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Unlike Some People

September 26, 2010

The show opened with a rather dysfunctional group of “friends” who were essentially taking cruel digs at each other. The atmosphere is tense, menacing and upsetting. One might attribute it to the bitterness of the terminally ill Jo (Grace Soo) but it seems the characters had always been so, probably hating each other.

It took a rather strange (and supernatural) dramatic turn at midpoint, which I at first recognised as angels of death, or so I thought, but not likely because they asked “are we too late”? Maybe angels of comfort since they closed with a comforting picture to Sam? Truth? Somehow though, I had the impression that maybe it’s making reference to some mythical personalities like from Greek mythology. It could have been due to the reference to Roman legends made earlier. They seem to be set to confuse everyone; their appearance stirred up mess, yet catapulting the play into its climax of “reality”, friendships and the like.

It was all very strange to me and not sure if I was missing something, I went in search for more info on the original play, Lady from Dubuque on wikipedia, which didn’t help much. So here I am, trying to make sense of this whole course of events.

Maybe I should look at the structure. Starting each act, the play addresses the identity question “who am I” or “who are you”. And in the end, the identities of the Lady of Dubuque aka Elizabeth (Yin Mei JJ Lenden-Hitchcock) and Oscar (Faizal Abdullah), her companion, were still vague. And she left the stage with the words “I thought you knew”. Maybe in his heart, Sam (Johannes Hadi) knew, but didn’t want to face the truth. Yet, what started as a game in the first act, turned to a loss in the 2nd. No one believed Sam except Carol, Jo didn’t help dispute Elizabeth (who claimed to be her mother) by running into her arms. Chaos. So was it about identity?

Or is the focus on relationships? Relationships between each couple and between friends. Each couple faced with their choices, but who all seem to really love their spouses (or girlfriend). Between friends, all the pent-up grievances, jealousy, selfishness and hypocrisy were unleashed at the end. Years of grinding each other finally took its toil. The truth behind the facade as “revealed” by the 2 strangers (was a spell cast?). Strangely, the only true friend that arose was someone who proclaimed that she was not a friend, and kinder than most (Carol).

But I must say that the Lucinda character (Grace Khoo) really got on my nerves (probably intended since every character didn’t like her), and she seemed the real bimbo as compared to the perceived bimbo of the group, Carol (Elizabeth Loh).

What puzzles me is the show title “Unlike Some People”…with reference to?


So maybe in response to the director’s message – “I might not be ready for Albee yet.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeremy permalink*
    September 28, 2010 9:25 am

    You made a very good point about how the little “who am I?” game which they played at the start of Act I parallels the search for identity in the second act. I had completely failed to notice that.

    And yes, I’m not sure what to make of many things in the play, one of which is the focus – is it the search for identity, or is it the relationship between the six?

    And lastly, yup, I also agree…I just couldn’t really derive much meaning from the title of “Unlike Some People”, although I did remember Sam uttering those words at the start of Act II.

    • September 29, 2010 10:41 am

      You made a very good point about how the little “who am I?” game which they played at the start of Act I parallels the search for identity in the second act. “

      Well, this is my own interpretation. I could be wrong. But I guess a play like this is meant to make us find our own answers.

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