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Rant & Rave: A Preview

April 20, 2014
(Photo credit Tuckys Photography)

(Photo credit Tuckys Photography)

Event: Rant & Rave by The Finger Players (as part of The Studios 2014 season)
Venue: Esplanade Theatre Studio
Run: 1-4 May 2014
Directed & Written by: Chong Tze Chien
Cast: Janice Koh & Karen Tan

A re-staging of the 2012 production, we were generously invited to watch the rehearsal of Rant & Rave, an imaginary forum recounting the theatre history of Singapore. Having watched the first staging, I was curious at how different it’ll be, with a new pairing between Janice Koh and Karen Tan (previously it was Janice with Siti Khalijah). To be honest, it was a great recap for me of the production even though it was just a viewing of Forum 1 (Act 1).

Forum 1 discusses extensively on the search for an identity for Singapore English Theatre in a post-colonial Singapore. What is a local play and how should it be acted or written? Language played an important part not just in its use, but in its articulation and reflection of Singapore’s culture and identity. There were the bad attempts (which were heavily ‘thrashed’), but there were also the breakthroughs that redefined Singapore theatre. Archival materials culled from various newspaper publications were used to create these discussions on art and society.

The beauty of this play was how the content was pieced together in a coherent manner that flowed and made sense as it brought you through the stages of development. Not just that, the excellent portrayal of the characters (practitioners, critics, arts administrators and officials among others) brought them to life on stage and would more than draw a smile or nodding on your part. Expect to “see” Kuo Pao Kun, Krishen Jit, Max Le Blond, Sasi, Ong Keng Sen and more. You can also experience a different dynamism in this new pairing of actors.

Teaser: A short chat with Tze Chien revealed a more enriched Forum 2 & 3. For a crash course in Singapore theatre history and its development in a refreshing and engaging way, you’ve got to watch this.

Rant & Rave runs from 1-4 May at the Esplanade’s Theatre Studio as part of The Studios season this year. For more information about The Studios, please visit


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