SINGAPORE —Local playwright Michael Chiang’s 1989 play, Mixed Signals, has been adapted for television and the 13-part dramedy series will premiere on Channel 5 and Toggle next Tuesday (5 November).
Chiang is best known for his book Army Daze, which was adapted into a play and feature film. Mediacorp commissioned Mixed Signals as part of its “Lights. Camera. Singapore” initiative, which seeks to adapt local stage shows into TV series that will resonate with Singaporeans. An adaptation of Dick Lee’s musical Fried Rice Paradise aired in June, and there is another upcoming adaptation of Titoudao, an acclaimed play about Chinese opera.
Chiang was involved in writing the TV version of Mixed Signal, which was produced by Stardust Story. The scriptwriting team was headed by Jaya Rathakrishnan. Beatrice Chia is director and executive producer.
The series stars newcomer Kahoe and Vasantham star, Udaya Soundari, in the lead roles. The cast also includes Chua Enlai, Tan Kheng Hua, Siti K, Rosalind Pho, Shane Mardjuki, Audrey Luo and Thanuja Anantham.
Mixed Signals is about Victor, a nerdy young man who meets Vanda at a dating event and falls in love with her. She meets with an accident but is revived with changed looks and AI technology implanted in her brain, with no recollection of Victor, who begins a search to reunite with Vanda.
Chiang told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore about how the story was updated 30 years after the play was first staged. “The premise is the same: an old-fashioned, nerdy engineer meets an old-fashioned school teacher. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy spends the story looking for the girl. But I’ve expanded the stories and added new characters to make everything more current.”
Chia said of the TV series, “It’s a very modern take on Singaporeans, on dating, on love. The guiding theme of the show is that it is better to be somebody flawed and human than to be perfect and inhuman.”
Chua plays the eccentric scientist, Dr Arthur Loh, who operates on Vanda in a top-secret project in the Ministry of Social Technology. He said, “My character is obsessed with creating this technology that will change lives. But there are repercussions. He's so honest. He wants to fix things. But he doesn't realise the power that he has in his hands and how people can harness that and make the world not a very good place.”
Mixed Signals will be released on Toggle from 5 November 2019, as well as every Tuesday on Channel 5 starting 5 November 2019, 9.30pm.