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Short + Sweet 2010 (Finals)

August 7, 2010

It was a tough choice tonight running through the top 10 plays again (2 for the 1st time). However, strangely, I didn’t feel so “stressed” or critical today, as i went without the mindset of doing evaluation…just sat back to enjoy the show, despite having a mild flu (maybe that contributed too).

I’ll just go through the plays once again (in their stage sequence). Won’t repeat my comments from before, but just some impressions tonight. Just a quick note, judges picked 2 best plays from each programme plus the top 2 most popular plays.

1) All the Answers
This was one of the better plays from Programme 1, but I think this time, it played out a bit better.

2) The Benefit of Friends
I still don’t know how this got in…it wasn’t very strong and rather mundane, but garnered 1 of the most votes. Well, maybe it’s really “the benefit of friends”?

3) Bringer of Light
This came out stronger (better) than before and I think it was partly because they changed the actor for the chef. It has potential, even to make into a full-length play (or musical). I just realised that this is the only play that is like just a scene, as compared to the others where the story starts and ends in that 10 minutes. This could be the reason why there’s something slightly missing.

4) My Name is Art
I think the Theatre Studio worked better for this play. As I commented to my friend before the show, the viewing perspective could be more suitable here than at The Hall due to the context (art piece at a museum). It was still funny and the audience loved it, although I felt the ending remark by the “touring art piece” was anti-climatic.

5) The Kill
The venue was a little detrimental to this, even though it still packed its punch. I guess the wide space didn’t give it that sense of “tension” and audience had to imagine a smaller area to experience the “fear” of the “victim” when cornered. Not that I felt “frightened” coz it was a comedy. I think the raised stage also played a part. It’s still an excellent play with a good twist. 1 of my gauges of a good play is that there’s not much you can add (or minus) to make it any better, and this was one of those.

6) Good Girls
This was the 1st time I’m watching this and I agree with my friend…this was a tad raunchy. But it was funny. It was initially set in a nunnery but was considered too controversial, so it was changed to a school (prefects). This caused some references to be lost (if those parts were in the original script), e.g. the part when 1 confesses having “relations” with 35 men before meeting God. It could be my misconception (must be the “nuns” thing), but there was a moment I thought “Sound of Music” was referred to.

7) The History of St Paul
I must be a bit slow but I finally realised the significance of the setting at the Church of St Paul in New York, near Ground Zero. It ties with the notion of leaving a legacy behind, finding and serving a purpose. I like the warmth of this play and there seems to be a touch of “down-to-earth”ness to it.

8. Joy of Solitude
Still its artsy feel. The way to interpret this play, I think, is to not think so much about it (despite its abstractness) but just to take it as it is, the cyclical intent of the writer.

9) Short+Salty 2010
My friend’s play, which he said he was surprised it was one of the most popular plays in the remaining top 32. My friend commented that it didn’t garner as much audience response as before, which I perceive to be its close reference to the workings of the competition itself. It’s as he calls it “intellectual humour”, where it’s a level deeper, rather than slapstick, in-your-face kind. It’s likely the previous audience at The Arts House were more attuned to playwriting. But anyway, I think laughter in the Theatre is not so reverberating as in The Hall, since it’s at least 3 times larger and the soundproofing is better. The main grouse I had was that the music didn’t fit/build the mood, especially the opening. It should have started lighter.

10) Lifetime
This was quite interesting and unexpected, especially after reading the synopsis (skewed opinion?). You wouldn’t have thought to depict marriage/relationships this way. I wonder though if this being my first time I’m watching it made a difference in my opinion of it. On the other hand, I think the delivery is very important for this play, which fortunately, the 2 actors were great. Actually, I felt that it had a much deeper meaning (which was obvious in the synopsis) despite the comical display. Do we rush through life in its routines and forget to get to know the other half?

My friend asked me which I would pick as the best play if I were the judge. As it is, it is difficult to decide as it is very subjective, depending on the mood and focus of the audience, especially without a known criteria. It’s like why the Oscars and Emmy’s have such a variety of awards.
Best script? Well, I can’t read the scripts here which could have been much condensed by the time it hit the stage, so can’t judge by that.
Best comedy? I think I’ll vote for “The Kill” although “My Name is Art” was pretty funny too. I really loved the knife and tomatoes.
Best twist? “The Kill” too.
Best concept? Lifetime.

I know, I haven’t given an answer, but really difficult…maybe “Lifetime“?

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