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The tale of the Devouring Rock

June 19 - August 31

Esplanade Website

A tale based on a Bangsawan (Malay opera/theatre) play, with activities for kids.

The popular folktale Batu Belah, Batu Bertangkup is about food as sustenance and joy, about shared meals and loved ones. Food, however, can also make us greedy and selfish and this story shows how one person’s greed for food creates a tragedy. It focuses on the importance of sharing our blessings and respecting our parents.

This is the fantastical story of Mak Minah who surrenders herself to a human-devouring rock after being bitterly irritated by her children’s ingratitude. She craves, often to the point of desperation, for the roe of the ikan tembakul (giant mudskipper). Her husband goes to the mangroves for the rare ikan tembakul, and dies in the swamps on a stormy night …

Read the story online, via Esplanade Offstage, to find out what happens.

The tale is beautifully illustrated by Nisha Menon and a link to a 1959 film in the Singapore Film Locations Archive provides a fascinating history – through pix, clips and text – of who made it, what it is about, the locations then – and now.

Children can then download the activity sheets and draw their own set piece and craft their own mudskipper.


June 19  
to August 31
Event Categories:


Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay