critics. Grandmother Tongue was nominated in four categories at the 2017 Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards – Production of the Year, Best Original Script, Best Actress (Jalyn Han) and Best Supporting Actor (Rei Poh). 

“One of the most intriguing things I’ve learnt is that the issues of communication in Grandmother Tongue also occur in sign language, where there are differences in the systems used by different generations,” Lim observes. 
Anchored on the relationship between an 84-year-old Teochew-speaking grandmother and her grandson, the story of Grandmother Tongue will be familiar to audiences of all ages. However, it’s a story that seldom plays out on stage. 

“W!LD RICE’s goal has always been to tell the tales of people from all walks of life in Singapore – including the ones who fall by the wayside as the country barrels ever onward,” says Ivan Heng, Artistic Director of W!LD RICE. “But, while the language at the heart of Grandmother Tongue is Teochew, its message about love and communication across generation gaps is universal.” 

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