Interview: Mohamad Shaifulbahri on 'Our Time'
On being a 20-something
It may not have the muscle to splash ads all over town – it’s actually registered as an interest group at Tampines Central Community Club – but for the past nine years, Yellow Chair Productions has been working tirelessly to put out show after show after show. And this month, it’s at it again, staging its first-ever musical revue, entitled Our Time, to wrap up the 2014 season.
‘I’d love to stage more musicals, but they can be much costlier than a play as they require a bigger venue and cast,’ admits Mohamad Shaifulbahri, the company’s cofounder and artistic director.
Shaifulbahri borrowed the title of the song ‘Our Time’ from Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along for this production, a revue that questions whether the 20s are really the best years of our lives. ‘It’s an important question because it feels like being in your 20s usually means you can’t pinpoint the sudden bridge between our carefree and serious years,’ says Shaifulbahri. ‘I’m 28, and I feel that my 20s have been lived to the best of my abilities. One of the best things that happened then was the big decision I made at 26 to leave my civil service job. I had nothing lined up when I resigned, yet it has tremendously benefitted my creative endeavours, pushed me to see the world, and allowed me to better appreciate time.’
The piece also marks a full circle for Shaifulbahri: ‘My first full-length play saw me writing, directing and acting. It was madness to be doing all of that, but ten years on, I’m returning to familiar territory – only now I have to sing and maybe even show some moves!’