Monday, July 8, 2013

Do we HAVE a National Costume? ... my review on Wild R!ce's Cook a Pot Of Curry (Gala Nite!!)

Photo credits to Wild R!ce
Poignant, funny, thought provoking, melancholy, real, crude, melodic, serious, patriotic, sad, daring, REALity … these are some of the words which pop up in my mind when I am trying to describe Wild Rice’s “Cook a Pot of Curry (CPC).” It is all those and more wrapped up in many, many small little segments on a simple but effective stage. In CPC the focus was on the message … and not the petty distractions. The message was clear .. the acting was good ... the words used .. excellent. I must really comment Alfian Sa’at for his literary genius which gave us CPC. It is so real and yet he puts it across so clearly but yet hits you hard. He is able to think beyond the layers and show us the truth. As each segment ended, I found myself nodding in agreement to the message and how we must do something .. or understand ourselves better.

I caught CPC on Saturday night. Thanks to H for the wonderful tickets on Gala Opening Nite.  The guests were required to dress in “National Costume” … hardly anyone did !! When I got into the auditorium, I was facing this 3D-esque stage with cubes and lit only in white.  The play started out with the re-enactment of the scene between the Chinese and the Indian couple about the now notorious Pot of Curry !! .. after that the action came thick and fast … segment after segment. Each segment was couple of minutes long, having someone talk about the biggest issue which we face in Singapore today – new migrants / PRs . There were people from both sides of the divide in terms of nationality and social class. PRs, new citizens, Indonesians, domestic workers, taxi drivers (the best segment), yoga instructor, actress, Indians, Malays and more all had their few minutes. All acted out by the 6 actors and actresses.

Photo credits to Wild R!ce

The acting was good. The actors generally played their roles well … considering that each actor had many varied roles to play – varied Nationalities, race and profession. However, the one actor that stood out for me was Najib Soiman. I felt that he had that added oomph in his acting and he delivered his lines with conviction – like he believed in them. But maybe it was just that I could connect better with his segments.  However some of the accents were a bit lacking, especially the Phillipino one. It was not exactly there. Also, the facial expressions were also not very strong at certain segments. I am just nit-picking but I feel that the actors must really show that they belief in their message.

Directing was by Glen Goei so we know what to expect. Like I mentioned earlier, the key was the message. Glen made use of the simple set and just played with lighting to maintain the audience’s focus on the actors. Effective use of slides gave the stage some color and broke the monotony. I think the timing of the lighting and slide transitions were excellent.

Overall, Cook a Pot of Curry is a great way to kickstart the Alfian Sa’at “festival” as it shows the how brilliant this man is. CPC is a must see for all. Do not expect a typical play by Wild Rice. It has no real storyline where there is a plot with ups and downs followed by a happy ending. Do not expect tons of wild laughter … as this is no story .. this is reality!! We have always been fooled by the ‘story’ … read to us many, many times in school and through campaigns and policies … when are we going to realise that we must challenge the ‘story’. Let Cook a Pot of Curry touch your patriotic soul as it has for me .. when the laughter has ended .. we have to face reality.  Majulah Singapura.

No comments:

Post a Comment