看。剧场:《暴雨将至-傻姑娘与怪老树》

(郭宝崑节2012)

实践剧场 The Theatre Practice (新加坡 / Singapore)
第278部作品

新加坡艺术学院 (SOTA)
Studio Theatre

2012年9月9日 (星期天) 下午3点

內容详情

希望能看见彩虹

所谓“久病无孝子”。道德伦理谁不会讲?各中滋味恐怕只有当局者才能够体会得到吧!

如果你不是当局者,这出戏能带你去感受这一番煎熬。

开场,就看见一排人在长桌边用餐,大哥(傅正龙),二姐(董资彦)与丈夫(何子祥)和三弟(刘晓义)与妻子(染晓端)。话不投机。

另一场,是三弟的女儿(洪小婷)对爷爷(詹暉朕)的回忆,那是爷爷还健壮时,在教小婷骑单车的情景。老的讲方言,少的用英语回答。爷爷听不懂也微笑对着小婷点点头,是个可蔼可亲的长者。

这戏里的傻姑娘是小婷,怪老树是爷爷。当爷爷老了,身体逐渐衰退,精神不在灵活的时候,就像一棵怪老树一样。家里的个个成员都因为要付起照顾他的责任与开销,精疲力尽得吃不消,所有的爱和耐心都一点一滴地消耗掉了。小婷“傻”就傻在,她不明白为什么这个家会这么冷漠,大人们对待爷爷的方式为什么会这样;她冷眼地看着。

戏的前半段都不安照次序排烈,好像一部跳乱播放的家庭伦理剧般;还有,有时他们不用对白,只用肢体语言去表达内心的苦闷。有时也带你到戏外,看四个好像豪不相干的老人在讨论这一家人的事。听着他们四种“很新加坡”的不同口音与语言,还蛮有趣了!

我看着看着时,突然觉得故事好像被卡住似的,不知方向在哪?也担心它有沒有所谓的高潮?

还好下一场戏过后,有意想不到的“惊喜”。

好心酸的一幕,小婷一家人像平常一样在长桌边吃饭。小婷这回有在场,爷爷刚出院呆滞地坐在轮椅上,不言不语;二姐喂他吃饭。大人们在讨论爷爷的医药开销,过不久便吵了起来,互相埋怨彼此没有亲自去照顾好父亲,因为面子问题也不肯送他去老人院。

我想爷爷不是真痴呆,儿女们的话他在旁都有听进去,如果可以他也不想成为他们的负担;他一口饭也吃不下,总是低着头。只有俊姑娘喂他吃芒果时,才再一次看到他笑了,只对傻姑娘笑了!这一笑虽然短暂,但我的眼角已经湿了。

可能每个人都被关进这透明的牢狱里,想走也走不出去。每个人都有自己的包袱与说不出的苦衷。

这个戏的原著是郭宝崑前辈二十多年前写的,现在经过由来自台湾的符宏征执导与首次改编,有不一样的震撼。我很“享受”整体的视觉效果和刺激感官的演艺手法。舞台设计也別出心裁。

演员们的表现都很出色,不知是否与历练有关,“大人们”的演技很明显比小姑娘来得更加有深度,不只是停留在表面上的呐喊与哀叫声中,眼神的目光也不只是反白眼而已。不过,傻姑娘的角色非常有难度,小婷能有这样的表现已经值得被鼓舞了!确实不容易,再接再厉!

我好喜欢听资彦(Joanna)唱歌,很高兴她有一小段单唱。也好开心这部戏能把“消失”的语言-方言,找回来!可能我是福建人的关系,每回听到福建歌都有一种莫名的亲切感。最喜欢里面的合唱曲,台湾民谣《望春风》,再配上剧情,意思深远。小妹妹唱的《天黑黑》也让我怀念,这是我儿时常常听到和唱过的歌,我阿公时常唱的。我虽然不是属于《小李飞刀》的年代,但对这首歌決不陌生。好怀旧哦!

看完这场剧后,我的关心已不再停留在这家人身上而已。我在想,社会不断进步,科技不断发达,我们的人文意识与道德价值观有跟着提升吗?

傻姑娘如果没有想这么多,可能就不会崩溃。如果什么都不去想,会不会就这样懵懵懂懂地过一辈子呢?

傻姑娘如果最后没“疯”,长大后会不会就和“大人们”一样呢?

谁才是“疯子”?我们现在的社会“正常”吗?

—个人的力量能敌挡得住一直推倒自己的群众狂风暴雨吗?

暴雨过后,能看见彩虹吗?

 (这部剧将演至9月16曰 -这个星期天,售票详情请勿错过!)

Theatre Review (Special Edition): “Dear Nobody”

By buds theatre company (Singapore)

 

GOODMAN ARTS CENTRE, BLACK BOX

7th September 2012 (Friday), 8pm

Duration: 95-minute without intermission

 Details of the Play.

To Dear ‘nobody’,

 Thank you for your feedback for my previous preview + review on “Dear Nobody”, to express my appreciation, I decide to rewrite my review and dedicate it especially for you. 😉

 I had never watched any production by Buds Theatre Company before, from what I knew, it was established since 2007 with the goal of providing a professional platform for Buds Youth Theatre members (aged from 14 to 24) who will receive free drama training from the company.

The sources which they picked up for this play, ‘Dear Nobody’, is far from nobody as it was adapted from a awards-winning novel of the same name, written by Berlie Doherty (published in 1991), a story about a teenage girl who got herself pregnant with her schoolmate boyfriend and how this had affected their family members. During the period of her pregnancy, the girl wrote a day-by-day letters to her unborn child, who she addressed as ‘Nobody’.

The novel had been translated into many languages around the world and into several different media such as theatre, radio, television, as well as play scripts for schools, with well-received praises.

The stage version won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award in 1992.

I was very thrilled and wondered how Buds would interpret it.

Directed by Claire Devine and produced by Rebecca Lee, both are seasonal players in the theatre field. The team felt the need to change the language, context and some of the characters from the original novel in order to suit our Singapore’s environment better, so that we could identify with the play better.

I agree with this idea perfectly, as we must go with time to bring the best effect to our audience.

At one glance, the set reminded me of my adolescence years, full of youthfulness, lining with balloons and a few movable blocks with coating of sprays placed in the middle of the stage, where the performers sat or stood on them.

The teenage couple were acted by Fervyn Tan as Alyssa and Stanley Seah as Dan.

Fervyn and Stanley were teased by their friends in the audience seats whenever they had intimate scenes which I didn’t know if that had affected them, I just didn’t feel enough chemistry between them. Sometimes they seemed quite awkward and a bit unnatural, in other scenes as well.

Their solo scenes were much better. Fervyn’s acting was stronger than Dan, she had expressed her fear of what if she might be pregnant and after that how did she cope with all the high and low with earnest portray on her face. Dan, on the hand, I found him sometimes appeared to be too “cool”, for example, he did not seem too surprised or shocking to me when Alyssa broke the news of her pregnancy to him!

In my opinion, Sahirrah Safit who acted as Alyssa’s mum had the best acting among all, I could feel with her in her monologues – her pain after she found out that her teenage daughter was pregnant, her concern for her daughter’s future, etc.

But same problem came in again, when there was a ‘duet’.

Some scene when climax occurred, for example when Alyssa’s mum found out her daughter’s pregnancy, I could not feel much rapport between them. Alyssa’s mum, like Dan, didn’t seem shock to me as well. Is that something very common nowadays?

Another climax was when Alyssa finally found out that why her mother wanted so eagerly to urge her for abortion, was because her mother had suffered badly in her childhood as an illegitimate child in the older period, therefore she didn’t want to see her daughter and her child to go through that kind of pain even in our modern time!

What a great opportunity to bring the audience’s emotional arose again, but I was afraid this scene was swept off very quickly, without leaving us with effect to empathy much for the characters.

Not that the acting from all were not good, I could see Marc Valentine was funny and Kelvin’s effeminate shop assistant’s role was adorable. But when they were put together, their link with one another was not solid enough.

In fact, in the end of the day, ‘Nobody’ seemed to be ‘Nowhere’ too. After a while, the readings to ‘Nobody‘ seemed more like a passer-by that had to go with the title,  nobody seemed to care much for ‘Nobody‘.

My impression for the whole play was every scene seem to be in a rush, too much walking in and out from stage! The storyline was good, with few f twists and turns, but if crucial scenes could be slow down a little, to enable us to feel the impact a little bit more. And when deal with serious issues please emphasis a little so that we would also take the matter not like a child’s play, after all the problem of teenage premarital sex is still a serious one  in our current society.

Although having said so far, I still glad to see Buds bringing ‘Dear Nobody’ on stage. It is always a joy to see the birth of new works in theatre. As parenting is a never-ending journey, I’m hoping to see the young ones under the nurture of Buds to keep growing; maturing and standing strong to be on your own one day!

Best wishes to all of you in becoming Somebody some day! (^-<)V

Theatre Preview & Review: “Dear Nobody”

By buds theatre company (Singapore)

 

GOODMAN ARTS CENTRE, BLACK BOX

7th September 2012 (Friday), 8pm

Duration: 95-minute without intermission

Details of the Play.

Excited About Somebody

Though cannot be compared how it was like for a mother to meet her baby for the first time, I had never watched any production by Buds Theatre Company before, despite hearing about them for a while.

Buds Theatre Company was established since 2007 with the goal of providing a professional platform for Buds Youth Theatre members (aged from 14 to 24) who will receive free drama training from the company.

The sources which they picked up for this play, ‘Dear Nobody’, is far from nobody as it was adapted from a novel of the same name, written by Berlie Doherty (published in 1991), who had won Carnegie Medal for British children’s books in 1992 and Japanese Sankei Children’s Book Award in 1994 for this book. It had also made shortlisted for several Book Awards, translated into many languages around the world and into several different media such as theatre, radio, television, as well as play scripts for schools, with well-received praises.

The stage version won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award in 1992.

Curious? What is the story about? You may ask.

Well, it is a rather simple one that may also sound cliché to you but I heard it was the twists and turns of how the story was told, and the skilful portray of each character that had earned the credits. It is about a pair of teenage lovers, who were still pursuing their studies, from the consequences of their young uncontrolled passion, the boy had gotten the girl pregnant! The girl for the sake of the boy’s future, decided to bear all these by herself, broke off with him against his willingness nor told him about the child. Not able to share this secret with anyone, she felt totally isolated and helpless. The only comfort she could find was to write letters to her unborn child during her nine months pregnancy, who she addressed as ‘Nobody’.

Doherty described her book as being essentially about love: “It is about two young people who love each other, but it’s also about family love, the ways in which love can go wrong, how sometimes it makes us do things that aren’t sensible or that hurt people, how sometimes it turns to hate and drives people and families apart”.

With such a strong background like this, accompanied by an engaging storyline with meaningful messages, I could not help but felt very thrilled to see our Singapore’s version of ‘Dear Nobody’. I was wondering how Buds would interpret it.

Directed by Claire Devine and produced by Rebecca Lee, both are seasonal players in the theatre field.

This play will be staging till this Sunday, 9th September at Goodman Arts Centre, Black Box. Ticket at $30 (standard) and $20 (students, senior citizen & NSF).

To purchase tickets, please log on to http://www.apesnap.com/event/dearnobody

For students groups of 15 or more, tickets are available at $15.00.
Please contact info@budstheatre.com or call 6468 9851 for more details

The production is open to all ages, with advisory for those under 16.

No harm watching it to find out for yourself.

*Beware! Spoiler below*

** I would suggest that you may like to continue reading only after you have caught the play to see how much you might agree with me! (^-<)V

Hoping To See You Grow, Darling.

From the director’s message in the programme, Claire had shared that her team through discussion had felt the need to change the language, context and some of the characters from the original novel in order to suit our Singapore’s environment and our current period better, so we could identify it easier.

I agree with this idea perfectly, as we must go with time to bring the best effect to our audience.

At one glance, the set had the theme of abundant hopes and dreams, like in our adolescence years, lining with balloons in two colours (a good choice as too many colours might cause unnecessary distraction), reminded me of those party days, movable blocks with coating of sprays served in multiple use, they were placed in front of the balloons before us, for the performers to stand or sit on them.

It was the end of a school term, so the first scene started ‘conveniently’ when a group of youngsters threw a party for celebration.

Bell rang. School term started again.

It was the second year of Junior College for Alyssa (by Fervyn Tan) and Dan (by Stanley Seah) – the two main characters, and with all their schoolmates, spending their free time chatting, teasing one another, singing songs along with instruments (spotted their multi-tatents 😉 .

‘Tin Tong’! Door bell rang, It was at the home scene, while the two teenage lovers shared their private time together when Alyssa’s parents were not home.

Next scene, at the mountain, you could tell it by the crickets’ crackling in the background.

I was pretty fancy by how I could know where the scene was taken place by the first sound it hinted before the next change of scene.  Nice sounding, Sangeetha Drai!

The shift of moving lights, going bright and dim, left or right – with expressions, had displayed the mood of the character like a talking soul which added another layer of acting. Moving indeed, Petrina Dawn Tan!

The cast, except for Fervyn and Stanley, the rest of the five members were acting more than one character.

Pleasing performances from the ‘couple’ individually but not together, Fervyn shined more light with her variation of acting while Stanley managed his role fairly, not only they were unprepared parents in the play, but also unprepared lovers to me who needed more chemistry to work thing out – in togetherness.

Sahirrah Safit who acted as Alyssa’s mum and Dan’s ‘affair’, was the most impressive performer among all, it is with no surprise after you had found out her list of experiences in the booklet.  She had carried her characters like a breeze, almost effortlessly; you could feel with her – her pain, her struggles in her monologues.

It was always delighted to see Kelvin John Lim on stage, you could already see the inborn artist in him with the gift of his speaking eyes, I could imagine how Ivan Heng in his rookie years and our new star Shane Mardjuki may look like when Kelvin was in his effeminate shop assistant’s persona. The giggles from the audience seats had proved his fruitful attempt. His portrayal of Dan’s television addict dad was adorable but if he could lower his volume of shouting in one particular scene would be better, as the little black box might not be suitable to be overheated. His third character as Papa (Alyssa’s grandfather) was average, due to the capacity of the role.

Marc Valentine who was Pa (Alyssa’s dad), Eric and Aaron is a born-to-be comedian as it was so nature for him to draw laughter from us. While Marvelina Setiawan as Mama (Alyssa’s grandma), June (Dan’s mother) and Doctor, and Aisha Shaik as Alyssa’s friend, Sam and Nurse were satisfying.

Though I very much wanted to see the changes from original for the better, it had proved me otherwise. The decision to have Alyssa’s breaking the news of her pregnancy to Dan in the middle of her expectancy before their breakup instead of after their breakup in the novel, had diluted the impact. I prefer the novel version whereby the female lead decided to break her silence, by sending all the letters to him, that she had written for their child ‘Nobody’ for the past nine months, just before her delivery. It was one of the greatest climaxes in this awards-winning story.

Moreover, if you want to compare receiving a day-by-day letters which had written for a period of nine months (in the novel) to only one letter (by Dan to Alyssa in this play), which one would you feel more impacted?

In fact, there were many high points in the novel which this play had chosen, but a pity that they were not fully expanded yet.  There were many ‘breaking’ news moments, but were swept by in a rush without leaving us much to feel for the characters nor the situations they were in. It may result of us not having much empathy for them or taking the situations seriously.

Not only the pace of the play must be spaced out, the walking in and out from scene to scene might be good to modify. Instead of causing tension in the play, some scene had created unwanted laughs, for examples, the actor said something then light off, out of the sudden walked out; on the other side another person came in quickly. Or someone fainted then light turned dim, the person could even ‘walk’ away ‘immediately’ after that (right before our vision).

As the play was about relationships – boy and girl, mother and daughter, mother and son, father and son, friends, etc…, about connection with one another, about how one relationship can affect another relationship. I would like to see more emphasis on that.

The problem of teenagers having premarital sex is still very relevant in our current society, I was hoping that this play could bring this awareness to the mass. Though not in a preaching form, if could allow the youngsters and their parents to feel a little bit more, to imagine how it would be like if this situation happened to them (in order for them to prevent certain thing or handle certain matter better), to enable them to hear from both sides, then this play had been a success!

It was good that this play had updated their form of communication to whatsapp, messaging text, email and blog but the effective connection between each member was still essential. Overall, every member in this play had played their part well enough, but as a whole I felt the rapport was lacking. Maybe the team can consider to have more ‘makan’ –feasting sessions together at 51 Old Airport Road Food Centre nearby more often! 😉

It was a good effort for Buds to bring ‘Dear Nobody’ on stage; it is always a joy to see the birth of new works in theatre. As parenting is a never-ending journey, I wish to see the young ones under the nurture of Buds to keep growing; maturing and standing strong on their own one day!

 

Comedy Review: “THE HOSSAN LEONG SHOW – Flying Solo!”

By Dream Academy (Singapore)

Directed by George Chan

Drama Centre Theatre

31st August 2012 (Friday) 8pm

(Running from 30th August to 16th September)

Laughing Away…

This is Hossan Leong’s 4th  HOSSAN LEONG SHOW, but it was my first time catching it!

Never been watching so many comedies in a year, a friend was rather surprised to find out that I went for “Happy Ever Laughter” few months ago as I “don’t seem” like a person who would watch comedy. He was quite right, because I used to watch more “Art house” films and more “abstract” theatre performances in the past, must act as if I know what I was watching mah, then I can call myself ‘UNIQUE” lor!

Hey! That’s very Singaporean, you know? Must be “Uniquely” Singaporean mah! Plus you know hor, life in SINGAPORE is very STRESSFUL, so comedy is the best for us lah!!

And who can tell us the best Singapore jokes, of course, our ‘Singapore Boy’ – Hossan Leong lor! And this time instead of asking Siti Khalijah or Judee Tan to join him, Hossan will be covering the whole show by himself! That’s why it’s called ‘Flying Solo’ mah, tell you beforehand already what! This can also show that HOSSAN LEONG SHOW has ‘grown’ up and Hossan has ‘matured’ to be in the lead role to hold the crowd of thousands by himself! Not easy, many years of hard work does pay!

Being a true-bred Singaporean himself, Hossan knows best how we are like. As the theme of this show is about travelling, Hossan was bringing us with him all around the world, from the plane to the hotel, from the horrible passengers we might met to our stereotyping behaviours in other countries.

He was also being our new reporter whose mission was to widen our lung by laughing a lot, oops no, is to widen our horizon (to be ‘political correct’), by bringing us very current news that happened in Singapore in the recent months (thanks to the resourceful writers –Benjamin ‘Miyagi’ Lee, Jasmine Teo and Hirzi Zulkifile for killing many brain cells in producing the scripts), from the shocking scandals to the high class ‘Diner en Blanc’ event, and the overly mentioned of Trainstopping, which Hossan still managed to broaden our cheeks with giggles in a fresh way. He would also reveal why our National Day Parade was the highest viewers rate this year!

One thing nice about Singaporeans is we know how to laugh at ourselves, sure Hossan was not going to miss that chance by doing so. Indeed, plenty to be laugh about, one thing for sure, our creativity is often challenging, just by naming everything “on the Bay” you know it.

While what you heard might not be new to you, especially in the hype-active social media world we are living. But Hossan knew how to make you laugh heartedly because you really have to see him act out for you in Live!

The cross-dressing of ‘Monica-chng’ (means touch your buttock “摸妳 ka chng” in Hokkien) from Malaysia with her strong Malaysian accent was a success to me, she was the boss of 48’d Spa who dressed in a rather old fashioned way like ‘Ah Lian’ and also acted like one while another creation of Alien in his green suit who was mechanical in reaction because it was not human being, this character might need come time to warm-up as I could see the rapport was not too warm with the audience.

It was absolutely amazing to see how many personas Hossan could put on in every change, while I was so convinced by each role he was in.

I was even more impressed by how quick and accurate he could speak in different accents, and that not all, he can dance, sing and play piano! Wow! He has multi-talents!

I was captivated from the opening, when Hossan sang and danced with the four dancers, Shima Shariff (Choreographer), Bibiana Sherraine Tan, Mina Ellen Kaye and Zarinah Bahtiar (you ladies were wonderful!) As I’m a person who enjoy watching dance, so every short dances in the show were a bonus to me. But the best dance in the show will go to Hossan, for his pole dancing. That’s really ‘breathtaking’ whenever the level got demanding but he had done it almost like a professional pole dancer! Great effort!

And what thrilled me the most was the classic white grand piano (Boston designed by Steinway & Sons – a portion from the sale of this piano on stage will be donated to The Emma Yong Fund) placed gracefully beautiful in the middle of the stage, while Hossan played on it with its crystal clear tune and he had excited me with his combination of songs with some dance moves which he dedicated them to Shirley. It had proved to me once again that Hossan is indeed a very versatile performer!

The show was filled with entertainment and hilarious moments, I had been laughing away the whole night though not all jokes worked, a few hit and miss. But what I could really see was a very diligent and enthusiastic comedian who had given all his best to make us laugh and in fact he had made it most of the time. For all the tremendous labours he had pumped in, it is very honourable in the name of an artist! And for that, we should be proud to have Hossan Leong as our local acclaimed artist!

Hossan, you will not be flying solo, as I believe for all the nights, all your passengers will be laughing away with you!

P.S: So don’t miss your flight, this show will be flying till 16 September. (Details) Catch the plane now!

Musical Review: “DAY I MET THE PRINCE”

School of The Arts (SOTA)

Studio Theatre

30th August 2012 (Thursday) 8pm

The Theatre Practice (Singapore)

277th Production

Part of Kuo Pao Festival 2012

 

Playwright: Kuo Pao Kun

Directed by Kuo Jian Hong

Details of the play.

Never Want To Forget

This year is the year that I catch the most theatre performances, used to watch movies and television dramas a lot, but not after experiencing how spontaneous and real theatre is to me, the instant responses from the audience and the interaction with the artistes, is intimate and ‘No Take 2’ as you can never replay the same live performance exactly the same from each time.

That why I’m deeply in love with theatre now.

From all the productions which I had watched so far (just mentioned those in 2012), from overseas productions such as ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘Annie’ to our local ones, this musical ‘Day I Met The Prince’ is the best that I had watched this year till now! This play is the most touching, most enlightening one to me and I was the happiest after watching it!

You never know how a play can change one’s life, this one had – for me.

It was written by our respectable local playwright-director, Kuo Pao Kun (founder of The Theatre Practice) who had passed on 10 years ago, this play was part of his festival in remembrance of him, directed by his daughter, Kuo Jian Hong.

This production is a simple one in a room of about 200 audiences, with only three performers and very few props like a drawing stand, two ladders and a moving backdrop. Their costumes reminded me of one of my favourite childhood games on acting, how I took whatever I had at home to dress myself up, extremely low budget you can say, but full of childlikeness with unlimited creativity as only you will understand but others (especially the ‘adults’! XP) need more ‘imagination’ to ‘guess’ what role you were in. That’s the whole fun of it!

The story was about the day when “I” met the little Prince (from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s famous novel), together they started their journey in looking for a solution to help Little Prince to protect his rose from being eaten up by his goat but cannot fence or lock them up, because like that both will lose its freedom. As they went on, they came across the arrogant Geographer, the materialist Magic Pill Seller, the very old Granny and the wise Fox.

I like the scene when they met the Magic Pill Seller and the Old Granny the best, the pill seller had invented a kind of pill which can help human beings from having to drink water for a week, in order to save up a lot of ‘unnecessary’ time but on the other hand, the old granny would be fetching a little pail of water from a far distance everyday for her husband, was laughed by the pill seller mercilessly of her ‘stupidity’.

When ‘I’ told granny that her water was tasteless, her reply was “If you fetch the water yourself, you will be able to ‘taste’ it”, how thought-provoking! Indeed, just like if you have never put in hard work on something, you will never able to ‘taste’ how sweet the fruit of labour can bring to you.

Many meaningful metaphors like this were found in this play, which I believe different people would find different part more meaningful to them.

This fable had reminded us not to forget ourselves, nor to follow blindly by the mass and rotate by the fast pace world. We should be the master of our lives, and the advancement of technology should be helping us, not trapping us to be their slaves by being addictive to them instead. The power is in our hands! We must have the courage to be who we are, and not be affected by how others look at us in doing things that only to please them.

Hung Chit Wah, Lv Lin Xuan and Catherine Wong had given their marvellous fun-loving performances to us and they were very good in building rapport with the audience too. Their acting can be gone further to be more loosen-up though I enjoyed seeing them in different roles, impressive! The character that I loved most was the fox, because not easy to act a non-human role, and Catherine had portrayed it very well by her physical movements of the animal.

The three youngster have great potential, though I feel that they must bush up in their singing more (sometimes not able to hear what they sang very clearly and I was seated at the third row), especially Catherine, who also has to work a bit harder in her Chinese pronunciation.

As in every musical, songs and lyrics are the most crucial, Composer Mark Chan and Julian Wong, with lyricist Xiaohan (some lyrics were taken from the original play) had left me satisfying pieces. You know, even after the play, when I ‘read’ the lyric, I could remember that particular melody and that particular scene again. This is what we called a remarkable teamwork! These three roles are all very important and inseparable!

This play has taught me never judge a book by its cover, and never underestimate a good play by how much it has been spent on the production or how prestige the company is. It is about how it has touched our hearts and brings positive energy to us.

After the show, I felt rejuvenated, having the extra courage in venturing ahead what I want to pursue despite the possibility that I  might tease by some of my ‘unrealistic’.

But everyone has their own star as this play had shared in the closing, we are all different individually. Life is short and we can only live once. Why not going after what our passions lie? And having a life that we will never regret?

“Better to have a worthy failure than a mediocre success” said Kuo Pao Kun before.

“宁可选择一个有价值的失败,而不是平庸的成功。” –郭宝崑

No matter is from this play or in tribute of our beloved theatre veteran, Mr Kuo’s indomitable spirit in the pursue of his dreams and his contributions in our local theatre history, and all he had inherited to us in the present.

I will never want to forget.     

看。音乐剧:《我要上天的那一晚》Day I Met The Prince

郭宝崑节(Part of Kuo Pao Kun Festival)
实践剧场 The Theatre Practice (新加坡 / Singapore)
第277部作品
导演/Directed by: 郭践红(Kuo Jian Hong)

新加坡艺术学院 (School of The Arts)

Studio Theatre

8月30日 (星期四) 晚上8点

简单。最美

兴奋。因为这是我第一次走进新加坡艺术学院 (SOTA),第一次在这里看演出!

期待。因为早以听说过曾经红遍一时的小王子,可是还沒有读过他的小说。很好奇小王子的故事在我们敬仰的剧作家郭宝崑手里会变出什么“花样”?

节目开始前,先教大家怎么样从一张平凡的长四方红纸折出一朵小花 – 玫瑰花。你可不能小看它喽,它将在戏里扮演一个重要角色!

(每一朵玫瑰都有自己的名字。每一朵玫瑰都不一样。)

准备好了吗?戏现在开始!

等一下。等一下。在这之前,先问你一个问题,先问一下你的童年“往事”,你还记得你六岁时的样子吗?不记得了?没关系。没关系。先把眼睛闭上。慢慢地,慢慢地闭起来,慢慢地,慢慢地去想你小时候的样子、你小时侯爱做的事、说过的话、有过的梦想… 你还记得它们吗?

戏中六岁的“我”很不开心,因为大人们都不明白她;不但看不懂她的画,也没有花时间心思去了解她。她想离开这冷默的世界,到天上去!

就在这满天星空的夜晚,她与来自外星的小王子偶然地相遇了!小王子不怕千辛万苦地来到这里,目的只是想找人给他一个方法,不让他星救唯一的玫瑰花被小羊吃掉。他不想把玫瑰围起来,也不想把小羊拴起来,因为这么做它们就不自由了。他是趁小羊睡觉的有限时间跑来求救了!

小王子答应了“我”,如果可以帮他找到答案就带“我”上天去!于是,他们展开的旅程…—路上见到食古不化的地理学家、市侩的卖药丸商人、弯腰驼背的老奶奶和聪慧的狐狸。

故事听起来很“童话”,但我觉得这是演给大人们看的戏。

(你知道怎样保护玫瑰花不让小羊吃掉吗?)

剧中道具只有一个画架,两个梯子和移动式的屏风。朴素,但有意想不到的惊喜!

三名演员: 洪节华(Hung Chit Wah),吕霖轩(Lv Lin Xuan)和黄惠敏/娃娃(Catherine Wong):活泼、可爱、斗趣。

服装嘛…你自己看吧!(下图),有没有让你想起自己小时候玩家家酒的模样呢?Xp

(小王子唱着:“我要飞上青天!上青天!”)

(地理学家“很凶”地警告道:“沒有读书,打屁股!知道吗?”)

(我是狐狸。看看我长长的尾巴!;)

 

(哎呀! 们都很’烦’,“我”的服装最“我”!)

我最喜欢狐狸的扮相了!不需要把自己包得毛绒绒的,只有一条长布再加上肢体动作就像一只再世狐狸了!在这方面,黄惠敏(娃娃)交出了一份相当满意的成绩单!真的有七分像足狐狸喔!我相信她一定下了不少功夫在里面。赞赞!(^-<)V

其他演员与娃娃其他部分的表现可圈可点,有潜能表演得更加自在自如。唱功方面也需加强(尤其是娃娃,咬字也要加强喔!)。他们之间配和无间,也很会带动气氛。

当晚观众大多是中学生,观众群中有些风趣回应,有些用独特的笑声感染,为现场增色不少。

一部音乐剧当然少不了动听的歌曲与感人的歌词咯!作曲家陈国华与黄有杰,和作词者小寒(有些词取自从郭宝崑原著)都没有让我失望!看完戏过后,在去“读”歌词,会让我想起那一幕戏,那一段曲。三者的关系真是紧紧相扣啊!

回到剧情,我最喜欢“我”和小王子撞见卖药佬与老奶奶的那一场。卖药佬发明的一种药,吃了—星期不用喝水,可以省下很多“不必要”的时间;老奶奶却每天提着一个小桶,走了很长的路去拿水,风雨不改。卖药佬取笑老奶奶很笨,老奶奶回应道省下的时间去做什么 ; 引人反思。

“我”喝了老奶奶的水之后说“没味道”,她却慢条斯理地回答:“如果你自己打水,就知道是什么味道了。” 非常耐人寻味!

其他,我好喜欢歌词里面的这两段话(在《我的花》与《我的画》歌中):

实沒有关系,花属于自己,我的花我懂就可以

实没关系,画属于自己,我的画我懂就可以。”

是的。自己最懂自己最重要,不要太过在意別人怎么看你。

其实今年是我看最多舞台剧的一年,到目前为此,这部剧是我今年看过最开心,最感动,最有起发的作品;原来最简单,最纯真是最能够打动人心了!

短短的一小时却过得这么充实。看似中学生的毕业表演,却留给我最美丽的回忆。

最爱结尾所提醒大家的,每个人都有属于自己的星星。你会发现,你的星星和别人的不一样!”

你找到自己的星星了吗?;)

P.S: 还有五场,不要错过!今天(9月1日,星期六) 5pm 和8pm,明天 (9月2日,星期天) 11am, 2pm 和 5pm。

售票详情在此。快!(^-<)V

(我的花。)

看。舞台剧:《远角》AFAR

戏剧盒 DRAMA BOX (新加坡/Singapore)
滨海艺术中心小剧场
2012年8月23日 (星期四) 晚上8时

节目内容 / Details of the play.

远在天边,近在眼前。

“不要期待《远角》,是你的想像決定她的姿态” ,导演韩雪卿(Jalyn Han)在感言中这么写到。

是的,《远角》不是你所观赏过的一般舞台剧,因为剧情不会按时间顺序和逻辑展开。

它将带你进入一个不知什么时代的空间,在一个不知名的地方,与这五位不知名字、沒有性别、年龄的人相遇。

他们以数目字称呼。他们都有个自的挣扎与烦恼。他们不断在反问自己与对方。

一号(陈宛诗 / Tan Wan Sze 主演)在思考自己是否存在与存在本身的价值。

二号(卓桂枝 / Doreen Toh)在冥思死亡与生存的课题。

三号(陈慧娟 / Karen Tan)因自己以忘记的过去和与一个人的关系而感到自己可怕。

四号(陈寿臣 / Tan Shuo Chen)拼命寻找快乐,而因为阿富汗人民在吃苦,自己却因为不在阿言汗所以应该幸福,可是却不而感到內疚。

五号 (吴惜爱 / Goh Seok Ai) 对自己不起眼的外表而感到自卑,心中渴望爱情。

他们在宇宙般的《远角》徘徊,不知是梦是实;他们有时独处,有时对话。

这五位灵魂人物是编剧李世炬(Lee Shyh Hih)真实生活中所认识的五个人,这部剧也是他在2006至2009年间,当生命步入四十大关的冥思纪录,所以对他来说深具意义。

也许你会发现这五位角色有一点你自己的成份在里面,也许有一点成份像你身边的人。

这部剧的最大用意不是要告诉你一个完整故事或提供你一个標準答案;参与演出的陈慧娟(Karen Tan)说:“要是(这部剧)能扰乱观众的一点思绪引起一些反思,便足夠了。”

的確。这部剧成功的做到这一点!它不停地带我进入走出不同人生课题,陪同剧中人一起喜怒哀乐。

我最喜欢剧中五号被公车撞倒的那一场戏,非常惊心动魄! 当然没有动用到真的公车,只是巧妙地运用灯光与音响效果,与演员们的生动表情就能让你身陷其中!

除了演员们外,这当然要感谢灯光设计林苑雯(Lim Woan Wen)与声音艺术及音乐黄泽晖(Darren Ng)的功劳。

剧中的那一“暗”,更是一绝!全场一片漆黑,逼着观众只能用心聆听演员们的对白与用声音去猜测他们的动作。我认为这场戏的郊果非常棒!当灯光一亮的那一刻,我有一种恍然大悟的感觉!

我对李编剧的才华真的是赞不绝口,他所设计的台词不但幽默,也很发人深省;听似线白却富有涵义,非常诗情画意。好希望有一天能拥有这部剧的剧本!

以照片为证 (上图),你可以看见负责舞美设计的林玮翎(Lim Weiling)他的细心与天份,以看似简单的不同大小的透明气球却在灯光五彩缤纷的打造下映照出一种这么独特不同的梦幻视觉。带入观众与这五位剧中人到一个远在天边的国度!

我喜欢《远角》的创意和勇于尝试的精神!五位演员的表现也非常有默契和出色!其中主攻英语剧的慧娟(Karen)与寿臣(Shou Chen)为这出戏克服本身对华文的不足所付出的辛血,更是叫人起敬!(本剧是慧娟的第二部却是寿臣的第一部华文舞台剧!)

看完全场戏过后,虽然有所起发,但也对它稍微有些看法和意见。

我在想如果这部戏只选了一个人的故事,会不会更加具有震撼力与感染力呢?因为这部戏在讨论的课题真的是太多了,剧情也不够集中,很容易使观众分散注意力。

人生难免有起有落,不会每天都是睛天,也不会每天都是雨天。

忠心地祝愿一号,二号,三号,四号,五号在现实世界里,能像剧中人脱下自己的外套—样;卸下身上的包祔,走出自己的迷宫。

幸福可能像是远在天边,却有可能近在眼前。

还是活在当下吧!=)

Theatre Review: AFAR

By DRAMA BOX (Singapore)

Directed by Jayln Han

Esplanade Theatre Studio

23rd August 2012 (Thursday) 8pm

Details of the play.

The Simple, The Better.

If you were looking for a definite answer or solution from this play about life, I’m afraid you might be disappointed.

Neither could you find any completed story or satisfied ending from it.

Well, AFAR was about 5 anonymities chanced to meet one another in an unknown place (Afar), in an unspecified period; maybe they really met, maybe it was just in their dreams. Nobody knew, but that’s not important. Then what was important you might ask; if you didn’t know it yourself, how would I know it, right?

Please pardon me for speaking like that as I’m just trying very hard to demonstrate to you how it was like while you were watching Afar.

Am I rude? No No No, I’m just being honest. Being true to oneself.

When you were much younger, you might be always trying to please the people around you in saying what others wanted to hear and be as ‘politically’ correct as possible, but as you grow older and older, you are much more confident with yourself or maybe had enough of ‘pretending’, you will say whenever you wanted to say and do whatever you like. Others’ opinions are now secondary.

It is perhaps what Playwright of Afar, Lee Shyh Jih’s mindset presently as he has just passed his 40 mark. This play was his meditation on life between 2006 and 2009; the characters in the story were 5 people he knows in real-life whereby each of them was having their dilemmas and struggles.

Shyh Jih was hoping that we can just put their names, genders and age aside for the time being (not important); taking time to listen what they wanted to say, as in our present world more people like to listen to their own voices more than listening to others, or worst they do not know how to listen anymore (that why they must watch this play even more lah. Haha! Kidding! =p)

He named his characters, number 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Number 1 (acted by Tan Wan Sze) – questioning about one’s existence.

Number 2 (Doreen Toh) – pondering on life and death.

Number 3 (Karen Tan) – forgetting about one’s past (Is it scary to find out you are?)

Number 4 (Tan Shou Chen) – forcing to be happy and contented, as people from the third world countries are suffering.

Number 5 (Goh Seok Ai) – hoping to be loved, bothering by own appearance.

They were trapped in a confined area with many transparent balloons which joined to one another like the molecules structure we see in our science classes, just figure a big round balloon linked by a long tube of balloon, with another long tube (like tree branches) and then tied with another big round balloon of different size, like an individual tree but the root was weighed down by a ice-cube in block (very creative!). This set made me feel like I was watching a sci-fi movie, but sometimes like a maze to me, with mystical feel and rooms of imagination. (Lim Weiling, beautiful!)

This set also made me feel like in someone’s brain, connected in veins with brain cells that were entangled, so complex with lots of thoughts interchanging. But this brain lived five different minds.

Sometimes they were at their own corners, muttering thoughts aloud. Sometimes one or two or more met, engaging in conversation (sometimes connected, sometimes disconnected) about weather, ‘dead’line, love, hate, memory, procreation, etc – about life.

While I was listening and seeing them so busy sharing their own problems, sometimes to the extent of self-centered (Sigh! Human nature), I was wondering how tedious God must be in listening to all of our problems in zillions as compared to me who only had to deal with five people.

As much as I would like to focus in each of every one, but it was just too much for me to handle them all at once. When I was just about to mediate on one topic earnestly, another person with another topic would distract me.

If this play was a buffet, then don’t be greedy, just took what you can take, I told myself. It was where I started to enjoy this play with whatever segment that stood out to me. No point making myself suffer to understand all the meanings in life in just one night, within one and half hour with no intermission.

I enjoyed the poetic dialogue which Shyh Jih had crafted them so beautifully, which had lost some of its power in the English translation. His lines seemed simple but philosophical.

I liked it when there was one part in the play, when the light was totally shut off, leaving us in darkness, ‘forcing’ us to concentrate what the characters were saying and imagined their actions as we could only hear their movements.

I was mercerised by the scene when number 5 was walking towards an approaching bus, standing in front and spread her hands out like wings, while all the others were shocked in ‘witnessing’ her action.  None of us saw any real bus, of course, but the intelligent playing with sound and light (Good job to Darren Ng & Lim Woan Wen) had made us in believing how huge the bus must be and how great the impact must be! That will be the climax of the play to me, actually!

Anyway, like what I had shared earlier, there were really too many things in this play. It will be very ambitious of me, if I was even trying to share everything with you in this review. Even if I do so, you might be already bored to death or went to your lullaby-land.

If you asked me whether I enjoyed this play, not trying to be ‘politically’ correct, my answer is yes and no.

I enjoyed how some scenes were presented, and how symbolic some items represented, like the bursting balloon which flew up to the top, seemed like the lost of hope, etc.

I like it to be able to feel with the characters, when they showed their frustration by smashing the ice (from the set) hard onto the floor while the broken pieces scattering all over the place; their confusions when they were wiping the floor with ice; their emotions had showed so visually to me.

However, I did not like to think too much and prefer something that is more direct and simple, something more cheerful and positive.

Maybe life is not so easy after all, you may say.

But it is not as difficult as you think.

If you ask me what will be my thought of someone who in 4 years time in passing the 40 mark, I would like to say – the simple, the better.

P.S: Bravo to Karen and Shou Chen for their attempt and effort in conquering Chinese in Afar (Karen’s second play but Shou Chen’s first play in Chinese) as they were more fluent in their English. (After this, their Chinese will reach to another level!) It is what I called professionalism. Look up to you both! (^-<)V

 

Theatre Review: Michael Chiang’s “ARMY DAZE”

Directed by Beatrice Chia-Richmond

Songs by Don Richmond

Drama Centre

21st August 2012 (Tuesday) 8pm

From Boys to Men

The Army Daze which I could remember was the 1996 movie version. Most of the details had been forgotten, except a ‘CC’ (woman-liked behaviour) soldier whose appearance had never failed to tickle me.

Not only the movie had hit the record as the highest box-office in our local English-language film history, the full-length play which written by Michael Chiang based on his book, first published in 1985, had been one of the best selling plays since its debut in 1987.

In celebrating of its 25th Birthday, director Beatrice Chia-Richmond and Music Composer/Lyricist Don Richmond, had decided to stage it again, bringing with them a strong production team of many familiar names from our theatre field, introducing young bloods into the cast, collaborating with some of the most well-known comedians, and injecting new composed songs in the play!

Talking about National Service (NS), every man has his own story to tell, and every story is special to him which he will never forget this chapter in his life.

This is when a boy has become man, after his two and the half years of service for his country.

This is when a boy is forced to leave his comfort zone, and to live and train with other boys, who he hardly knows.

The story of Army Daze has no exception on how the five boys survived through their first three months at Pulau Tekong during BMT (basic military training), how their family members and loved ones responded during their absence and how their friendships blossomed along the way.

These five boys, each with interesting personality who we can easily identify with, are working class mama’s boy Malcolm (Dwayne Tan), ‘every flat has one’ Ah Beng (Joshua Lim), ‘the woman traps in a man’s body ’ Kenny (Shane Mardjuki), ‘Chao Keng’ (means finding excuse to escape duty in Hokkien) Johari (Adi Jamaluddin) and hyper-drama-drama Krishna (Ebi Shankara).

Like the boys, who are strangers to one another at first, I find that the first half of the play was lacking some kind of chemistry despite of the enthusiasm from the cast that they were trying to connect with one another. It was delightful to see Dennis Chew (famous known as Aunt Lucy who I adore) acted as Malcolm’s mum but a little let-down to feel that the bonding between the mother and son was missing somehow, there was some awkward moment when Dennis seemed to have forgotten his lines though he was very steady to pull the scene through nevertheless.

The ‘bonding’ from the other family members with the other boys was not strong too, except for Krishna and his girlfriend, Lathi (Norleena Salim) was the best among all, I was convinced by Norleena’s influential charisma.

The tune of the opening song was lively but the lyrics were not clearly heard, the costume was appealing with many colours but the dance did not seem to be matching well with them. Things didn’t seem quite organise in the few opening scenes to me, especially when many characters were put on stage together.

But thanks to more experienced CPL-in-charge, Hokkien-speaking Ong Lai (Chua Enlai) and the only female sergeant (Siti Khalijah) in control, that able to pull the whole platoon of number 4, ‘Hotel’ together, bringing us the audience with gags. 2ndLT Heng (Andrew Lua), though his comical talent was not as powerful yet, maybe due to the limitation of his role, had given a satisfying performance.

What I liked most about Act 1 were all the scenes whenever Siti appeared, she is really our theatre’s darling with her natural humour. Whenever she was on stage, the mass would cheer for her and laughed even she started to utter a word. And I always enjoy her singing, her ‘I Believe I Can fly’ had made me wanted to fly with her too.

It was a smart move in having Siti in singing a solo piece in the second half of the play (after the intermission), in her role as Lathi’s maid lamenting of her departure from her homeland to this strange land – Singapore (just like the boys who need to serve their NS) accompanied by the ensemble, all in dressed in pink in their domestic uniforms; awakening by their funky dance moves with the cheerful melody, while there were bubbles all around them. So captivating to look at!

Army Daze had then taken its flight from there on, the bonding of the boys and their chemistry with one another, even outside their midst, had regained in a split second!

The story was able to flow more smoothly though most of it was much more expected as we had heard too many similar stories or watched movie about NS already, which had reduced much of our surprises in hearing something more refreshing or new.

But the play continued to entertain us from the scene when Norleena, the ‘queen of drama’ pretentious behaviours first heard the bad news of her boyfriend, Krishna’s misfortune, while she also tried her attempt to seduce 2ndLT Heng who was responsible to inform her; to the scene when the five boys’ sang the song of ‘mainland boys don’t have to serve NS’, was indeed impressive with funny lines.

Well, it is very encouraging to see many new faces taking the main leads in our local theatre scene, they may one day in becoming the next Ivan Heng, Hossan Leong, Sebastian Tan, Kumar, Robin Goh, etc. Who knows?

While in Army Daze, the boys had becoming men.

The young theatre practitioners will become our theatre veterans one day if they preserver!

Soldier on, Boys!

P.S:Army Daze is still marching at Drama Centre till 26 August, details here. ‘Chop’ (book) your ticket, quick quick! (^-^)V

Theatre Review: BOOM

SIGHT LINES PRODUCTIONS

DBS ARTS CENTRE, HOME OF SRT

29th June 2012 (Friday), 8pm

Details of the play.

(photo taken during rehearsal)

Grooming in a BOOM!

Buildings can be torn down; cemeteries can be cleared up.

But the power of Theatre is able to ‘bring’ them back to us in just one night! (Of course, all the efforts that have been put in are Not overnight). I mean the history, the memories, all that related to them will come alive to us!

Like a magician, theatre can do a lot of miracles which you cannot imagine.

Isn’t it amazing?

And BOOM was one of them, after SIGHT LINES PRODUCTIONS’s first miracle of “TRAINSTOPPING” by a group of fresh talented ‘magicians’, they were going to perform their second ‘magic’ show – “BOOM”!

Of course, SIGHT LINES PRODUCTIONS has always been having an eagle-eye vision, and in keeping on right track like before, in knowing the importance to choose a well-versed playwright, for his or her intelligent script.

This time, they had also chosen our local writer, Jean Tay, and ‘BOOM’ is the text for ‘N’ and ‘O’ level.

The story seemed simple, a property agent son was trying to convince his mum to sell their en-bloc flat which they lived for 30 years; while on the other hand, a civil servant was trying to convince a Mmm…. ‘corpse’?! to move out from his grave. The common between these two stories – was giving up the Old and in moving on to the New.

Well, the show began with a loud ‘BOOM’, with the startling lights and stunning music! An impressive start off!

Then shortly after that, I was fully entertained by the three young property agents (Andrew Lua, Benjamin Kheng and Amanda Tee) in their witty and rhythmical lines of sharing with us how to select the correct words / phrases in order to raise their chances in selling out a house. In short, in creating – a disillusion!

Back to the reality, we came to know more about one of the property agent, Boon (Andrew Lua) and his mum (Fanny Kee), about a love story of Boon’s mum and dad – how his dad wanted to buy a house for his mum, why his dad left them, his relationship with his father, etc – all their happiness and sadness, all their arguments and reconciliations, all their memories that had been kept preciously by his mum in this house – their home.

All these had laid a very good foundation for me as the play went by, as I also grew my feeling with the mother and son, and THE house. Even the wall, I could see the trace of memories in it – the fading of the superman sticker.

There was good chemistry between Fanny and Andrew, a very convincing pair of mother and son. Very often I was touched by their love for each other, despite in their quarrels.

Andrew is a versatile actor who can shift his role from all ages, I cannot help to laugh when he acted so well as a child, and when he really ‘grew’ up at the end of the play I also cannot help not to take him ‘seriously’ again. Well, I believe I will definitely take him very seriously as the next veteran in Theatre in the time to come, a glowing actor.

I think it was the first time I watched Fanny in ‘Act-ion’. Frankly speaking, I could not feel she was ‘acting’ – she was just Mdm Ong, the Mother herself! She really seemed so familiar to me, who I could identify her with some of the mothers who I had met – no doubt of it! And her monologue at the end, nearly moved me to tears, I didn’t cry doesn’t mean I was not sad, but just I could feel her sadness so strongly that you know, the greatest sadness was one that you can’t even cry out! And that it, from Fanny! Not many performers are able to do so!

The next person, I am very much wanting to praise is Erwin Shah Ismail. He was so funny and so natural. Whenever he was on stage, my eye just lifted up! I enjoyed his ‘special’ talent and the time he had his conversation with the ‘corpse’ – (Vincent Tee, who had acted very well in his role, just that in this role, had not much ‘room’ for his to show his acting ability, but I trust he is a very good actor too – at least over here, he expressed his emotions very well with his voice).

I can see the potential in Benjamin and Amanda, good jobs in acting multi roles, not easy but I managed to see all your different characters very clearly – No mixed up!

Engie, who is the producer, had a role to play too, a pleasure surprise – nice to see you!

There was no dull moment for me in BOOM.

I believe all these have to give credits to the great directing skill of Derrick.

But lastly, though many compliments I had heard about the very impressive and innovative huge set which I cannot agree less about it; yet I felt that this set might give a little shortcoming if the scene was at the second floor, which the actors were ‘inside’ the office that separate us and them by a thick transparent glass, sometimes their voices cannot to hear clearly, some words seemed to be ‘eaten up’.

In conclusion, I had left my seat with satisfaction and looking forward to see all the grooming stars to shine even brighter in the theatre scene in the near future!