The number of neighbours gossiping was cut down to shorten the story and to make it more manageable. In their adaptation, they portrayed Mrs Koh as someone who is critical of everyone and everything except herself, someone who is self-centred. Ruth Yee, who wonderfully portrayed Mrs. Koh (holding fan), used to live in Penang, where “Neighbours” is set, prior to moving to PJ.
- Ruth Yee as Mrs Koh
- Mandy Chan as Mr Koh
- Izzaty Wahab as Dr Nathan
- Helinna Abd Rahim as Ms Chee
- Nurul Shuhadah as Ramly
I was relieved to hear that it was a success. Mrs. Koh’s reputation (i.e, Are You Mrs. Koh?)was riding on it. This is not the first time that students have turned Mrs. Koh’s character into a play. Students from another school in the KL area, also studying “Neighbours” took my ten minute play “Back From Heaven” and entered their performance into a school competition a couple of years back and did quite well. I had adapted “Back From Heaven” from my play “One Drink Too Many” adapted from “Neighbours” whereby I turned a tragedy into a comedy.
"One Drink Too Many" has been play read twice by Penang Players and had some interest in both Penang and Kuching. Maybe someday it will finally get produced, or maybe even the short story, "The Merdeka Miracle" that I wrote with Lydia Teh and Tunku Halim for Malaysia Airlines. The story has a nice “1Malaysia” theme plus a Merdeka tie-in. It would also make a good story for SPM Literature. Unfortunately, there is no Mrs. Koh character in that story! But Mrs. Koh will soon be speaking French!
Speaking of exams, here's a rather involved e-course assignment for "Neighbours". Not for the fainthearted!
*Ohio University is adapting another story from Lovers and Strangers Revisited, "Home for Hari Raya" into screenplay and film!
*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited
**Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited Trois autres Malaisie.