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Short + Sweet 2010 (1)

July 17, 2010
Short and sweet, a play shalt be
From trial to plow, a mind’s land deep.
Ok, I don’t know what I’m writing up there, but I sure hope the playwrights know what they’re doing.

The annual Short+Sweet playwriting contest organised by the Arts House is here again, and I just caught the staging of the 1st set of semi-finalists. Honestly, although I have been wanting to catch them before (though never), I have more interest this year because my friend’s work is running in the semi-finals this year (he’s in programme 4).

Anyway, I didn’t mind watching the others and one motivation for catching programme 1 was seeing Verena Tay’s name in the line-up. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in that piece. There will be 40 plays running over a period of 3 weeks, of which 10 will be selected for the gala finals. For this 1st set, most of the plays didn’t do it for me, even draggy at times (imagine a 10-min play feeling draggy!…some exceeded by a few minutes).

However the last 3 plays were the most engaging for me, and I had to decide which to vote for (yah, we were given voting slips).

The Devil’s Aftershave was actually a rather challenging piece to direct and act and I must merit the play on the text. It’s about a man with an incredibly heightened sense of smell and how he experiences life through that. I can imagine the difficulties describing the many smells and odours, especially when repetition has to be kept to a minimum. The premise, was also something different.

Victim (受害者) is a Chinese play and the interesting part was the plot that had a few “twists”, not exactly the usual extra-marital affair. An engaging piece even though I kind of half-expected the ending in the man’s choice (logical), but the “journey” between was amusing. I would think it would garner more votes on that. Its merit would be on the plot.

The last play, All The Answers was quite promising as it presented the scene of when a man gets to ask 1 question at the answer room in between heaven and hell. The conversation was quite amusing, especially the part of the answer-giver, but the dead man’s part was weaker. The ending, as my friend said, was a bit of a letdown.

So what did I vote for? It was a tough choice between these 3, but I picked The Devil’s Aftershave on the literature/text point of view.

Judging from this set, having read my friend’s work, I think his piece stands a chance to be in the finals.

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