by Samantha Lee & Zai Muhd
Last Saturday, 15th November 2014, we witnessed the birth of a musical genius. “Firefly in the Light”, the brainchild of local teenager – Shayna Toh, was played to a sold-out crowd at The Arts House. For many, it is hard to believe that at a tender age of 17, where most of us are busy juggling between school & life, young Shayna has already written her first musical.
The Singaporean teen has always been a fan of the theatre and started composing music since she was six. As for writing, it has been as long as she can remember. However, it was when she first watched “The Phantom of the Opera” seven years ago, that made her realised her true calling – musicals. Hence, a new pop musical was born out of her passion and hard work that she had put in for the past eight months.
“It’s not only about knowing what you want,” says Shayna, “but also who you want to be, amidst all the trials and tribulations of growing up.”
“Firefly in the Light” tells the story of Wendy (Rachel Tay), a talented teenage schoolgirl, and her childhood friend, Jake (Linden Furnell). We follow both characters as they embark on their journey in search of themselves, love and success.
The musical opened with a beautiful theme song (which was played again after intermission) that had every character singing in harmony of spoken words and rhyming verses. Also, picture Shayna and her band sharing the same chamber with the fellow performers. This arrangement remained throughout the musical, with one captivating piece after another.
Jake displayed strong vocal chords, which delighted many, with a couple solos to boot. The musical itself presented plot changes and character development. For instance, Wendy left her hometown to go to Los Angeles to find her father in search of fame and glory, but instead succeeded in vice and crime. Surprisingly, it was a role-reversal for Jake, who managed to establish himself.
Overall, the musical showed that you can chase your ambition but do remember that it won’t be so smooth sailing.