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Best Of” by TNS

January 31, 2013
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Best Of

Event: “Best of” by The Necessary Stage (M1 Fringe Festival 2013)
Venue: Esplanade Recital Studio
Run: 24-27 Jan 2013
Written by: Haresh Sharma
Directed by: Alvin Tan
Performed by: Siti Khalijah Zainal

In a monologue supposedly themed on being the “best of” TNS years, director, playwright and actress brought together an engaging piece told through pure expression of speech and acting, without the distractions of theatrics; just Siti, on a chair through the whole time, playing a young Malay woman of today going through a divorce. It was really storytelling at its basics.

The monologue was a culmination of interviews with Siti and others, and for someone who was, and still is unfamiliar with the Islamic law, I found that it presented the audience a peek into the possible conflicts of the law and modernity. It could pertain to any religion, belief or social system, but it touched on the kinds of social prejudice the realism of life and society may bring.  Even though it was simply a telling of the character’s single, but crucial day, it proved powerful in its delivery and perchance to let one ponder. In between the going-ons of the day, she interjects with her beliefs, struggles and reflections.

A storytelling without the liberty of ‘physically’ getting into character, Siti did very well even by just sitting and talking. She brought the character into her own, creating a character so real that had me wondering which part was her story, which part was others.

One of my favourite references was when she talked of her interior design aspirations and the advice her boss gives her – that she should design not just on the surface but in view of space; ‘surface’ is only decorative, but ‘space’ means living. An enlightening statement that we should know, but not often said or realised. Also, there was a kind of paradise notion going on, maybe religious, maybe on an individual level. And it’s something we seek isn’t it? Will the character begin a new life in the new day based on the day’s happenings? I hope so.

I enjoyed the piece, only that I found the ending was slightly abrupt with her mention of leaving the hospital. The audience was slightly uncertain if they should start clapping at that point when she paused and eventually left the stage. But of course, we gave our applause.

 

 

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