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“Blackbird” by The Singapore Repertory Theatre

September 17, 2010

Event: Blackbird
Venue: DBS Arts Centre
Run: 15th Sept – 9th Oct 2010

Whenever I hear the word “blackbird”, I think of the lovely Paul McCartney song.

Anyhow, the play “Blackbird” sings a completely different tune.

It is written by Scot David Harrower, and was a winner of the 2007 Lawrence Olivier Award for Best New Play, no less.

This particular production stars Emma Yong and Daniel Jenkins, and is directed by Tracie Pang.

It would also be the same ill-fated production that was slated to open on 6th March this year (hence the wording in the pictorial above), but had to be postponed till this week due to the unusual circumstance of actor Patrick Teoh (initially cast as the male lead) declaring that he felt he was unable to fulfill the demands of the role.

And after watching the play, one could probably see where he was coming from.

The play is essentially a 75 min depiction of two people – Ray and Una, and their encounter in what looks like an extremely filthy and under-maintained pantry of a small run-down office building.

After 15 years of being apart, Una comes looking for Ray at his workplace and hence begins the process of truth-seeking, confrontation, confession, and closure(?).

They had once maintained an illicit relationship, and have been made to suffer the consequences ever since that fateful period 15 years ago.

What transpires next is a series of chilling twists and turns as the details of their sordid past begins to unravel.

Credit goes to Daniel Jenkins for digging deep to produce an extraordinarily layered performance.

I thought he played it masterfully.

The play was both fascinating and intense.

It asked the usual questions that surround most plays that deal with illicit affairs – Who is the culprit? Who is the victim? Who has suffered more? Is there necessarily a clear-cut right and wrong in the relationship?

I liked how Harrower slowly teased us by choosing to reveal morsels of new information into their history as the play moved along, thus ensuring that the audience is continually kept alert and engaged.

It is essentially just two people in the same room for 75 mins, but truth be told, it never did feel that long.

The play is extremely powerful and hard-hitting, and after it ends it feels as if you’ve just taken a big blow to the head.

One of the more engaging plays I’ve seen in awhile.

One thing I couldn’t really understand was the significance of the title “Blackbird”, as I had not heard it being used in the play at all.

But that’s just me being ignorant.

I recommend you go catch the production.

It was opening night tonight and the turnout was barely past 60%.

I think “Blackbird” definitely deserves better patronage than that.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. shakirrah permalink
    October 11, 2010 1:14 am

    Well I just found out from another review that Blackbird is British slang for ex-convict. In the Bible, these birds pluck out the eyes of evil-doers. In other mythologies, the creatures are omens of peace.

    Just thought I would share it with you. Awesome review by the way! 🙂

  2. Jeremy permalink*
    October 11, 2010 1:52 am

    Thanks Shakirrah! Much appreciated.


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