We got this pair of tickets at the last minute, kindly given by Mike’s landlord Ascendas, who is also a corporate sponsor for this play.
This play, which was sceduled in March, was postponed because the actor Patrick Teoh withdrew at the last minute.
Just to prepare myself for it, I look up Wiki to see what the play is about. It didn’t tell me much other than the plot.
DBS Arts Centre, home of Singapore Repertory Theatre is situated at Robertson Quay, amidst Continental and Japanese bars and restaurants. It’s my first time at Robertson Quay and I must say, I felt out of place among yuppies and expats. (So suaku right?)
As we entered SRT, I spotted Adrain Pang with his wife, leaning lazily against a wall as we waited for sitting to begin. A woman went over and he exchanged cheek kisses with her.
The theatre was small and cozy. It was 80% full, half of which are expats. A lesbian couple sat in front of us. How do I know? (I love to ask my friends that whenever they tell me so and so is gay.) They were very demonstrative. The Chinese woman had her arm around the shoulder of her angmoh girlfriend, even though it must have been quite uncomfortable, since she was shorter than her partner. Later on, they linked arms and the partner was caressing her hand.
When am I going into the review, you asked? OK, now, but as you can see, the fringe events were more interesting for me.
The play is 75 minutes without interval. It is rated NC 16. It is set in a pantry of a factory. Peter (played by Daniel Jenkins – last seen in Animal Farm, says Aaron, as the Farmer) has brought his visitor, Una (played by Emma Yong), here, away from prying eyes. She remembers him as Ray, whom she had a sexual relationship with 15 years ago when she was 12 and he 40. He was sentenced to prison for it but had since rebuilt his life and a new identity. Meanwhile, she has remained in the same house, same name and was still serving her ‘sentence’. She accuses him of this and that (including the dirty pantry), and he defends himself, revealing to the audience why he did what he did. She probes and digs to reveal more and we learn how the relationship occurred, and eventually his love for her. She wants back the relationship and was shocked when his partner’s tween daughter appears. Is she rejected now because she is now too old when she compares herself to the girl?
The play ends as abruptly as it begins. It’s very intense for the actors and they did a good job, although I thought Emma tends to be overly dramatic. At the end of the play when they did their bows, we could see they were emotionally drained.
For the audience, it was like eaves-dropping in a quarrel which you want no part of, but since you don’t want to be discovered, you have to bear through it.
Challanging roles for the casts and the play showcases their talents.
Challanging for the audience to watch as well but I take nothing away from watching it.
Aaron asked, so why is the play called Blackbird? I can only shrug.
(BTW, this is written by David Harrower and won the 2007 Lawrence Olivier Award for Best New Play.)