Playhouse 2006

Every year, NUS had this Faculty of Medicine Shield (though now the faculty’s been renamed to the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine), which was comprised of the Intra-Faculty Games and Playhouse. For Playhouse, each medical class (or batch) comes up with none other than… a play on their own time and budget to be presented to anyone who’s interested (usually just the medics).

The first year, I was a spectator. The second, I was involved briefly but pulled out. The third, we made history by being the first class ever to pull out of Playhouse. This year, I was proud to have been part of the team.

The scriptwriter was inspired by the mishaps of a classmate. He was the template for the central antagonist: a bumbling medical student with no concern for medical competency or patient welfare. This character, known as Kok, had been murdered, and Dr Seow, the psychiatric registrar had been tasked to investigate.

Inspired casting meant the four cast as “The Four Housemen of the Apocalypse” – Famine, Pestilence, War and Death – suited their chacters to a T. Famine pulled off innocent giddiness, Pestilence was suitably whiny, Death overly melodramatic and War channelled his own anger into his character.

Days of memorising scripts, eating packed fried rice and freezing in the lecture theatre (the makeship rehearsal place) paid off with a ‘Best Script Award’. Though that meant that all the credit should go to the scriptwriter, it remains a pleasant surprise to finally have a Playhouse from which we did not walk away empty-handed.

It was nice that we could take time off cramming in the library and clerking patients incessantly in the wards to get together, roll newspapers, sew backdrops, memorise scripts, adjust lightings and edit sounds to put together something like this. And as the dean said, when medical school is over, it’s these activities that we put in time together for that remain burnt into memory.


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