seventh drawer by toy factory theatre ensemble
19 jun 2001
The former Warehouse Disco throbbed once again with life as Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble's THE SEVENTH DRAWER unfolded for the public within its abandoned premises. Instead of responding kinetically on the dance floor to the person or team behind a console, the lone prowler, the odd couple or the motley pack of friends are now firmly benched for what was a complexly sensuous experience.
Taking a poetically written excursion by Hong Kong playwright Ho Ying Fung, the production attempts to let the audience in on Fanny's psychic forays into her (ancestral) past attended by its many witnesses. Whether mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or grandfather, these pound, gambol, scream, dance and float, giving form to the random access memory of Fanny. Of the cast, Tan Kheng Hua's powerful physicality was particularly magnetic.
between nostalgic and modish tenors, these testifying voices far from
clarifying Fanny's enquiry compete over issues of nationalism, gender,
familial and sexual politics with a particular focus on the (dis)enabling
function of historical recount. In one scene, Fanny's attempts to write
out ideograms on the floor were thwarted by another's quick act of erasure,
perhaps suggesting that even an effort to write her private history cannot
be left unmolested.
>>'THE SEVENTH DRAWER would have really taken off had directorial caprice been reined in to service textual exigencies and audience comprehension.'
Secondly, the challenging direction by Goh Boon Teck sent actors monkeying up huge metallic frames or else shooting up the air via cables. Yet, it is precisely at points when the actors were either hoisted up, facing away or else doing a variation of disco-aerobics, that the airy, exhausted and thus inaudible delivery by certain actors failed to bear up the poetry of the text. It was the rare few including Gani Abdul Karim and Mark Richmond who met the demands well.
a capable team of practitioners assembled, one cannot escape the thought
that THE SEVENTH DRAWER would have really taken off had directorial caprice
been reined in to service textual exigencies and audience comprehension.
While I agree with Tan that "the audience should not always have
it easy", one has to