The Enormous Turnip @ SOTA Drama Theatre

This morning, we were all excited to watch the play – The Enormous Turnip presented by I-Theatre at the SOTA Drama Theatre. We still relish over the fond memories when we watched “What the Ladybird Heard” the last time we were there, I remembered the seat arrangement within the theatre was very favourable regardless where we sat.

Back by popular demand, the production team seemed set to captivate the little ones with an improved and more colourful version of the sold-out 2013 production of The Enormous Turnip! It has always been a thrilling affair for us when we venture out to catch a play or arts event, more so for a raved one such as this!

I-Theatre’s unique blend of professional actors, catchy tunes and masterful puppetry employed in this interesting and interactive play had us cheering and singing along while watching the entertaining colourful characters performed their act, and successfully crooning us with that catchy memorable chorus respectively.

Pulling the turnip

The 50-minute play looked like it was staged right out from a pop-up storybook. Everyone was clearly seen to have enjoyed the interactive play with many call-outs and counter-responses thrown to the spontaneous audience by the engaging cast who, time-and-again received overwhelming replies from the enthusiastic crowd.

As you can see from our pictures, it was “child’s play” (pun-intended) to have countless hands shot up to volunteer to pull out the enormous turnip during the last act. Mr Diggory (the farmer) must have had a tough time taking his pick!

And POP! out comes the turnip!

Valuable Teaching Points

The enormous turnip may represent any activity or thing in our lives, especially one that is difficult and cannot be done alone. As our society grows and develops, we rely more and more on others to do almost anything. We live in communities of families, clans and societies. We also need to participate in functional groups with other people to be able to accomplish otherwise impossible tasks. To do this, we have to value the skills and abilities of other people and relate nicely with them. We also need to be at peace with everyone; not hold grudges, and endeavor to build friendships and cordial relations so that we do not focus on tearing one another down, but on building them and our communities up.

The original story is often told to illustrate the value of teamwork. We could in fact draw more teaching points from this simple tale:

  1. Value of teamwork and synergy
    • We can accomplish a great undertaking (one that cannot be done by yourself alone) if we all work together in the same direction (all the characters in the tale pulled in one direction).
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-14,20, Romans 12:3-5, Ephesians 4:16
  2. Every member is important and valuable, however small or insignificant one may appear to be.
    • The turnip could only be pulled out successfully with the help of the tiny mouse.
    • 1 Corinthians 12:15-26
  3. Enlightened self-interest – a valuable idea for the workplace and the classroom.
    • Natural enemies, like the cat and the dog, as well as the mouse and the cat, can find it worthwhile to work together.
    • Mark 12:31
  4. We reap what we sow
    • There is fair and just reward after the job is done. The farmer’s wife gave turnip soup to everyone, not just her favourites.
    • 2 Corinthian 9:6, Galatians 6:7-9, Romans 2:6
  5. Honour each other
    • Respect and value every effort and everyone.
    • Have a modest opinion of yourself, and learn to recognise the outstanding contributions that others have to impart.
    • Honour is the foundation of trust, and trust is critical for long-term, beneficial relationships, whether the relationships be personal or business.
    • Philippians 2:3-4

I-Theatre’s rendition of The Enormous Turnip was presented differently

Amidst all the fun, I had my reservations about the values behind this adaptation. Mr Diggory was portrayed as a rather reluctant, lazy farmer, who sits around dreaming to win the enormous turnip prize. By chance, he received a few enchanted seeds from a magician (a character who is not found in the original story). Later, Mr and Mrs Diggory revealed their excitement for winning the enormous turnip prize, in a rousing song-and-dance number, claiming that they will be rich! This is in contrast to the original Russian fable, in which the old farmer is rewarded with a giant turnip due to his hard work. Eventually, he shares the turnip with everyone who helped him to pull it out. Sadly, I did not see the idea of ‘reaping what you sow’ in this adaptation. The story seems to have been given a modern twist that upholds materialistic ideals.

Nonetheless, we did enjoy the entertaining play, and I did my part in teaching Little E the above points. And oh, you can even meet and greet the cast for a group photo right after the show!

Watching plays exposes children to what I call “theatre magic”, where they could pick up literacy knowledge such as fluency, vocabulary and comprehension in the most subtle way ever. More so when we as parents further expound on the learning points and inculcate the moral message of whichever play we watched together – these are the significant take-homes one could gain from theatre plays! At a young age, these children get to experience theatre as an immersive experience that encourages interaction rather than designating them as merely passive witnesses of the story.

We passed by Plaza Singapura and stopped to snap a photo of Little E at one of the Christmas decorations!

We ran on further towards our favourite mall of all, Takashimaya, and was surprised to catch Robocar Poli performing at the atrium.

By night, we went for dinner with J at Marina Square, and did some post-dinner shopping at Millenia Walk. It was an eventful day indeed. Good night!

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