“Q: Protagonists at the Edge”
Reviewer: Casidhe Ng
Performance: 30 May 2015
It is difficult to encapsulate a piece like Q into words, considering the range of approaches and themes it explores and the important questions it asks. Performed by Al-Matin Yatim, Chang Ting Wei and Yazid Jalil, Q is a love letter to Singapore theatre sans sentimentality. It acknowledges nostalgia but remains progressive. Drawing from two of Kuo Pao Kun’s plays, The Eagle and The Cat and The Silly Little Girl and the Funny Old Tree, Q adamantly defies theatrical conventions as it questions the past, present and future of theatre. The performance traverses between disparate scenes: between physical, performative explorations with text and an alienating reality.
The audience is invited into the rehearsal studio of the esplanade, and is welcomed in by both the actors and Ang Gey Pin, the director herself. The opportunity to interact and converse with both the actors and the director in a pre-performance setting immediately disarms the audience and creates an intimate space that welcomes investing from both parties.
The consistent shifting between performative segments to reality is occasionally disorienting as the audience co-constructs and dismantles the fourth wall. Despite this, the interesting physical work (with references to traditional forms) as well as the skilled manipulation of the space, both physically and conceptually, ensure that the audience is constantly engaged. The interactions between the actors and the audience, the actors themselves, and their communal questioning of theatre itself are particularly interesting to watch.
As a whole, Q can be difficult to grasp with its range of concepts and thematic initiatives, but it remains engaging throughout. It’s not every day that an audience gets to participate in a play that comments on the art and significance of creation, whilst in the process of creating it.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Q: PROTAGONISTS AT THE EDGE by Intercultural Theatre Institute
27 – 30 May 2015,
Esplanade Rehearsal Studio
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Casidhe Ng is currently majoring in Theatre and Literature at School of the Arts, Singapore.