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Thoughts on “Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral”

September 15, 2010
by

Event: Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral <郑和的后代>
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Run: 9th Sept – 18th Sept 2010

What to make of this production?

Let’s just say that a combination of a one-tenth filled Drama Centre, with the overbearing topic of castration (*wince*), with abstract contemporary theatrics featuring ten actors often screaming at the top of their voices in collective disorientation, with a 105 min performance that does not offer an intermission doesn’t exactly make for comfortable viewing.

I was particularly dismayed at the poor turnout.

This was the most empty I have ever seen the Drama Centre in my entire life.

Granted, it was a Tuesday evening, but a one-tenth filled Drama Centre just doesn’t bode well for the state of local Chinese theatre.

Was it the lack of publicity?

Was it the alienating (and discomforting) subject matter?

Was it the lack of a big name cast?

Was it the fact that it was a Chinese play?

Who knows.

But if this is the kind of turnout for a Kuo Pao Kun play, then one shudders to think what might be if it were any other Chinese playwright.

Perhaps the Drama Centre might have been too large of a venue for this production.

As for the production, well…what can I liken it to?

Perhaps it’s like sitting through a Stravinsky piece – abstract, disorientating, terrifying, puzzling and intellectual all at the same time.

Maybe this is what “contemporary theatre” is all about.

Not really my kind of thing, but enlightening nonetheless.

I suppose you could draw a number of parallels from the play, but after awhile it all just became too heavy for me.

Ilkosa is much better at grasping the abstract than I am, but even she admitted that much of the play was a bit too abstract for her to grasp, ha!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. ilkosa permalink
    September 15, 2010 1:15 pm

    Maybe it has been staged too many times?
    KPK’s plays have garnered better turnouts before, so I don’t think it’s really the play (moreover it’s been staged a no. of times).

    It was too abstract that I decided to take what was said literally without drawing references. 😛

    Yah, I felt the repeated “castration” discussion was overbearing (man, what guys in the audience must be feeling).

    “Perhaps it’s like sitting through a Stravinsky piece – abstract, disorientating, terrifying, puzzling and intellectual all at the same time.”

    Erm…I don’t think it can compare to Stravinsky leh. Stravinsky’s pieces can be quite “compelling”, which was absent in this performance.

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