Sunday, June 04, 2006

Death and the Ploughman, Singapore Drama Centre

Rating: 1110.50
"The moment we enter this world, we are old enough to leave it."

Sometimes I forget how fragile human life is and it takes three people, a stage and $20 to remind me again that one of these many days will be my last.

I caught the final show of SITI Company's performance of Death and the Ploughman at the splendid Singapore Drama Centre. These actors flew in all the way from America as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2006.

Death and the Ploughman was written in German almost 600 years ago by Johannes von Saaz and was translated by playwright Michael West.

This is a serious debate (trial?) between Death (as in the grim reaper) and a ploughman who has lost his wife. The first scene alone had the ploughman throwing non-stop curses and expletives at Death for taking his wife. I've never heard such well mannered cussing that seemed to last forever!

The script has a lot of "gems" of wisdom and i wish i brought a notebook with me so i could write down those lines! There's a lot of ear candy and was littered with a lot of what I call litany-style speech which is enumerating all the different ways to refer to something as if reading from a list.

I specially liked Death's discourse (who was by the way, very dapper in his suit and bowler's hat!) on the duality of everything-- how if you want love, you must also be ready for pain and after pleasure comes the absence of pleasure etc...

In my opinion, it's the script that makes this play. You could actually close your eyes and just listen to the dialogue that was delivered with such power and conviction. I was even pleasantly surprised when Death broke into song! His rough, gruff voice doing some bluesy riffs was a refreshing interlude to the dialogue. Death's take on women and marriage brought chuckles from the audience but the Ploughman put up an equally strong defence!

This was pretty deep stuff so I had to concentrate so that I wouldn't miss a thing. What I couldn't quite get was the significance of their movements along the stage-- slow-motion, with what seemed to me as ballet inspired twists and turns with the actors rarely seeing eye-to-eye.

Three and a half pawikan points-- plus points for the great delivery of lines and how the play got me thinking which led to some pretty intense introspection while on the MRT on the way home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

interesting, makes me want to watch it too... did it make you think about death? or having a wife? hehe