Mama Looking for Her Cat 寻找小猫的妈妈
Girl ah... Boy ah... can you help me find my cat?
An old dialect-speaking mother has lost her only companion -- a cat. She asked for help, but was snubbed by her grown-up children. One night, the old lady left her house looking for her cat in a world that has left her behind -- a world obsessed with progress and prosperity, which has forgotten the traditional, the old and the frail.
Mama Looking For Her Cat is a play about the communication differences and the estranged relationship between a mother and her children. Written by the Late Kuo Pao Kun in 1988, the play revolves around the theme of Singapore being a multiracial, multicultural and multilingual society. Two decades later, this poignant piece remains as powerful, as relevant and as emotionally hard-hitting as ever.
In 1988, the late Kuo Pao Kun wrote and directed Mama looking for her cat, the first multilingual play in Singapore. This play focused on the theme of Singapore’s multiracial, multicultural, and multilingual society. I was just a young lad then this show impacted me so much that I decided to pursue a career in theatre. The only thing I felt wrong was that it was just one sided, the voice from Mama's point of view. What about the voice of the children? Something must have happened between the mama and her child to lead to such a situation. Thus, in 2012, I devised a new version of Mama Looking for her cat with voices collected from my actors. It was also the year that I discovered that I don't own a single picture with my mum. The work also forced me to look within me, am I guilty just like the children in the play or is there more beneath the tip of the iceberg.
35 years have passed since I watched the play, but the images were still strong in my mind. To me, it was a surprise that such a sensitive topic and yet could be done in such a simple way that was so powerful. I believed the scene where Mama and the old Indian man conversing about their cats in their own native language was the peak of the performance. It compounded one idea that drama has no language barrier. There’s not English, Malay, Chinese or Tamil drama. There is just drama. It is not the understanding of the meaning of the words used in drama but rather the willingness to communicate to each other. Thus, this forms the foundation of my approach to drama – to communicate heart to heart with the audience.
As Malaysia and Singapore are very similar, I believe that this play will work wondrous. I can also continue to explore the idea of a multilingual theatre. To continue where Kuo Pao Kun has stopped, to continue searching a theatre that is true to our hearts. I will like to influence those to really hear, really see, and finally really feel. So that the work we present will be sincere and true and hopefully impact another youngster while watching my version of “Mama Looking for her cat”.