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Brave Maeve: A Must-Watch Musical of Hope, Love & Faith

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Brave Maeve – The INSPIRING MUSICAL event of the year.

In case you still haven’t heard of who ‘Brave Maeve’ is, and what ‘Brave Maeve: The Musical’ is about, let me tell you that you JUST MUST find out more about this little girl and her family’s journey in overcoming cancer.

Maeve is a little girl who at 3 was diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer. But by God’s loving kindness and grace, He sustained her and her family through the arduous battle to lead them into victory.

Now 7, Maeve is a healthy and happy girl whose is really very amazing. I know, because my eldest son and her were in the same school last year, and that was how I got to know Joanne too.

Maeve at the Brave Maeve Rehearsals

Joanne, a very brave and talented mother, wrote a story to help her then cancer-stricken daughter, Maeve, make sense of all the various medical procedures she had to endure. That story has since been published under the title, Brave Maeve. This book has in turned inspired the production of the musical. It first ran last December in the auditorium of a small church along East Coast Road.

Coming up this Children’s Day weekend, from October 4 to 5, the musical will hit a bigger stage!
In this post, I’ve invited Joanne, mummy of Maeve, to share a little about how she came to write the book and produce the musical.

5-minutes with Joanne, Mummy of Maeve
Writer of Brave Maeve, the book
 Producer of Brave Maeve: The Musical

1. Can you tell our readers a little your book, Brave Maeve?

Brave Maeve is about a little girl who gets a pain in her tummy, goes to hospital and finds out that she’s got a poisonous stone (cancer) in her that she needs to remove and later, fight with, with the help of her brave soldiers (chemotherapy). The exciting battle causes some unusual things to happen (weird tasting food, hair fall, diarhhoea) and she finally wins the battle!
2. How did this story come to you?
Through sheer desperation! I needed some way to explain to a 3-year-old the journey she would be going through when she started cancer treatment. a 3-year-old doesn’t understand chemotherapy and probably will not cooperate and put up with the painful medical procedures, but if she thinks she’s going on an adventure and that she needs to be brave and heroic even when things get painful, she just might! So really, this story was written one night after a whole round of scans, blood work, needle pricks, surgery and just before chemo started. I wrote it, leaving gaps between lines, for Maeve to illustrate, which she really enjoyed!
3. Is this the very same story you told your Maeve as your family battled cancer?
Yes. This story was for an audience of one! And my 3-year-old bought it, hook, line and sinker! Partly because of this story, she was able to withstand many of the side effects that came with chemo, as the book gives a, well, 3 year old-logic explanation for everything! For example, the diarhhoea which is one of the horrible side effects of chemo is explained as the need to “poo out the posionous stones” after they’ve been killed by the good soldiers. This way, whenever she had diarhhoea, she never complained, as she thought it was “good riddance”! and that she was doing her part to get rid of those nasty guys!
 4. I understand that there are also two separate, and also quite amazing stories, about how this tale became a picture book and how it went fom page to stage. Can you share more?
I went to VJC to do a talk on cancer to a big group of JC students, and to end off that talk, I read this story to them. They encouraged me to get it published and I was very moved that they thought it was good enough to be published!
Honestly, I had no intention to do so, as it was just a story for my little girl, but I prayed and told God that if He wanted this story out there, He must send me an illustrator AND a publisher without me knocking on doors. This happened!
My wonderful illustrator, Liew Hooi Yin, is a first time illustrator who is actually a doctor, and she called me and asked if she could illustrate my book, to my shock as you can imagine! She heard about this little story I wrote from someone else.
My publisher, Goh Eck Kheng, of Landmark Books and I met through a mutual friend and he took up with project, pro bono, and is dreaming bigger dreams than me for this book!
As for the musical Brave Maeve battles the poisonous stone, staged in December last year, it was written and directed by an ex theatre student of mine, Dwayne Lau, who journeyed with my family through our toughest moments and was there to entertain and indulge my sick little girl in hospital. Everyone needs a story of hope, of courage, of a community coming together in crisis, and our story, was that.
MY MINI-REVIEW OF THE BRAVE MAEVE MUSICAL

I watched the first run of Brave Maeve last Christmas. I am told that there have been some changes to improve on the musical.
I don’t know how much better it can get, but I believe that you will NOT REGRET watching it with your loved ones.
Brave Maeve was, and still remains, one of the best local productions I’ve seen in a long time. And those of you who know me, I wouldn’t lavish praise so easily and freely on theatrical productions.

Putting aside the fact that the storyline make for a compelling one by virtue of it being a true life story, Brave Maeve does have very strong scriptwriting and creative execution. Director and Scriptwriter Dwayne, though young and not a parent himself, has shown a great sensitivity to the emotional and spiritual nuances  of the heartwrenching journey parents go through when their precious children suffer. I personally thought the use of puppetry was very clever. I won’t tell you much more because you MUST GO WATCH it for yourself.

It’s NOT an exaggeration when I say there was not a dry eye in the theatre a mere 10 minutes into the show. I couldn’t help sniffling through the entire time. I told Joanne and Dwayne after the production that they should get a tissue paper sponsor. Well, you’ve been duly warned. Be sure to bring your own tissues.

 

TO GET THE BOOK

The book is available at the musical for a minimum donation of $15 that will go into reprinting more books and funding of printing in other languages. There will also be the Brave Maeve ebook launched at the Musical!

Joanne’s dream is that this book, Brave Maeve, will be made available to all pediatric oncology wards around the world.

“My dream is for every single child battling cancer, to have access to Brave Maeve, so that they can be empowered to battle this disease, to be the brave princess or prince, taking charge of their chemo  troops!”
So if you live outside Singapore, and would like a copy, just email bravemaevesingapore@gmail.com.
Kindhearted volunteers have also translated the story into various languages.
These are available for download from Brave Maeve Singapore Facebook Page.

 

TO BUY TICKETS FOR THE MUSICAL

Limited tickets are still available for Friday night.
To purchase tickets, you can email BraveMaeveMusical@gmail. Or check out the poster I’ve put up at the start of this post for details.

The Making of Brave Maeve: Some Sneaks
Photos courtesy of Brave Maeve Singapore

Brave Maeve’s amazing production team (from left to right): Super solid fundraising team Choon Ling & Charles, wonderful Producer Joanne & talented Director Dwayne

 

Some Props Made By Xin Min Secondary Students

Rehearsing Hard : The Little Heroine Herself, Maeve, & The Other Cast Members

As you can guess, I think Maeve and her family are really inspirational.

In this next post, Living With Children & Cancer, Joanne shares how the battle with cancer has changed her as a parent. She also offers some encouragement for parents whose children are battling with cancer.
If you know someone whose child is battling with cancer or other critical illness, Joanne also has tips for how you can support that family. 

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