Singapore Script Sketch 12 Oct

ScribeSketches… Singapore Script Sketches… yes, still trying out new terms. One of these might work!

 

Seen at a restaurant yesterday:

It was a table of six–at least some of them Mainland Chinese because they were talking (in Mandarin) about how Singapore does this/that and Singapore people don’t do this/that. Three¬† men and three women seated at a corner table with the three women in the corner against the wall–‘trapped’ unless the people sitting beyond stand up for you. Two of the men talked almost continuously. The slightly more senior man next to the slightly more senior lady (short bobbed hair) talked almost exclusively to her, barely breaking off as the waitress leaned over him to place food in front of them. The other, young, tanned and wrinkled, directed his talk at the other two women, ignoring the fairer, plumpish man to his left who didn’t say much, just grinned and nodded when addressed and when prodded to grin and nod. The two women against the wall were wearing a long sleeved top and a dark cardigan over a shirt and had the sort of unstyled, unshaped long hair that young professional women sport to indicated they are still feminine even if they don’t take the trouble to get a good haircut.

The Talking Men got impatient with the young server (very tall, very shy, very pretty girl who I thought Chinese till then but realised might be Burmese/Vietnamese) because she didn’t speak enough Mandarin to understand that though they had ordered individual dishes the main courses were to be placed in the middle of the table for them to share while the sides of fries/mash/rice were put on individual plates as requested for each of them. But a senior staff member, a Filipina who spoke excellent Mandarin came and sorted things out. (I was most impressed by her actually!)

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King Lear Project Part 3: The Lear Universe

I liked very much: Ramesh, Raja, Gerald, Paul, Janice, Kheng, Kaylene, even Ben Slater in their Shakespeare cameos & fake discussions.

I also liked very much: their short enactment of the Nahum Tate ‘happy ending’ (unless you’re in the vicinity of the Shakespeare Centre in NYC you prob haven’t seen this in a while. And for those of you turning up your noses at the idea of a happy ending here, hey–Johnson liked it)

I liked the re staging of the final scene and curtain call and audience Q & A… the first time at least. Maybe even the second. By the third time it was irritating & by the fourth just tedious.

But while I liked the idea behind the staged ‘live’ Q & A it was painful in execution. I did enjoy audience members calling out genuine questions getting fobbed off till someone asked when the next staged question would be asked (getting a big laugh). And into this bustle of chatter the next planted voice piped up “Let me break the silence by asking–” which got an even bigger laugh.

Laboriously, a couple of planted audience members read out their own versions of Shakespeare & asked why they were ‘different’ (you bring your own texts to the theatre but never bothered to read the intro?)

Which was the opportunity for the Director to deliver the information that yes, there’s a difference between the quarto & first folio versions (duh) in the manner of the Pope discussing the gospels or a Vulcan describing the Prophet Sid.

Oh yes. They were good enough to read us what sounded like a Wikipedia aside on the ‘original’ King Leir.

What’s so tragic is this project sounded like such a great idea–with that to start with & such a great cast–what happened?

It could have been tightened into a great 70 minutes, maybe even 90 minutes. It might work as a mockumentry on film. But at 2 hours++ (Q & A stretched to 11pm) of what felt like meandering through an indulgent director’s game of ‘this might be interesting’ & ‘New to me. I’ll include it. I don’t know why but this is supposed to be experimental’ it was just too much.

Why were such tiny nuggets of superficial information dribbled out in such pompous academic jargon? To underline how much they aren’t telling? Because we’re incapable of understanding?
It also felt mega-condescending but that could be me reacting to the language.

Because most, most, most painful of all was the supposedly spontaneous language–last night made me appreciate Paul Rae’s previous 2 evenings of comments from the audience so much, because he sounded natural. Okay, it was still academic jargon but coming out of him it sounded fine because he really talks like that & the cadences work.

But last night–ouch ouch ouch–most of the audience presented their ostentatiously worded questions like awkward classroom work.

And as the fake curtain call & request for audience questions was repeated once, twice, three times it went from innovative to draggy to irritating to bloody tedious.

Talked to Verena before last night’s show.
(parts are interchangeable)

“Why did you come back tonight?”
“I’m hoping it will tie in the last two nights and make sense so I am prepared to love it. Besides, I paid for my ticket. You?”
“Same here. I paid for my ticket. Maybe I should have gone to see Rhinoceros.”