Post Curtain Call:
Tension- that was the one word to describe the atmosphere before the dress run began. It was a low buzz of seriousness under the near-explosive bursts of emotion that I’ve come to expect from thespians. The fact that we were enclosed in a smaller, intimate space only reinforced the intensity of the scene. I could tell it was going to be an interesting dress run.
Technical issues aside, the beginning was abrupt and captured my attention at once- a fighting match that starts off the whole piece, rather symbolically, is soon pursued by another fight of sorts. While there were some awkward moments at first, the acting eventually levels out and we see rawness in the conversations held before us. There was one scene midway that had me struggling to comprehend what was being said by the (bawling) girl, and another where the fine line between emotion and clarity in dialogue was wavering- but otherwise delivery was organic and without affectation.
Use of modern music was at times ingenious, and at other times questionable- would it draw away from the seriousness of the subject matter or would the audience find more understanding through the familiar tunes? Use of props was minimal but done well.
While the stories were very interesting, one may question if the issues were perhaps being handled a little too lightly at certain points. Co-directors Kenan Yeh and Wendy Wong do in fact reiterate that this effect was intentional; the writer muses that perhaps this was to avoid overwhelming the audience. The plotlines are a series of complex and rather relatable issues, and although not weaved together as the audience may expect, they will in fact meet in the end.
Factual points of each piece were thoroughly thought out, and it shows- the characters’ reactions may be shocking, but not unrealistic. I certainly found it refreshing to see tragedy not purely for tragedy’s sake. Perhaps one may say it was more of an open sharing session than a regular performance. There is a message in this piece, a message that can be boiled down to one word: “listen”.
All in all, it was an emotionally-charged night, and SCABS promises to both educate and enlighten audiences about the plight of the modern youth.
*Featured image taken from director Kenan’s instagram (@keanniepoo)