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Atomic Jaya

October 28, 2013

Atomic Jaya

Event: Atomic Jaya by Checkpoint Theatre
Run: 24 Oct – 1 Nov 2013
Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre
Written & Directed by: Huzir Sulaiman
Cast:  Karen Tan & Claire Wong

A Splitting of Atoms

I can’t help but wonder about the symmetry used in the play. The symmetry of the set, down to the 7 by 7 overhead lamps, the symmetry of the costumes worn by the actresses, and finally the way the 2 “mirrored” each other, especially when both played the protagonist, Mary Yuen, in a synchronised manner. I tend to think it was like they were like an atom, but then again are in two, like a splitting of an atom, as was the whole point of nuclear fission and atomic bombs, as was the context of the play.

An updated re-staging, the story tells of Dr. Mary Yuen, a physicist who finally gets a break in using her expertise to create an atomic bomb for Malaysia. Amidst the stereotypical and sometimes silly comrades, she soon has doubts about the purpose of such a bomb despite her “brain is big but life is small” ambitions.

I must say, it was a commendable feat for both actresses to play at least 8 characters between themselves, interchangeably. Except for a few slips in the lines (it was hard work, with so much dialogue going on), each character was easily defined and recognisable by each of their delivery; accents, mannerism and all. Especially hilarious was the Minister/General who gave some of the most “smoky”  responses that seemed quite out of point. Then there was the segment with ‘Mr Teng’, where a translation was ‘performed’ from Cantonese to English by the use of their dual personnel in rapid fire sales talk mania.

The only singing portion was hilarious, like some national day song with talks of tourist attractions, and the irony that atomic sites have become as such in other countries.

Plot-wise, it was an entertaining farce where political digs were treated light-heartedly in humorous “incorrectness”. It however, addressed some moral obligations, though in a mild manner, mainly through Mary’s character. We see some decisions are made just for the sake of making them or to just fulfill selfish ambitions, overlooking the consequences. Anyway, everything was an all’s well that ends well ending and everyone was happy with not too much damage done. The only thing though, was maybe because of how similar some of the references could fit into Singapore’s context, which made me occasional confused. Other than that, the show makes for some good humour.

The show runs till 1 Nov and tickets can be bought at SISTIC.

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