Dear Straight People,
For My Highness – Sex, Drugs & A Mother’s Prayer is a bold new play by Singapore’s leading bilingual theatre company, Toy Factory Productions.
For My Highness follows its Malay protagonist Zaki (played by Zulfiqar Izzudin), whose struggle with drug addiction brings him and the audience on a sexy psychedelic trip that examines the dangers of drug abuse. Apart from illuminating the prevalent issue of chemsex within the gay community, For My Highness hopes to foster greater empathy for those who are directly or indirectly affected by substance abuse.
Helming this provocative production is director Adeeb Fazah, whose impressive resume includes being the Artistic Director of The Second Breakfast Company and a co-organiser of the STRIKE! Theatre Festival. A mentee under acclaimed director Goh Boon Teck, Adeeb’s portfolio includes Family (2016), Performing Malay Sketches (2019), The Singapore Trilogy (2021) and The Essential Playlist (2022).
We caught up with Adeeb to find out more about his experience directing For My Highness, and learn what audiences can expect from Toy Factory’s upcoming production.
1. What drew you to taking on the director role for For My Highness?
“As part of DIRECT ENTRY, I would be able to direct a play of my choice. After looking at several options, my mentor Chief Artistic Director, Goh Boon Teck and the playwright Shaleihin Pi’ee had suggested a new play based on an idea that they had discussed.
We talked a bit more about the premise of the play and Shaleihin got to work writing the play and that is how I came to direct it. During the discussions, I was really intrigued by the main character’s struggle with the relationships he has with his mother and with his faith. This was a very relatable part of the story that made me feel for the character and was an entry point into his journey with addiction.”Adeeb
2. What is your biggest challenge in directing For My Highness?
“The story is rich in detail of a scene that I am very unfamiliar with, so I had a lot of questions that needed answering before I dive into the work.
I had a lot of research to do on these matters, including on the nature of the saunas that feature in the play, and of drug use. This research included exchanges with the playwright, with friends, reading articles on the internet, watching documentaries and movies and so on.“Adeeb
3. I heard that there is an orgy scene in For My Highness. Could you shed some light on how one directs an orgy scene on a stage?
“A lot of care and planning goes into any scene involving any form of intimacy between characters. Again, I had to do some reading up on intimacy work for the stage, and then schedule in rehearsal time for the choreography work. This session involved exercises in consent and trust building, moving to the script to identify moments of physical contact and intimacy, and then subsequently leading up to the actual choreography work where we break down the actors’ movements into steps, much like a dance choreography.
This whole process ensures the modesty of the actors in a professional setting where one feels comfortable, safe and in control. It’s definitely been one of the challenges in the rehearsal process of this play, but the team and I really learnt a lot from it.”Adeeb
4. What do you hope people take away from watching For My Highness?
“I think the biggest takeaway for me is the difficulties in the process of getting off drugs. The struggle of addiction and relapsing depicted in the play really highlights the way that drug addiction is not a straightforward situation where one goes to rehab to get help, gets rehabilitated, the end. Far from it, the process is tricky, it is trying and it is full of challenges.
I hope people who come to see the show will be able to see this and also find a way to empathise with people who are struggling, who are trying or who are doing what they can.”Adeeb
For My Highness is set to hit the stage from 25 to 27 November. Tickets are limited so grab them before they sell out!
Here are some resources for people struggling with substance abuse and addiction:
- The Greenhouse: Substance addiction recovery centre for marginalised communities
- WE CARE: Community-based addiction recovery centre
Dear Straight People is proud to be the Official Media Partner of Toy Factory Productions.