Friday, April 01, 2016

Lord of the Flies 2016

Produced by Sight Lines Productions and Blank Space Theatre, and directed by Samantha Scott-Blackhall, this 2016 staging of Nigel Williams' 1995 adaptation of William Golding's 1954 'Lord of the Flies' took on a new life. I remember being stunned by the book as a young girl. Yup, no one curated my reading list from the age of six onwards—I read everything 'inappropriate for a child'. Not going to write much about the book or the stage adaptation. Wrote too many essays in school about them.

I very much prefer this all-new version (compared to the director's first staging almost a decade ago). There's a marked maturity about it in its flow. The actors made it real in a brilliant all-new cast led by Lim Kay Siu, Ghafir Akbar, Erwin Shah Ismail and Mark Richmond. Yes, it's a tad mind-boggling that adult men play the characters of lost schoolboys. :p The set was duly transformed into a tropical jungle thanks to special effects of lighting, sound and music. All the action was choreographed by Lim Yu Being. Unexpectedly, I enjoyed the show.

In comparison to readers in 1950s and even audiences in 1990s, this plot in 2016, is nowhere near shocking. It might be as gory and bloodthirsty as 'The Hunger Games' or 'The Walking Dead', or perhaps less so since the play can't reflect the full glory of 4K television. We see the proliferation of something less bloody but no less exciting- all the reality game shows about surviving on desert islands in variations of 'Survivor'. Who can forget the show's tagline of "Outwit, Outplay and Outlast"? But the premises and themes are the same- leadership vs morals; survival vs humanity. What's sanctioned violence and institutionalized cruelty? Whose rules do you follow? Do your principles crumble in the climate of fear? In the absence of societal structures and comforting urban sprawl, the savage in us rises. This is the Beast.

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