Mike won a pair of tickets to this play. Concindentally, the NEWPAPER, which I hardly buy, ran a feature on it yesterday. It described the play as a ‘fusion of dance and football, combing elements of yoga, ballet and drama. The production will feature football moves woven into the dance performance.’ I asked Aaron if he wants to take my place. He was very keen. Unfortunately he needed to complete his tuition homework and so he declined.
Am I glad he did not go. You’ll know why later. There were a few kids in the rows around me. We had the third row in the stall.
This show was co-produced by Singapore Arts Festival, West End Theatre Company Serajevo and Nepoli testro Festival Italia, in partnership with Les Ballets C de la B, Belgium and in association with Fiota Institute, Slovenia. An impressive international cooperation indeed.
In the program booklet, the director, Haris Pasovic wrote that "Football in most of the world means a hope for a better life, a struggle for identity, a fight for justice and freedom." He described football – "Verbal language disperses in football, which is dance in nature." With that, he assembled an international cast who speaks in a variety of languages in the play. I think to prove his point, the subtitles which appeared initially became sporadic, leaving it to the audience’s imagination as the actors described the crucial goals in the matches that were played in the various countries with exaggerated actions.
The local cast, from the Urban Street Team (UST), did impressive stunts of balancing with soccer balls.
The play centres in a troubled Napoli getto in Italy where armed gang chases the unarmed immigrant group (acted by the UST). But these boys dream the same dream of football. Then the immigrant group also took up arms too and the fighting continues. This world of crime, violence and drugs change for a moment when two strangers arrive and introduce them to the joy of playing football.
Except for one Chinese woman who was in an abusive relationship with one of the immigrant boys, the rest of the eleven cast members were men. There was definitely too much testosterone for me as I watched the men stripped down to show off their six-packs to play football on stage. The stage had two ‘goals’ on both sides with nets, and a three storey scaffold at the back with banners written in Italian. If the audience were expecting some serious football moves, they must be disappointed as the actors danced, sang and spoke, basically doing theatrical stuff. I was bored. The kids around me fell asleep halfway.
The only reaction from the quiet audience was a stir when a man stripped down into his thongs and embraced the newcomer with shouts of ‘f*** me, f*** me!’ The newcomer’s reaction? ‘Sorry I don’t sleep with men.’
Another uncomfortable moment was when one of the immigrant boys caressed the woman in lingerie with his foot like he was manipulating a football. (Uncomfortable because of the kids around.)
At the end of the two and a half hour show, we stood up and was surprised to see more than half of the theatre empty.
The problem with this play, I feel, is that it lost the connection with its audience. It had too many of too little. There was hardly any laugh out loud moment, few impressive moves by UST, much dialogues but in foreign languages. The audience was detached. Still, to walk out half way of the performance showed how rude and immature the Singapore audience was.