Unseen’s inaugural literary promo collaboration call was answered by The Second Breakfast Company (2BCo) and aren’t we all in for a treat. An impromptu visit to 2BCo’s secret hideout kitchen reveals an exclusive insight into what’s cooking for this breakout theatre group founded by youths, for youths. Unseen thanks the 2BCo team for giving this unprecedented literary promo call a good shot: have they set a precedent for a new form of cross-promotional marketing?
~ APERITIF ~
Welcome to the humble kitchen of The Second Breakfast Company (2BCo), huddled in a secret location somewhere in Singapore. Sorry about having to bag you on the way here. We have to keep this place Unseen, and I’m sure you can appreciate that.
Today, we are cooking up a three-course homecooked second breakfast just for you. But first, the aperitif a.k.a. typical introductory paragraph. We are 2BCo: a well-meaning, outgoing and fun theatre outfit that laughs when coffee is spilled on our shirts, is not afraid to talk with a mouth full of colloquial speak but knows when to sedia and be serious. We also think of ourselves as the joker in the classroom that is actually quite smart.
In other words, we are a not-for-profit theatre company founded by youths, for youths, inspired by the growth of Singapore theatre over the last few decades which was possible because of the creation of new and original works by young practitioners of their time. We see ourselves as continuing this energy in the present day, particularly as we seek to fill the grey area in the Singapore theatre scene where young, emerging artists can take risks in a safer space, without worrying about being good enough presently for the scene to perform in established companies’ productions.
2BCo offers a savoury 3-course theatre degustation that speaks to the contemporary and urban sensibilities of the young Singaporean, addressing their ambitions, fears and realities of living in Singapore. They are as follows:
~ STARTERS ~
The Reinvention of perceptions and notions through original works
Earlier this year, we ran an open call for scripts and were overwhelmed with 40 different recipes for stage plays. We had hoped to profile young writers and empower young voices with the platform to hold important conversations. When we came across the two plays, Lemmings and The Wedding Pig, we were struck by how real the stories were and how accurately reflective they were of the societal issues we face today that we wanted nothing more than to present these works to the world.
By staging new works written by young playwrights, we at 2BCo hope to empower young voices with the platform to hold important conversations. Together, The Wedding Pig (by Chelsea Cheo) and Lemmings (by Myle Yan Tay) will allow for a meaningful discourse on themes like relationships, religion and tradition. Kristine Ng, Producer of 2BCo hopes that our kitchen can “create a safe space for them to develop and stage their scripts” before they get served out to the world.
Lemmings was Tay’s award-winning entry to TheatreWorks’ 2012 installment of the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition, and has been since published by TheatreWorks in the collection of winning entries. The Wedding Pig was originally written by Cheo as her submission for her final year project in Yale-NUS College where she majored in Arts and Humanities. Cheo’s slow-cooking of The Wedding Pig was “really about taking a magnifying glass and putting a spotlight on issues like feminism, the values we inscribe onto traditions, mental illness and intergenerational conflict, and seeing if it will all shine in the light or spark a whole new fire altogether”.
The Wedding Pig was performed by a separate cast at the inaugural Asian Youth Theatre Festival running from 13 to 15 October 2017. The festival, organised by Buds Theatre Company, aims to place youth theatre on the map as a credible and relevant part of the artistic landscape by bringing together youth theatre groups from different parts of Asia. Denise Dolendo, Producer of 2BCo says that “we are extremely honoured and excited to be a part of the first ever (Masterchef) Asian Youth Theatre Festival”. She also believes it is “a great platform for youth theatre groups from the region to meet and learn from each other” and that “having a youth driven festival like this is such a monumental move in shaping the future of our arts landscape in Singapore and Asia”.
All these new samplings are meant to keep you coming back for more. We also welcome budding (chefs) writers and performers to get in touch with us during future Open Calls and Auditions.
~ MAIN COURSE ~
The Revival of the Singapore canon
2BCo’s inaugural production celebrated the 20th anniversary of Leow Puay Tin’s iconic play Family. The show, which had a sold out run at Centre 42 in October 2016, was praised by Michael Ng of Bakchormeeboy.com as “commendable” and “a great show” for its “bold directing choices that left [him] on the edge of [his] seat all the way till the show’s end.” Another critic, Kathy Rowland from ArtsEquator claimed that “for an inaugural production for a young theatre company, it was extremely self assured. There was not any sense of hesitation with the direction and it was very clearly crafted”. We believe they enjoyed their main course very much and so will you.
Currently scheduled to be served in May 2018 for our Main Course is a restaging of Goh Poh Seng’s The Moon Is Less Bright, written in 1964. Get your theatre tastebuds ready for a blast from the (pre-independence) past.
~ DESSERT ~ (Recipe preparation in progress)
The Reimagining of existing stories
We are still testing out recipes for this one so we prefer not to reveal too much of our blueprint ideas at the moment. Suffice to say that in our collective experience sampling theatre from all over the world, as well as attempting our own adaptations of works like the Restoration Comedy classic The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar (who performs Restoration Comedy anyway in Singapore apart from some Theatre Studies students at A Level?) back when Adeeb and Mark were directing and producing with NTU Paparazzi in 2014, we at 2BCo believe there is room for experimenting with established classics (or lesser-known works by established playwrights) to fit the context of a contemporary English-speaking audience in Singapore.
But this does not mean we must necessarily resort to Singaporean-ising every play we choose to adapt. We may not need to localise the language or setting entirely even though the original play could be set very long ago and/or very far away from home.
What flavours and recipes will we bring home and cook up in future? Only time (and budget and other logistical resources) will tell.
~ SPLIT THE BILL ~
We see you are ready for the bill. Allow me to suggest that you may split the bill with your many friends and readers at Unseen?
With double the scripts being performed this November, it is double the cost of presenting the works on stage. We hope to at least cover the cost of our ingredients, preparation and service in order to sustain future breakfasts. This, along with the limited arts funding available has made the realities of staging the two plays a struggle for a youth theatre company such as ours. Thus, we humbly seek the support of fellow art advocates to make this show possible.
Funds contributed will go a long way in helping to realise the dreams of the two young writers, Cheo and Tay, in having their works staged. At the same time, funds raised from the campaign will help 2BCo empower youths in their creative pursuits and provide a safe platform for youths to gather and hone their talents and capabilities.
We hope that friends of Unseen The Magazine will be open to support us in small tokens. As a gesture of goodwill, we will waive the 10% Service Charge and 7% GST for Unseen on this Second Breakfast with us today. Adeeb says we can throw in the iced water for free.
We welcome all Kopi-O Kosong, Kopi-O and Kopi perk orders. We can consider arranging for special visit to our secret kitchen like Unseen if you order Kopi-C, but for sure we will serve you homecooked second breakfast if you order Kopi-C Gao or Special Teh Tarik with us!
Okay, bye for now, we got to get back to cooking.
[Proceeds to interrupt Unseen’s half-eaten second breakfast mid-chewing before bundling them into the unseen uber that drove them to this unknown location.]
Everything you need to know about THE SECOND BREAKFAST COMPANY has been shared in this literary promo. Find us on Facebook and Instagram @thesecondbreakfastcompany !
Photo Credit: 2BCo