“Emily of Emerald Hill”
Wawasan Open University
Saturday 28 March , 8.15pm
Sunday 29 March, 3.00pm
Ombak-Ombak Arts Studio presents Emily of Emerald Hill at Wawasan Open University on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March 2009 to raise funds for Ombak’s community projects. Tickets at RM30 and RM50 are available Penang Heritage Trust (04-2642631) and East-West Learning Centre in Farlim (04-8351600) and Tropical Spice Garden (04-.8811797) Student tickets at RM15 are also available for a special 3pm matinee on Sunday 29 March. For more information contact Ho Sheau Fung (012-5145933).
Watch out! Nyonya Emily’s back in town!
Watch out! Everybody’s favourite Nyonya is back in Penang! Yes, your most manipulative and domineering female relative comes a-visiting again, wheeling and dealing in the only way she knows how.
Fans of Stella Kon’s acclaimed one-woman Peranakan play, Emily of Emerald Hill, are looking forward to welcoming indomitable Nyonya matriarch Emily Gan back to the Penang theatre circuit this weekend after an absence of two years. Fleshing out the demanding role will be actress Pearlly Chua, triumphant from her 130th performance in February as Emily. The coming Penang performance will be her 135th!
You may have seen the play before but really, who can resist Emily’s wiles as she sets out to address weighty issues like wayward husbands, long-suffering eldest sons and bullying in-laws? Who can forget those delicious battles among the women of the Gan clan for one-upwomanship at that grand old mansion called Emerald Hill? It is futile to argue with the lady. You know it is once again time to set aside your weekend to be with your favourite Nyonya as she rules the Penang stage once again.
Her draw is simply too strong. You look forward to rubbing shoulders with the Grande Dame of Emerald Hill and laughing at her as well as with her as she goes about establishing order in everyone’s lives, sometimes with hilarious consequences. You know there will be moments when you will just cringe and grit your teeth at her little schemes to retain supreme control of the household, but you also know the poignant tender moments will come as the girl-child Emily surfaces to articulate the horror of realizing how worthless one can be made to feel simply because one is female.
Emily of Emerald Hill has become Malaysia’s longest running local play, exploring in-depth the hopes, fears and aspirations harboured by women the world over as they try to fulfill their roles as wives and mothers within the context of their respective social milieus. Throughout the play, you witness her triumphs and failures. You see the bitter irony of how her overpowering love can lead to tragic events within her household. Emily is indeed a “bitter-sweet eulogy to a disappearing culture of the Straits Chinese”, as the late theatre critic Krishen Jit once put it.
And so you know that come the weekend, you will be there at the performance once again, dragging fresh initiates to the Emily circle there screaming (they will thank you after the show – you know that from past experience!), as the one and only Emily Gan invites you to step back in time to a golden era of fabulous soirees at Emerald Hill, attended to by her squadrons of servants.
Welcome back to Penang, Nyonya Besar!