Reviewer: Casidhe Ng
Performance: 19 August 2017
Blank Run begins with a ringing alarm: the piercing, overwhelming sound fills the space and threatens to engulf the audience entirely, inciting a physical reaction from most who are surprised at its sheer intensity. The 50-minute multidisciplinary work throws us into a space of discomfort and uneasiness, assaulting our senses with soundscapes and projections that reinforce the nonlinear narrative about a victim of sexual assault.
We see the ‘victim’, played by Gloria Ang, perform a series of physical movements. We watch her repeatedly wash and clean herself, eat an apple, and wring water out from a white top—all disparate symbols that don’t make much sense. As the work progresses, it becomes apparent that these gestures are intricately linked to the circumstances leading up to the assault: as do the various projections that include the minutiae — a hand here, a pair of heels there, texts on a screen. Sandra Tay’s sound design channels a deep, horror-like quality, alternating between the shocking and disturbing (the ringing alarm) and the quietly disconcerting, as in the drops of water that ring throughout the space.
The various elements come together like patchwork, and on occasion one detracts from another. In a particularly crucial scene, the physical movements of the ‘victim’ are consigned to the background in favor of the projection that recounts the entire assault, from which the audience draws a better understanding of the play. Other times, the sound is so disorienting that we are incapable of focusing on what is unfolding on stage. Yet, the disjuncture of everything contributes to the telling of the narrative, despite being fractured and fragmented.
Ultimately, as the piece draws to a close, I am reminded of Kuo Jianhong’s pre-show speech, which iterates that the intention and process in the creation of a work is often of equal value to the product itself. It is simply the opinion of this reviewer that the former: the research, accounts from real-life victims, and support for AWARE’s SACC (Sexual Assault Care Centre), is ultimately more rewarding than the latter.
Do you have an opinion or comment about this post? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
BLANK RUN by The Theatre Practice
17 – 20 August 2017
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Casidhe Ng is currently serving the nation but takes time out of his civilian hours for theatre.