Skip to content

Rant & Rave

May 11, 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

Culled from numerous newspaper archives, Rant & Rave presents the Singapore theatre scene and history as it was presented to the public (through the media) from the various perspectives of adminstrators, the government, the critics and the practitioners since the 1960s.

The play takes 3 angles in 3 forums, cleverly woven with the piecing together of events – 1) Art & Identity; 2) Art & The State; Art & The Media. Forum 1 defines the post-colonial search for Singapore’s own identity; Forum 2 talks about funding and censorship; Forum 3 points us back to the media and the critique system.

What the play does is that it presents to you the ecology of the Singapore theatre scene; how closely linked the practitioners, the government, the media & audience are in its development. You see the discussions, the conflicts, the struggles, the boundaries and the breakthroughs. One of the most inspirational person (portrayed by Janice Koh) was Kuo Pao Kun, whose perceptive and wise words transcends the landscape with an objectivity that stems from understanding the industry as a whole, and as a true artist. He raised questions like “is the arts as essential as education” in addressing the funding issues, and the role of artists in pursuing artistic freedom – “freedom is never given; it is always gotten”.  The industry is always growing and developing, and we keep it alive by way of all these interactions and contentions; through these “ranting and raving”. All play a part, and all skilfully enacted by our 2 actors, switching between characters and bringing us close to the personalities that shaped the landscape.

Probably another point to add is that trudging through the years, the one critic who’s probably still writing for theatre is Clarissa Oon, a reflection of how our critique system is still lacking in reviewers with longstanding background in Singapore theatre journalism. And there is also the question of developing the audience in their maturity to appreciate theatre on a different level, and to make intellectual discourse of issues raised.

As the play drew to a close, one can only conclude how the scene is still growing, and ending with a birthday cake for the present and future, unknowingly, a tear crept into my eye as I was deeply moved when watching the exit of the pioneers who have paved the way for the rise of the next generation – a legacy of the greats, and a future for the next.

An insightful play filled with reflections, nostalgia and questions for the future. A great watch to enjoy and relate to.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: