Motherhood, a play scripted three years ago by Cassandra Yeo (popularly known as Sandy), drama director at City Harvest Church (CHC), and Jaslynn Khoo, assistant drama director, finally made it to the stage during the recent Mother’s Day services at City Harvest Church.
Yeo describes Motherhood as “a timeless theme that waited till an opportune time” before it could be unveiled. The play brought the audience through the different life stages of a woman from a young single woman, to a wife and finally a mother. Both Yeo and Khoo, who directed and acted in this play, used the richness of monologues and dialogues to reveal the “strengths and vulnerability of a mother” through the drama. By capturing the voices of a grieving mother whose child has died prematurely, and that of a struggling mother of an autistic child, the drama directors showcased the “span of emotions” and the acting range of the performers, while connecting to the audience through these very real-life scenarios.
The play was entirely performed by four actresses — Yeo, Khoo, Shelia Ther and Wendy Woo. Beneath the hilarity, each female character was an example of true gentleness and sacrifice that underscores every mother’s character, from pregnancy to the day her baby gets married and leaves home.
In seeking inspiration for this play, both Yeo and Khoo named their mothers as role models. Both their mothers have not only given their daughters practical strategies for juggling work and family, they have both survived cancer. Yeo described her mother as headstrong, while Khoo says her mother is “a traditional mum, a model wife, submissive and cooks well.”
Thanks to the close relationships both Yeo and Khoo have with their mothers, they were able to understand and portray the characters’ maternal anxieties and mixed feelings towards pregnancy and child-rearing. Deviating from the usual linear storytelling experience by employing a “vignette” or short story style of presentation, Yeo and Khoo added layers to the whole play.
The highlight of Motherhood, for many, was the Nonya scene (which borrowed the popular theme song from the TV series The Little Nonya). Ironically, Motherhood was actually written before The Little Nonya even existed! Both Yeo’s mother and Khoo’s mother-in-law are Peranakan, and their portrayal of the Nonya matriarch and female clan was side-splittingly spot-on. But running through the heart of that little story was a shrewd observation that modern women lack the obedience and respect for others that previous generations of women have held dear.
|PHOTOS: Jaslynn Khoo And Sandy Yeo|
For Yeo, who has two children, and Khoo, who has three, balancing kids, work and parents is their daily juggle — one that they aptly portrayed and celebrated with Motherhood.
Currently, the hardworking duo are preparing for their next drama — this time, one for Father’s Day.