Monday, November 11, 2013

Two Plays

I've already missed so many exciting activities in Singapore that as exhausted as I was from the mega unpacking, I made time for two plays. It was also an opportunity to catch up with the friends who flew in to watch these two plays and to attend sessions at the Singapore Writers Festival.

'Musashi' directed by Yukio Ninagawa, written by Hisashi Inoue

Had eyed the 3 Titans of Theatre billing that feted acclaimed directors Simon McBurney for 'Shun-kin', Peter Brook for 'The Suit', and Yukio Ninagawa for 'Musashi'. Had to sadly miss two; really wanted to watch Shun-kin. Made sure I caught this last 'Musashi'.

Adapted from the legendary literary classic 'Musashi' by Eiji Yoshikawa, this is more comedy and talk than swordfighting. Their actually duelling with swords was short, and uh wasn't...graceful. Heh. Cute actors! Tatsuya Fujiwara as samurai (or ronin rather) Miyamoto Musashi and Junpei Mizobata as Sasaki Kojiro. Apparently they're also popular television actors. Okaay. I don't know that, but never mind.

Yukio Ninagawa imagined their meeting at a little Zen temple and involved the monks in quite untraditional presentation of Japanese theatrical language, but sticking to the tenets of Noh theatre. I've always got a soft spot for sword-fighting thingies. Vengeance, blood, Japanese warriors of the 17th century fighting it out in overdue duels real and imagined, and over conversations, with reluctant peacemakers at the temple.

Sat till my butt hurt. 3 hours! Not the wisest activity done immediately after a 4.5hr flight. But my goodness. Glorious. Left the theatre in this bubbly state of pure happiness of having watched a sterling performance.

'Gruesome Playground Injuries' directed by Tracie Pang, written by Rajiv Joseph

I like Pangdemonium Productions. Always try to include their shows into my 'must-watch' list. But I was skeptical of this script. This isn't a genre I'm fond of, and the story's just too...clichéd. Still, I decided to watch it. So did the friends. (Reviews here and here.)

Grinned at the nostalgic music from those teenage years. Ahhh...memories indeed. The play brought us from the innocent 1983 to the painful 1998, 2008, then 2013's finale. Pacing was a bit slow and awkward. The set changes were in full view of the actors changing clothes and putting on make-up, writing the year in chalk on the floor. But you know what? The actors saved the day. Alan Wong and Seong Hui Xuan. They were excellent! The chemistry was great, and they carried the script admirably to its poignant conclusion.

Watching the two actors, I've got a thought- here's to hoping that Pangdemonium might one day stage Nick Payne's awesome 'Constellations', when the rights to the play are released.

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