we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable
categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable
instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical
rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response
of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous.
****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied.
* : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this
is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating
system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation
of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt,
and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious
in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content,
intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now?
Look, at least we tried.
miraculous Postcard from Persephone, STOP KISS is the sophomore
effort by Livid Room
Productions, Singapores first feminist theatre company.
the boundaries between sexuality and friendship, STOP KISS is the story
of two friends who slowly grow attracted to each other, until a brutal
attack ends this burgeoning relationship. The catch? These two friends,
Callie and Sara, are both women - and the attack is motivated by homophobia.
Yet it has to be said that the play is less about lesbianism per se, and
more about how distinctions between friends and lovers are not as clear
cut as we would think and like them to be.
>>'It took Livid Room Productions about two years after their first
play to present their second. Lets hope
that the third time around, we dont have to wait that long.'
the American Diana Son, STOP KISS is honest and heartfelt in its portrayal
of the sexual tension that perhaps informs all friendships - after all
what is a lover if not a best friend one is sexually attracted to? Yet
perhaps because it is set in New York, and together with the relative
wide range of accents put on by the actors, the play while being highly
competent a production, did not manage to emotionally engage with the
I am not
insisting that all plays must be translated into a local context to meet
the needs of a local audience but in this case, the specificity
of homophobia would have reverberated with greater urgency and impact
if it had been less culturally alienating and did not, to a certain extent,
perpetuate the myth that homosexuality is only a Western phenomenon. (And
this is one of the reasons why the relatively context-less English version
of Beautiful Thing didnt really work while the localised
Mandarin version was a much more powerful production.)
Together with the highly capable supporting cast of Beatrice Chia, Chua
Enlai and Kevin Murphy, both the reliable Adelina Ong as the impulsive
Callie and Esther Yap as the more focussed Sara, were wonderful to watch.
But they did lack a palpable chemistry between them, a chemistry that
would have given a sense of inevitability and exigency to their attempted
kiss at the end of the play, making the resulting attack on them more
vicious and uncalled for.
the converging storyline - whereby what happens before and after the attack
is revealed before the actual attack in itself - could have been better
paced, so as to highlight the tension between the innocent development
of the relationship and the traumatic aftermath of the attack.
is a refreshing voice amidst the male dominated gay plays that have pervaded
the Singapore theatre space. It took Livid Room Productions about two
years after their first play to present their second. Lets hope
that the third time around, we dont have to wait that long.