Friday, May 29, 2015

Pangdemonium's 'Tribes'

Google will enlighten you on all matters pertaining the plot of Nina Raine's 2010 'Tribes'. Much to do with the usual dynamics of a dysfunctional family with very standard diverse characters. The play highlights the complexities of communicating with loved ones, and the prejudices of society against deaf community.

Great acting by the cast. A solid storyline, of course. Fabulous interpretation of the script, keeping the wit and humor, and underlying pain. It wasn't unenjoyable, but it's still a storyline that doesn't appeal to me. Family dynamics, love and all. No. They're precisely why I don't bother watching soapies. It doesn't matter even if the acting good. Good actors simply make watching it way more bearable. But the friends see it necessary to include these plays as part of my continuous education. So I sat through Pangdemonium's staging of 'Tribes' and liked it.

It was really nice to see sign-language interpreters at the some of the shows. When a theatre company lacks hearing-impaired actors or scheduling conflicts arise, I suppose an alternative is to make a commitment and have a production partner in The Singapore Association for the Deaf to train the actors, and have them understand the daily challenges faced.

Multi-media artist Brian Gothong Tan gave the surtitles a three-dimensional treament. They didn't just run across the screen. They became thought bubbles or simply floated. It emphasized how different feelings really were in our heads and hearts as opposed to speaking them aloud, and how much others would understand beyond speech. To that, it goes further than reflecting the challenges of the deaf community. It is also social norms and socio-political sentiments at play.

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