Rant & Rave. Photo courtesy of The Esplanade.
Of the four ticketed events I caught under the Esplanade’s anniversary weekend programme, I noticed something. While all four were various forms of “tributes”, there’s a slight difference in approach. The sole dance show, SideBySide, was a selection of new creations, as in “we’re commissioning you to do something new”. Is it because it’s arguably a less popular/developed/supported and smaller scene so that really, at this point, the most important thing is to push for more works?
Because in contrast, the three other pieces that dealt with theatre were completely framed by and oozed with its very history.
They formed a kind of trilogy, too. If the Singapore Musical was what National Broadway Company was about, its two smaller siblings, Casting Back and Rant & Rave offered a more lowkey but nonetheless equally satisfying look at The Actor and The Discourse, respectively.
All of them draw on one single source, of course, but I’ve said my piece re: NBC and besides, the two Theatre Studio shows have their own complementary thing going on, too. Both two-handers, Nora Samosir and Christina Sergeant took on director Casey Lim and playwright Robin Loon’s Casting Back, while it was Janice Koh and Siti Kalijah for Chong Tze Chien’s Rant & Rave.
Continue reading ‘Esplanade’s 10th! Actors! Critics! Talkback!’
Sometime back, a theatre figure once admitted to me that one personal pet peeve has been reviewers who unilaterally assume the voice of the audience. That is to say, when he or she writes “The audience was baffled by this bit”, it’s actually just him or her.
Despite being rather guilty of this on a number of occasions (although most of the time, I’ve taken some unpopular assessments of productions and exhibitions that really, I’d be extremely delusional to think anyone else agrees with me), said person is indeed right to feel miffed. After all, who are we—theatre reviewers/critics/arts journalists—to completely speak for the rest of the folks seated in a black box with such certainty?
I was reminded of this comment during a conference problematising the idea of audiences last Saturday. Continue reading ‘Public = man on the street = arts audience?! Not quite!’
Tonight, the whole place erupted in thunderous applause at the end of Fear Of Writing.
I couldn’t bring myself to do so at first. And when I did, it hurt.
It was the most painful clapping I have ever done inside the confines of a theatre.
After all, how can you applaud a piece that looks you in the eye with such anger, frustration, disappointment and even desperation?
How do you go “Bravo!” when it whispers to you, “You have failed. We all have.” How do you clap at a piece’s accomplishment when that very accomplishment is a slap in the face?
Continue reading ‘Nothing to fear but Fear itself.’