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September 8, 2010

How do you deal with death? That’s what Poop attempted to address, or rather, how people deal with it. It was a rather moving play (I cried, and many others too), thanks to the good cast and rather ‘close-to-heart’ story…not that I’ve experienced the same plot, but it’s such a reality we deal with – death. I think that’s one of the reason why it drew people’s hearts, this whole relation with the “common” or “down-to-earth” (for want of a better phrase). Even the slight humour style is something so “local” (although some issues have been over-used by various productions).
Technically, the ‘special effects’ were pretty good, using black as a cover for the many “floating” objects here and there, and the play of props and lighting and positioning to create the ‘spaces’ as well as the “adult-child” ratio even though the cast were adults.
The shadow play portion was quite interesting to be included and it was like Emily’s battle with cancer.

Now to the story.

Written by Chong Tze Chien, staged by The Finger Players, what seemed like a family dealt with many tragedies, Poop tells of how the mother, the wife and daughter (Emily) deals with the suicide of a man. As if fate has no sympathy, the daughter is struck with cancer, which makes the family having to deal with death again. Can one really ever know how to deal with it?

To me, there seems to be a contrast between a sudden death, i.e. the suicide, and a slow death, where the family could “prepare” for death. The reactions are different as in the former; there is the lingering “ghost” with all the questions and feelings of sudden loss and ‘lost’ with no real closure. The latter however, is like a journey, no uncertainties, all you can do is move forward and decide the next course. And notice how it ends when Emily dies and the grandma says she can’t sense her.

Then there’s the part about facing the truth. The grandma, thinking it’ll make the family happy, tells Emily that her father wasn’t really gone, but was residing in the various objects around. Emily, as young as she was, believes her and starts imagining all the objects around her as her father. This whole “pretense” actually makes the whole family more miserable as they become trapped by the memories, the attempts to keep it alive, but never really moving on. It had to take Emily to finally raise the question of why the father committed suicide to have both the grandma and mother face/tell the truth (finally some consensus). The eventual outcome was that they all came to terms with the man’s death, and I believe some closure in a way. I guess it’s like poop? “Constipation” is bad for health.

Although Jeremy commented on the humour seeming a bit “out-of-place” in this ‘serious’ drama, I think it was actually quite appropriate if the mood was not intended to be “dead serious” as
1) it’s meant to be in the perspective of a child (or so the synopsis says), and
2) I think it actually gives one a sense of “relief” and brings the audience to something more hopeful after death.

There are probably a lot more things to discuss, but I shall stop here.

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