(the synopsis of the play can be found here)
adrian pang as ralph
karen tan as nancy
janice koh as agnetha
the play is written by bryony lavery, a british dramatist. i did not read the play before watching it, so i entered the studio just armed with the knowledge of what i had read from the synopsis. (at least i did not think that it was the disney film, as someone next to me had uttered to her friend…) i did have some expectations of the cast, and i was soon to see that some were met and some, not. overall i did not like the play so much, but i did like how it was performed.
from the structural perspective i.e. the plot, i was personally uncomfortable with the scenes that tried to… talk science. those were the ones in which agnetha was presenting at the conference in london; even though the jargon used was not uncommon, the acute distinction made between intuition/emotion and attempted rationalisation in the play was jarring. it might have been intended. the play explores primarily the themes of grief (which was brought out really well by the cast) and morality. a rather cerebral play but the emotions set in first and when everything ends, you are really just left with questions, or at the very least, thoughts to mull over.
aesthetically speaking, the layout of the studio was rather well-done because it provided a few perspectives to the audience. there were three blocks for seats around the middle area where the play was to take place. the sets were intriguing – three elevated platforms for different locations based on various scenes. an efficient utilisation of space, i’d say, and i quite liked the subtle minimalistic touch it had.
i liked that the fourth wall was broken – when agnetha was speaking at the conference, and when nancy was speaking on behalf of the organisation. there was real engagement with the audience, especially in such a small (and cosy) setting. at one point i could see the tears on nancy’s face. nancy seemed to have difficulty being in character at the beginning of the play and even noticeably fumbled over certain lines, but she was visibly more comfortable later on and emoted grief/irrationality/anger really well. i did not find agnetha particularly engaging or impressionable; the whole backstory with david was subtly hinted at a few times (most so at the start, actually) but the morality aspect of it could have been expounded on. she was good at being in hysterics, though. ralph was the most dynamic and my personal favourite because he was just really engaging and knew when and how to be strange. i really enjoyed the way pang embodied ralph-occasionally cheeky, sometimes mysterious, always strange. towards the last part, the grief was also very impressionable and there was so much energy there.