[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Sunday, June 08, 2008

[Drifting in mid-air]
Drift, a play about love and extra-marital affairs spanning four generations, is one confusing theatre play. It ended its run last night at the Drama Centre.

Already the plot is confusing. It is a story about Boon Teck and revolves around Singapore and China. Furthermore, the four actors on stage take turns to play different characters. Well, this could showcase their acting skills though but could end up causing some confusion to the audience. I managed to grasp it nonetheless.

There are many political undertones in this play. The three generations span 40 years - a time where communism was still widespread in China.

I recall a scene comparing Singapore and China - Gerald, played by Lim Kay Siu visits Shanghai. Gerald finds that Shanghai is no different from Singapore until he sees some Chinese demonstrating against the Japanese. Immediately, he gets fired up and joins in the riots. He then questions himself and asks why he suddenly felt a strong bond with the Chinese in China.

Boon Teck's wife was caught for being involved in leftist activities and had promised a meeting at Waibaidu bridge in Shanghai 40 years later at 7.05am. That never happened.

The earlier scenes focus on the plight of mainland Chinese in Singapore - discriminated, taunted and laughed at for their habitual behaviour. A mother loses her job as a massuer because of a police crackdown. Her daughter goes missing. She was the one who made the police report. I could tell that she felt ashamed of her mother and did not feel welcomed in a place like Singapore. So they quit and move back to China but still face the same sort of discrimination there.

But it is not all about poking fun at the Chinese. There were also several local jokes. One was the weaving of Sang Nila Utama into the thoughts of Victor, also played by Lim Kay Siu. The character often uses that as a charging force - the thoughts that provoke his actions.

The set is simple and makes use of video projections for the 11 scenes. One has to have imagination to understand several nuances in this play as the use of props are minimal - most items are invisible and often left to be imagined.

One thing to note. An actress is still in mid-air thoughout the play. There are several references to the word mid-air as well. I am not if my interpretation of the character in mid-air is correct but I thought that it speaks of "being watched". She might have been the ghost of Boon Teck's wife - still and watching.

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