By buds theatre company (Singapore)
GOODMAN ARTS CENTRE, BLACK BOX
7th September 2012 (Friday), 8pm
Duration: 95-minute without intermission
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