I want to share about The Little Company’s latest play, The Nightingale which we had the privilege to catch last Sunday. The play was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless story of “The Emperor and the Nightingale’.

The play is about an hour long and recommended for 2 to 6-year-olds. The roles were well-executed by the actors and we love the clever dialogue throughout the play. We especially enjoyed the contemporary/ hip-hop songs as well as the interactive segments to engage with the younger audience.

Children's Theatre Singapore
Ann Lek, Tan Shou Chen, Rachel Tay and Timothy Wan in TLC’s The Nightingale (2014)

I thought this was a play for my child. To my surprise, I found many comparisons of parenting that made me think about how I parent my kids.

“There’s a great big wide world out there.”

  1. Out of our desires to protect our children, do we end up inhibiting their sense of wonder and discovery? Just like the Emperor Protector who kept cautioning his young Emperor against venturing past the Palace grounds because of the “unknown” and the possibility of getting lost. How do we as parents encourage our children to explore and discover new possibilities about themselves, the world at large? Are we protecting them from the right things?
  2. The Emperor was puzzled by the Nightingale’s disapproval of his cage gift made of diamonds and sapphire.  Do we parents feed our children with inappropriate gifts that may not be appreciated by our children? Are we “caging” our kids with these lavish gifts?
  3. After sending the Nightingale away with harsh words, the Emperor fell ill but was too prideful to acknowledge his mistake, I wonder how willing are we as parents to acknowledge our mistake and apologize to our kids?

This is definitely a play that you can start a conversation with your child on aspects of friendship and kindness. Here are more reasons why you should bring your kids to catch the play.

–     This is a classic fairy-tale about the pursuit of freedom and friendship.

–     It emphasizes the importance of expressing emotions instead of bottling them up.

–     It teaches children to be selfless and to understand that everyone is different.

–     It is an inspiring play that will promote your child’s sense of wonder.

For those not familiar with this classic, here is the synopsis of the play:

The young Emperor of China (played by Tan Shou Chen) is bored. By chance, he read about the enchanting voice of the Nightingale and declares his desire to hear this ‘mystical’ creature. When he learned from the kitchen maid (Ann Lek) that the Nightingale resides in his country, the young Emperor commissioned his Lord Protector (Timothy Wan) to scour the countryside for this enchanting creature. When the Nightingale (Rachel Tay) is presented to the Emperor, the lilting birdsong of the plain-looking brown Nightingale moved the Emperor of China so much that he decided to keep her locked in a gilded cage so he could enjoy her music.

The Nightingale loses her voice soon after her capture. The Emperor returned her freedom by releasing her and replacing her with a mechanic Nightingale. But he soon fell ill. Will the original Nightingale return to save the Emperor?

Watch this introductory clip to get an idea of the play.

The Little Company is a division of Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) that produces and stage quality plays for children below 12 years olds.

Performance Details:

English version (now to 14 Sept) Ι Mandarin version (18 Sept to 11 Oct)

Day and Time: Tuesday to Friday (10am) I Weekends and PH (11am, 2pm)

Ticketing: $22 – $35 I Family Package for 4 ($85 & $119) – check SISTIC for more information.

I will also be taking my kids to watch the Mandarin version. I think it is worthwhile to expose them to as many Mandarin plays as possible.

We have tickets to the Mandarin version to give away! Watch out for our post on 18 September.

Disclaimer:  Thank you SRT and TLC for inviting us to review this wonderful production. The views and comments in this post belong to the blogger.

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