We caught the mandarin adaption of The Three Billy Goats Gruff over the weekend and here’s top 3 reasons why I liked it.
Why “I” and not “We”?
Simply because I think I enjoyed the mandarin version more than my companions.
The storyline and set is exactly the same as the English production we saw last year.
3 key points I felt made the Mandarin version outstanding:
1) Pun on Mandarin words
With English, you addressed relatives as Aunties or Uncles. Or if you are more “English/westernised”, you address them by first names.
With Mandarin, we can address relatives as 三婶 or 二舅 or the likes. During the recent Chinese New Year, I tried to make an effort to teach my boys to address our relatives either with the correct Mandarin or dialect words. It is easy peasy if I go with English, but the effort of using Mandarin made them think a little and hopefully not forget their roots.
And so with 三只山羊, I enjoyed the twist on Chinese words. For example, the Troll (怪兽) said that he likes to eat goats and not 狐狸 (wolves) because after eating 狐狸, he might just slip (on his legs) (“脚滑”). A deliberate pun on the Mandarin words that wolves are crafty animals (狐狸狡猾). Such clever use of Mandarin spiced up the drama!
2) The music
Though the tunes are exactly the same as the English version, the lyrics creatively rhymed well and interweaved with the drama as though it was first written in Mandarin. 张乐声 (Zhang Lesheng), the Chinese Adaptor for the songs did a great job! He is a Singaporean Lyricist – famously known for the popular MediaCorp’s TV drama theme songs in The Journey: A Voyage, The Journey: Tumultuous Times and The Little Nyonya. All these are my favourite MediaCorp’s TV drama serials which also broke viewership records. Of course, he is not the only one on the music team, but his name is better known.
Personally, I have a bias towards Mandarin songs to begin with. With the recent revival in Xinyao 新姚 songs in Singapore, I hope my children can grow up appreciating the deeper meanings in Mandarin lyrics.
3) Local content/context
Another well known name on the team is Danny Yeo 杨君伟. He is the Chinese Adaptor for 三只山羊 as well as The Goldilocks and The Three Bear (Mandarin) which we also watched last year.
All of us (even Xi En) can strike a chord with local content such as “ERP” and etc (I can’t remember everything!). We saw a few foreigners with their children and it is amazing that they too understand the show and laughed at the “local jokes”.
This helped the younger audience last the entire 50 mins production (without interlude). Xi En was quite captivated throughout the duration.
And of course the ending and moral of the whole story has to be educational.
To be contented with what you have in life rather than looking for that green which looks greener on the other side. 知足常乐.
Children shows have to end on a good, positive note yeah?
Don’t be mistaken that I am saying Mandarin is anything more superior than English or vice versa. But with the recent discussions on how to get our children to learn and appreciate Mandarin, it is apt to promote good quality Chinese productions at a young age. Xi En started from enjoying a Mandarin chat with his grandmother; but once he entered kindergarten, speaking in Mandarin seemed to be such a chore. It is quite alarming to me that he had enjoyed the language very much before preschool and it took at 180 degree change thereafter.
For now that he isn’t adverse to Mandarin, I hope to cultivate the enjoyment of the language through good productions such as 三只山羊. We only had good old SBC and TCS (Channel 8!) back then!
For more details and synopsis of the The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Mandarin) musical, check out my previous blog entry here: http://www.claudedambreville.com/2016/02/11/the-three-billy-goats-gruff-mandarin-version-by-srts-the-little-company/
You can still catch the show with your children before it ends on 26th March 2016.
Dates: 18th Feb to 26th Mar 2016
Mon to Fri: 10am
Sat: 11am, 2pm
Fri (25 Mar): 11am
Recommended for 5 years old and above
Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT , 20 Merbau Rd Singapore 239035.
SRT’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/singaporerepertorytheatre
You can purchase tickets to this show through SISTIC at http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/billy0416
Tickets are actually quite affordable for the weekday tickets (Prices start from S$25 per ticket). We sat in Cat 2 and Cat 3 last year and still have decent views as the theatre isn’t that big.
Special family package tickets of 4 in Cat 1 include a photo opportunity with the cast too. Grab that if your children must have a photo as photo taking are prohibited during the show.
Don’t worry, the Troll doesn’t appear during the photo taking.
And your child might even get to taste a little slice of that edible paper which the goats ate during the show!
N.B: We were kindly invited for a media review. No further compensation were received. All opinions remained writer’s own. All photos except those with the family are copyrights of the musical’s PR company.