Written by: Athena Lim (19-A4)
Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4)
Under the dimming daylight, a small booth was being set up at the Atria. This was Drama’s in-house production, titled ‘Family: A Work in Progress’.
A small queue of people formed to collect their refreshments for the night, before heading for the stone tables outside LT1, where rows of chairs were arranged. As seats filled up, illuminated only by the amber glow of the lamp and fairy lights, the scene was set before us: a wheelchair-ridden grandmother and her daughter. A flash of the spotlight and the audience fell silent, as the play came to life. ‘Imperfect Family Recipes’, follows a family of three: a once sprightly grandmother left paralysed by a stroke, an exhausted mother, and a busy grandson tied to a family recipe for soy sauce chicken doomed to be lost. Behind the barrier of Grandmother’s stroke-slurred speech were her dreams and inner thoughts, a representation of communication, and the evolution of a family over time. This was a performance of raw emotions, exemplified by the cosy lighting and masterful audio effects that truly brought the play to life before us.
And just like that, the first play came to a close. In a playful twist of continuity, we were shepherded to the Dance Studio, with a cheerful invitation of ‘Curry puffs cold already!’ This was ‘In the Repair Shop’: two teenagers yearning for independence, with two different family dynamics. With the ever relatable topic of parent and child relationships, this play showcased different family dynamics, between judgemental and overprotective parents. Ultimately, though, this play was a heartwarming one, reaching a beautiful understanding between parent and child.
When we emerged from the dance studio, the sky had turned dark, and we were led to the amphitheatre. This was ‘Waste’, the last play of the day. We were rapidly eased into the setting – Peter Lee, a tour guide giving tours about Singapore’s waste management, humourously poking fun at his job: like a ‘tape recorder liddat: just press play’, and even breaking the fourth wall to acknowledge the subtitles. This humour gave way to the internal conflict about his familial relationships, manifesting as the personalities of his (ex) wife and his (deceased) mother. Through flashbacks and the seamless blend of humourous and poignant moments, the play eventually came to a melancholic conclusion.
Overall, this performance was certainly one not to be missed – pushing the boundaries of performance, and pulling together stunning acting and effects, for a night of entertainment that’s worth the time!