“Unpolished Delivery Even for a Work-In-Progress“
Reviewer: Isaac Tan
Performance: 17 February 2017
Frankly speaking, if I were to name a major race in Singapore apart from Chinese, Malay, and Indian, my answer will be Eurasian. Ask me further questions about this diverse group of people, however, I can only respond with a stutter and an awkward smile.
Based on the stories told by Charlene Shepherdson and Cheyenne Alexandra Philips (collectively known as CharChey), it appears that I am not alone in my ignorance
This performance intertwines prose and verse seamlessly and tenderly introduces us to various aspects of the Eurasian culture and experience. In the short span of roughly an hour, personal genealogies, experiences, history, food, and culture become rich vignettes that are equal parts informative and reflective.
Alas, the duo does not do their beautiful words justice as their delivery lacks polish.
At the start of the show, Shepherdson unloads a barrage of facts about her genealogy without tonal inflection or phrasing. With such a complex genealogy, I suspect even her relatives will not be able to follow what she is saying. Halfway through the show, she falls off a chair while playing a childhood game. While she is meant to rush for the chair in the game, the performer has to build up body discipline and perform the dash rather than blindly dashing for it.
Philips does not fare any better. She is unclear as she appears to lack effort while articulating her words. Additionally, she tends to get breathless easily and one has to strain to hear her text in between waves of heavy breathing. To top it off, her train of thought goes off the rails whenever she struggles to catch her breath.
As such, the opportunity to test their work is wasted as the audience did not get the full impact of the show. On the bright side, such weaknesses can be easily addressed.
For all its rough edges, a Eurasian boy sums the show up most aptly during the post-show dialogue, “I feel sad that my social studies textbook left us out.”
CharChey must be commended for prompting us to ask why.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
FOR THE RECORD by CharChey
17 – 18 February 2017
The Arts House
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Isaac started reviewing plays for the student publication, Kent Ridge Common, and later developed a serious interest in theatre criticism after taking a module at university. He is also an aspiring poet, and has a passion for acting and flamenco dancing.