Usher in the Year of the Tiger with The Secret Life of Haw Par Villa, an “after-hours interactive heritage tour-cum-performance” taking place in Singapore’s oldest theme park.
A collaboration between Strawberries (an experimental events company), Patch and Punnet (a theatre collective) and Journeys (a pioneer in creative development of heritage sites), the show will open on January 7 2022 and continue till February 26.
The Secret Life of Haw Par Villa will be the newest addition to the list of many performances that the 84-year-old park has hosted since its heyday. It will take full advantage of the recent renovations.
The show will not only incorporate the park’s various dioramas and exhibits as its backdrop, but will also take audiences through the newly refurbished Ten Courts of Hell.
Savita Kashyap, Executive Director of Journeys, guarantees it will be “a surreal experience in itself, reserved only for the stout of heart”.
Featuring larger-than-life characters in elaborate costumes and lighting installations, all blended together with the wacky surrealist aesthetic of the park, the tour has been made for sharing on social media.
“Haw Par Villa literally has atmosphere baked in, and too few people have seen how wild it can look at night,” said Krish Natarajan, the founder of Strawberries and co-founder of Patch and Punnet, adding that he’s confident about the tour-performance being as “mesmerising as it is elucidating.”
He came up with the idea of the tour and wrote the script.
Audiences will embark on a 100-minute private tour around the park, led by the creator of Haw Par Villa himself, Aw Boon Haw. As the tour progresses, numerous characters from Chinese legends wind up hijacking the Tiger Balm King’s tour, each taking turns to shift the spotlight onto themselves.
The hosts (Tiger – Benjamin Chow; Leopard – Hu Yuheng; Putu – Nadya Zaheer; Lan Caihe – Ben Lye; Monkey King – Fahim Murshed) are brilliant. The crew – Pearl Wee, Ally Wee, Sarah Sim, Thaddaeus Low and Astley Xie – have also done a splendid job.
Interactive games and activities are also woven into the tour itinerary to help draw the audience in as they learn about both the legacy of the Haw Par Brothers and a little something about themselves.
Through the brothers’ relationship and viewed through the lens of Chinese legends, the show raises important questions on the relationship between Eastern and Western philosophy, particularly on the subject of morality and mortality.
The show is open for bookings every Saturday and Sunday from January 7 to February 26.
Tickets, priced $59 for adults and $49 for students/children under 12, will be available for purchase at Sistic: https://bit.ly/3yDId7P
Strawberries is an experimental events company started by a group of theatre practitioners who want to “push art off the stage” and into the public consciousness. Committed to the idea that drama and performance are always appropriate for any event (when done right), this kooky crew of artistes have pushed theatre onto corporate parties, wedding banquets, art exhibitions, tours and even a trampoline park. Strawberries believes that restrictions embolden creativity and that you should always treasure your craziest ideas.
Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa, formerly known as the Tiger Balm Garden, is an 8.5-hectare Asian cultural park, the last of its kind in the world. Built in 1937, Singapore’s largest outdoor art gallery is the brainchild of Aw Boon Haw, the millionaire philanthropist and marketing extraordinaire who gifted us Tiger Balm. The eclectic park is a treasure trove of art, culture, philosophy and religion. Since 2015, it has been managed by award-winning heritage specialist Journeys, which
has taken on the task of bringing back the park’s glory days.
Journeys is a Singapore-based, award-winning heritage specialist focused on bringing life and colour to heritage-based experiences and attractions in Singapore. Its passionate team comprises historians, researchers, educators, writers and guides who specialise in unearthing historical gems and curating creative, immersive and enriching experiences. With its commitment to research, creative tour design and the nurturing of skilled heritage professionals,
Journeys holds a 20-year proven track record in customising unique itineraries and corporate programmes. Together with its associate companies, Journeys has a unique, unparalleled capability in the creative management of cultural and heritage sites by a private firm, including The Battle Box, The Changi Museum and Haw Par Villa.