Reviewer: Lee Min Jie
Performance: 30 July 2016
Upon entering Esplanade Recital Studio for M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival 2016’s Programme B, I realise that a space filled with youths is always exuberant and energetic. Chatter and laughter bounce off the walls and there is never a quiet moment right up till the lights dim for the first performance.
This theatre festival is a necessary platform to harness all this energy. It is here that youths can channel their energies and creativity into collaborating and cooperating, not only with their peers, but also with mentors, who have been in the industry for a long time.
Programme B opens with In The Cracks We Find. Performed by Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary), it begins by quoting the definition of “family” from the dictionary and Wikipedia. As the play progresses, we realise how wrong, or incomprehensive, these definitions are. Families in the modern society face unique challenges and no longer come in the prescribed forms. This gang of girls are a force to reckon with. They challenge definitions, offer their own and build human pyramids when you least expect it. Perhaps in the future they could consider a more stable and safer platform (not jagged blocks) to stand on when making their statement.
My personal favourite (from Programme A and B) is Pull Up by Clementi Town Secondary School. A play where life takes three fighter pilots in different directions after a freak accident. This is a well-conceived dramatic story that elucidates the theme of friendship and forgiveness. Lightbulbs on airplane models cleverly mimic their flight at night. Synchonised movements by the ensemble replicate the turbulence felt in a plane realistically. The emotional rollercoaster ride is made all the more memorable by the cast’s striking facial expressions. This thoughtful and theatrical presentation makes me overlook the illogical revival of one of the characters.
Dancing In The Dark by Buds Theatre concludes the evening. A girl’s fear of leaving the house and interacting with other people is so strong that it is paralysing. She stays at home, lives vicariously through movies and survives on delivery.
Everything is beautifully romanticised in this play and appropriately so I feel. For a girl who battles opening the front door, walking along the cobbled streets with a snack in hand is a dream. However, she doesn’t realise that her own existence is romanticised too. Using a typewriter and dancing like no one’s watching is a luxury one can rarely afford in a fast paced modern society like Singapore. What are the chances of a pet cat taking refuge in your own home and befriending the delivery man? The set, sound, and lighting design lends another dimension to the whole atmosphere too.
A home that provides a comfortable escape is something that all of us should be able to own.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
PEER PLEASURE PROGRAMME B by ArtsWok Collaborative
29 & 30 July 2016
Esplanade Recital Studio
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Lee Min Jie is a third-year Theatre Studies major at the National University of Singapore who is drawn to Theatre’s ability to immerse one in a world carefully conjured up by artists.