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“Metamorphoses” by COLLAB Theatre Ensemble

October 10, 2010
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Event: “Metamorphoses” by COLLAB Theatre Ensemble
Venue: Substation Theatre
Run: 7th Oct – 10th Oct 2010

The first thing that greets you as you enter the Substation Theatre would be the fairly large round pool (yes, a pool filled with water) that has been installed right smack in the centre of the stage.

This would be the centrepiece, as well as the selling point, of “Metamorphoses”, the maiden production put up by COLLAB Theatre Ensemble, an ensemble of 8 professional actors – Isabella Chiam, Hang Qian Chou, Jasmine Koh, Ghazali Muzakir, Judy Ngo, Daphne Ong, Eleanor Tan, and Tan Shou Chen…who were part of the first batch of Wild Rice’s Young & Wild training programme.

The second thing that greets you would be the extremely cramped seating arrangement which leaves me with absolutely no leg room whatsoever.

The Substation Theatre has the crampiest seats I’ve ever experienced, and I left the theatre 105 minutes later with not a few aches after being stuck in that cramped position for so long…but that is a story for another day.

“Metamorphoses”, written by Mary Zimmerman, is a collection of eight vignettes based on well-known Greek myths, and is directed by Christina Sergeant.

While my experience at “Someday, Samsara” (also directed by Sergeant) left me a little disappointed, I would have to say that the directing for “Metamorphoses” far exceeded my expectations.

Overall, even though I entered the Substation with almost no expectations (I mean, the prospect of a night of Greek mythology theatre by a rookie ensemble wasn’t exactly setting my heart alight), I left being highly impressed and satisfied by the entire production.

I thought the material itself was very strong to begin with.

There is always a certain sense beauty, depth and pathos in greek mythology tales, which is seldom found anywhere else.

Tales which spoke of eternal themes such as love, lust, longing, greed, kindness, and so on.

It was also going to be a play which would suit the ensemble very well, since it offered many avenues for each of them to take lead turns.

Then there was the clever and inventive directing by Christina Sergeant.

My favourite part was when they raised one end of a long piece of rope and it immediately resembled a large galleon.

I can’t really describe how it looks in words, but that was a beautiful sight.

The acting was largely even throughout, with all eight actors exhibiting a certain sense of chemistry and familiarity with one another, as would be expected of an ensemble which has been working together for some time now.

Back to the pool.

They found a way to somehow get the pool involved in almost every facet of the play, some more pertinent than others, but overall I really loved how they came up with the whole concept of the pool being the centrepiece.

I thought it was a masterstroke.

Just that those sitting in the first few rows might have been made to be slightly wetter than they had imagined.

But good fun nonetheless.

In conclusion, I’m very pleased to see a new theatre ensemble taking the plunge and getting its feet wet in the local professional theatre scene, and even though they might perhaps have been a little wet behind the ears, it was not apparent to me at all and I wish COLLAB Theatre Ensemble and its deep pool of talent all the best in their future endeavours.

(I think I just went overboard with the “water” puns in the above paragraph.)

It’s always encouraging to see new theatre companies putting things up, and I think things look promising for COLLAB Theatre Ensemble and I look forward to catching more of their future productions.

You can read this article for more background information on the production.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 10:31 pm

    Sounds like a great play. Sorry that I missed it (was contemplating for a while).

    Have always wanted to read this text of Ovid’s but never got down to it.

  2. Daphne permalink
    October 18, 2010 2:04 am

    Thank you so much for your very positive review and well wishes, and thank you for coming to watch us! We’re always reminded that we do this for the audience as much as for ourselves, and I’m glad you were part of our audience.

    And yes, we’ve grown used to the water puns by now 😉

  3. Daphne permalink
    October 18, 2010 2:15 am

    Oh, forgot to add: if you liked the text for the play, you MUST read Ovid’s poem. We actually did a read of excerpts of David R. Slavitt’s translation of Ovid’s text at The Esplanade, and it is extremely rich and beautiful (written in the less usual hexameter), and has much more gory and at times funny details.

  4. Jeremy permalink*
    October 18, 2010 6:08 pm

    Thanks for leaving a comment, Daphne. Appreciate it.

    Wishing you guys all the best!

Trackbacks

  1. Review: “Metamorphoses” by COLLAB Theatre Ensemble « Random Musings
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