The Penis Society: Let’s talk cock!

”Men in Shirts craft huge national ambitions

Men in Suits speak of visions in assembly halls

Men in Robes fight law and justice

And yet they are discontented with their one domestic wife

And yet they indulge in shameful desires in no-frills hotels

And yet they fail in righteousness between the shadow of thighs

Penetrate a civilization where Men have stripped themselves of all moral codes

A play where private parts become public entertainment

Come talk cock!’

(From publicity material – The Penis Society)

From the title above, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a new club where attendees get to show off their, ahem, ‘members’. But rest assured, this is not a kinky new hangout but the title of Toy Theatre’s latest production. Its talented and illustrious artistic director, Goh Boon Teck has crafted a new script filled with dramatic moments and irreverent humour called The Penis Society.

The Penis Society raises several social issues and touches on incidents that occurred in 2012, Singapore’s so-called ‘Year Of Lust’, a year in which sex-related scandals kept making headlines in the news.  If you have forgotten what happened last year, here is a reminder:

Sex with teachers and under aged students.

Sex with underage hookers (51 men were caught in this incident)

Sex for business contracts

Sex between politicians and their staff

Forget Silvio Berlusconi and his infamous ‘bunga, bunga’ parties – there were sexy scandals happening right here on our own little red dot!

So what’s The Penis Society about? For a start, it’s not a conventional piece of theatre.  It will be in the form of a dramatized talk show, where three guys debate and attempt to enlighten the audience on the current male culture in Singapore. The ‘participants’ in this wicked satire, masquerading as a talk show, are Prem John (Mister), Wilson Xin (Sir) and Muhammad Farid (Ryd) as Gentleman.

They will use their razor-sharp tongues and acidic wit to confront the reality of desire and the fragility of will and mind, i.e. ‘The illustrious world of Singaporean men using their genitals to ruin their career and lives.’

The Director of this piece, surprise, surprise, is a woman!  Patricia Toh was nominated for Best Director in 13th Life! Theatre Awards for ‘Pretty Things’.  She mentions that her greatest challenge as Director is ‘to tune into the body, energy and communication patterns of men’ but that it is ‘liberating as a woman to be directing men on issues that concern lust, marriage and fidelity’. Indeed. She feels that Toy Factory is part of a movement to create current and provocative theatre.  As for the actors, their greatest challenge, according to Toh, is to juggle multiple roles, be funny and ‘resist the temptation to head straight for the bar!’

Playwright and Artistic Director, Goh Boon Teck, talks about what inspired him to write this piece. ‘The Tsunami of Sex Scandals which lubricated our island in 2012 inspired me to pen a script about men. Their drives, egos, dreams, fears and insecurities are the writing materials for The Penis Society. The tug of war between Morality and Desire is fought with keen interest in the play, creating a night of wits and humour over rather personal subject matter.’ Did he feel that this was an accurate portrayal of male culture in Singapore?  According to Goh, ‘Singapore men are stuffed in an economy pressure cooker accounting for their performance in every second, their hidden releases are their victorious secrets in wired world or no-frills hotels. The current state of male culture is intriguing to us and we aim to reflect this as truthfully as possible with a lot of laughter!’

The three actors in this piece, Prem, Wilson and Ryd also have their say.   According to Ryd, ‘the 3 characters in this play are storytellers. We are all neutral characters with no specific background or relationship to each other. We are merely men sharing penis-related stories, our experience of having that ‘tool’ and how we feel about it.’  He adds,’ A heck load of googling and youtubing is necessary to execute the stories in this play. There are parts where regular men do not engage themselves in that particular activity but we had fun learning the things we need to do to get the optimum result!’

On asked how he prepared for his part, Prem mentions ‘Preparation involved intense character work, hours and hour of meticulous research, prosthetics…no …wait…who am I kidding, three guys who love making people laugh, coming together with a very talented director and great script, to make magic happen’.  And will the audience in Singapore be able to relate to this play?  Wilson thinks so. ‘Definitely, the themes are universal, be it locals of both genders or audiences from any part of the world regardless of gender or sexual orientation, they would definitely be able to relate to it 100%!’

A word about the costumes, or rather, the sharp clothes that the actors will be sporting. The wardrobe is sponsored by Coupe Cousu, a brand made up of two young and talented Singaporean-based designers, Alex and Shangqian.  They will be collaborating with Toy Factory for the first time to create a sophisticated and minimalistic range for The Penis Society.

In keeping with this cheeky, irreverent production, The Penis Society will be performed not in a theatre, but at Aquanova at Clark Quay. So, you can relax, have a drink and enjoy the performance. If you want to experience something different and enjoy a healthy injection of humour at the same time, catch The Penis Society!

The Penis Society runs from the 10 to 29 September 2013 (No show on Monday and Friday, no show on 25 Sept, Wednesday) showing at 8.30pm, at Aqua Nova, Block C, #01-09, Clarke Quay, River Valley Road, Singapore 179022. Tickets are available from: SISTIC & EventCliQue, priced: $26 through ticketing agents.


Nithia is a freelance marketing communications professional, copywriter and editor. She is passionate about supporting the arts in Singapore and getting more people fired up about local productions and the arts scene. passions are cookery, cinema and travel.

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