Thursday, June 01, 2017

'TANGO' by Pangdemonium

Written by Joel Tan and directed by Tracie Pang, TANGO is the first original work commissioned and staged by Pangdemonium. Inspired by James Williams' blog '4 Relative Strangers' and this specific incident of their story in February 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was well-written and thought-provoking. Major society issues and conversations compressed into just the right length at two hours and ten minutes (there's a 20-minute interval). Considering our country's laws and a fair amount of conservative voices, this play is much needed. Bravo, Pangdemonium!

Set in England, we see gay parents Singapore-born Kenneth (Koh Boon Pin) and British-born Liam (Emil Marwa) raising a 12-year-old Jayden (Dylan Jenkins), whom they adopted from a broken home. They're trying to make it work as a family in suburban England. So when Kenneth makes a choice to return to Singapore to take care of his ailing father Richard (Lim Kay Siu). Liam and Jayden follow him. Naturally, all hell breaks lose, old family wounds, new fights, stubborn views and an inability for acceptance even in the face of love, and a redefinition of 'family values'.

This is not a comfortable play to watch for narrow-minded ultra conservative voices (religious or otherwise) primly against gays, viewing them as non-humans who shouldn't be part of any family, and not deserving of children, friends, relationships and love. Disapproval, sure. A discussion of wants versus 'should', sure. People tsk at and are against everything anyway. But persecution is quite something else. I've had enough of these demonizing views and spoken-aloud opinions against my friends. Even if our laws take a zillion years to be amended, honest conversations need to start now. We need to take a hard look at our own biases versus the notion of equality and what makes a human who won't be ostracized by civilized society.

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