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Casting Back

October 21, 2012

Event: Casting Back (as part of Esplanade’s “Dedicated to You” festival)
Venue: Esplanade Theatre Studio
Run: 13 Oct 2012, 3pm and 8 pm

Written by: Robin Loon
Directed by: Casey Lim
Cast: Nora Samosir and Christina Sergeant

Memories are like journeys. A journey through time, a journey through space, a journey with friends.

Nora and Christina brings us on a journey through their 30 years of Singapore theatre history, with anecdotes and memories of people and times; of rehearsals, performances and the people they’ve worked with. Through their reminisces like two old friends chatting, we were engaged in the accounts as well, of venues (some already gone and some I never knew), of people dearly missed, of memorable roles played, of reviews good and bad. It was an intimate kind of sharing, some funny and some heartfelt, and though not all the contexts were familiar to me, I liked the way it helped us remember people and places we might have forgotten, or create memories that we now share. I thought it was great catching a brief glimpse of working with people like William Teo, Tay Bin Wee and even Ong Keng Sen, and why people who do theatre, do theatre. Even though it seemed like off-hand sharing, there was still a kind of structure to what was being shared. Given their rapport and storytelling skills, Nora and Christina easily kept us engaged during the performance.

Besides the stories of their personal experiences, another storyline was interspersed in between segments as the actresses “sailed” through the ‘Land That Rained Fire’, ‘Land of Forgotting’, ‘Land of Faulty Light Cues’ and the ‘Land of Shipwrecks’. Personally, I felt it was symbolic of the struggles, trials (and errors) in the journey through Singapore theatre. The ‘Land of Forgotting’ in particular seemed in quiet reference to certain political barriers. The story seemed also to represent an enduring cycle of the need to persevere on, even when it seemed they have come back to point zero. Well, at least that was my interpretation.

The play was a nice tribute to who and what had shaped Singapore theatre. It was asked if it was important to remember or share these memories, and if people cared. Well, I believe it is, for these are little things that may not be recorded anywhere, but adds that other dimension of history which would otherwise be forgotten in times to come.

“Memories are such strange friends. We relish them thinking they will put ground under our feet. Treasure them, they become treacherous; Let go, and they surface with their many selves, all mashed up.” – Casey Lim, the director


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