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Awake With Nenek by We Colour People Theatre and Company

March 2, 2010

I should get down to writing this before I forget.

As a start, the title is pretty creative, as you can read it as “A Wake With Nenek” once you know the story.
It tells of a tussle within a family who squabble over the inheritance at the wake of Nenek, in a void deck setting. How those who never visited her when she was alive appeared only to claim their inheritance which they did not deserve. It was all a show wasn’t it? Showing off who “looked” like the more filial child when it was all fake. The ugly side of family tussles over inheritance is portrayed, just as we read those published in the papers. There is also the struggle between cultural differences as some wanted it to be a Indian funeral and another, a Chinese one, as Nenek was half-Chinese and half-Indian. The tussle ensues but ends when the family discovers the coffin to be empty (yes, appallingly, the fight resulted in the coffin being opened), by which the lawyer appears to read the will. Each got what they deserved and we are reminded of the harshness of how greed/money corrupts, when the source is forgotten and respect abandoned.

The show started off light-heartedly, but as it went along, the atmosphere and underlying tension and moral came through, thanks to the superb acting of the cast. The humour was smart and certain digs at how things run here identifiable. Even the subtle strain in cross-borders relations is depicted. The prop would have been a real coffin if not for the superstition of the venue sponsor, as it was replaced by something not as convincing, but we get the idea. The cast was able to engage the audience and it was like real-life drama playing out before you. I was pretty moved near the end by the granddaughter’s impassioned rebuke as they all eventually repented. I enjoyed the show very much and look forward to their 2 other upcoming performances this year.

In my experience with them, I find this group and their take on social issues creative and poignant. They are a promising group and I am glad that we have such talents.Good for the future of arts in Singapore.

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