“Lanterns Never Go Out” by Yellow Chair Productions (Singapore) – Enlighten Your Dreams!

Drama Centre Black Box

25 March 2012 (Sunday), 3pm

 

Lanterns Never Go Out

 

Cast: Liu Jiawen, Sophie Khoo, Rosemary Chan, Tiara Mia, Josiah Ng, Dominic Wong
Director: Mohamad Shaifulbahri

Synopsis:
Lanterns Never Go Out revolves around Kah Wei, a 15-year-old girl who finds that being a teenager with new roles and new expectations is not easy.

When her ideals and reality do not match, she wishes to return to her childhood of goldfish lanterns and comics.

As the play progresses, we find ourselves questioning the dos and don’ts, the whys and hows. Or we may find ourselves questioning Kah Wei.

———————————-

“年少时候谁沒有梦….” (Who don’t have dreams when they are young…)

Singing.

Do you remember the songs you used to sing?

Do you remember those dreams you used to have?

Are you living for yourself or under others’ expectations?

Are these questions still a concern to you? Or have you forgotten them long ago?

***

I like how this play had started with six youngsters singing together this song, 《细水常流》, written by our local composer, Liang Wenfu ( 梁文福), introduced in the maybe late 80’s or early 90’s when Xin Yao’s period (新摇年代) was at their prime. A song which describes about their childhood and teenage years; their friendships and dreams. But shortly after that, one after another slowly stopped singing, busying doing their own things; leaving Kah Wei singing this song alone.

Kah Wei was caught in the norms of the society since her childhood and till she grows up, struggling to meet the expectations of her parents, relatives, friends, bosses, etc.. How can anyone just be different from the rest of the majority and just live to be yourself? Pursuing what our passions call us upon? And maximise our potentials based on them?

Can we really go after our dreams without being drowned by the waves of comments of what we should do and what we shouldn’t do from the crowd around us, just because they said what they have advised us are all for our own good?

I personal like the storyline of this play very much, because it has allowed me to have a inner reflection upon myself regarding this issue about not losing yourself and not forgetting your dreams, despite what others might say to you, because you should have known better what do you really want for yourself.

Furthermore, it is your life! And your dreams! We should not let our lanterns go out; we should keep enlighten our dreams and keep going strong!

***

I’m pretty impressed by Mohamad Shaifulbahri’s directing and all the performers’ acting, especially Liu Jiawen who acted as Kai Wei; they are excellent! I like their simple but multi-purposed props of 6 big square cubes, which they could sit on it, stand on it, built on it to suit the setting of the various scenes, like lego.

It is my first time watching Yellow Chair Productions (YCP), a theatre company which first started off as Youth theatre group in 2005, it is now a community theatre group, with the intention of making drama and theatre accessible to everyone. They had chosen ‘Lanterns Never Go Out’ to be their second official performance after their first-ever production at the same venue 3 years ago.

This play is written by Haresh Sharma, one of the founder and key playwright of The Necessary Stage, was first staged in 1989.

***

In the interpretation by YCP, two of the scenes left me very deep impressions.

One was the scene which Kai Wei sat in the centre on the cube box facing the audiences, while 5 of the performers were stood on the cube box individually at the back of the stage, forming a semi-circle, all facing their back behind Kai Wei.

They started chanting ‘ring ring’, ‘ring ring’, continuously while Kai Wei picked up each call, the ‘ring ring’ sound will stop and each character who is her friend, niece, boss, student, etc, take turn to speak, demanding her to spare her time for them, and when each call had ended, the ‘ring ring’ started again.

This scene had created a sense of urgency, a high level of stress and pressure that Kai Wei had experienced as there were so many demands from the people around her to be expected on her.

Another scene was the ending which to me, was the highest point of this play, when Kai Wei was forced to the extreme while all the pressures and demands in life were fallen onto her, as her stress level had built up to the maximum as the play had accumulated its climax till this point.

While all the other characters who represented the people around her moved closer and closer towards her as if they were pressing and chasing tightly after her (chanting away their comments to her and forcing her tremendously to meet their requirements), wanting her to confess if she was guilty for not doing enough, telling her to listen to them because they meant well for her (while they piled up the 6 big square cubes with steps to form the height of 3 square cubes high – like 3-storey tall) and Kai Wei climbed up anxiously the steps up to the top and stand at the highest spot, facing us the audiences and then gathered all her courage though with a little fear still, using all the strength she could have, shouted , “Not Guilty!!!”

Yes! I like that.

We should not be guilty to be ourselves! To be the real person we are!

Never allow the light in our lanterns – the burning flame of passions inside our hearts (no mater how small it is) to go out; if you have forgotten your dreams, enlighten it again! ^^V

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