>the second 42 theatre festival (week one) by action theatre
>reviewed by daniel teo
17 nov 2001
for the worst when the programme sheet announced that we would only be
let out at 11.15pm - almost four hours after the start of the first performance.
It must have
been tempting to make 'Emerald Hole' simply a collection of digs at our
Government creating an apathetic society unable and unwilling to care.
Add in the nudge-nudge-wink-wink element of pastiche, it could have been
an exercise in smugness - everytime you recognise an obscure reference,
quick, give yourself a
To Jonathan's and Krishen Jit's credit, the strange comical tale was more than that. It was hilarious, intelligent and provocative, mainly due to Jonathan's amazing one-man act. Flipping between Emily and Lau without so much as having to catch a breath (when he did, it was still in character), he had absolute confidence handling these rapid switches and the two personas. His wonderful sense of proxemics brought out the comedy as he made imagination not only visible but also funny.
Beyond the in-jokes about the grandma and her cat, the play worked on another level as the symbiotic synergy of the two plays in one bridged the time and space between then and now. Times and people might have changed but the need for the fight for our individual sovereignty remains. As Emily reminded us, the personal is political - there will always be a war.
>>'These new works had an alluring spontaneity as if they were your friends performing during summer camp.'
Ironically, that was also its Achilles Heel as the director tried to make his words work beyond the page, without them sounding like a poetry recital. While the direction worked for most parts, there were moments when things didn't go right as some of the blocking lacked imagination. The sheer weight of Alfian's poetry made the discrepancy even more glaring as his words poured forth in all directions eager to fill the air while the actors were rooted in theatrical inertia.
sheer variety offered, it would not be hard to find something you would
really like. To the festival's credit, as some segments ended I found
myself wishing that they were a whole lot longer. Sometimes raw, sometimes
edgy, these works had powerful life forces of their own, waiting to be
released. Factor in the small audience size and cosy settings throughout
42 Waterloo Street, and these new works had an alluring spontaneity as
if they were your friends performing during summer camp.