It seemed promising: nice, professional looking poster. Cute girl. A simple storyline to look forward to: girl meets boy, they fall in love. No heavy concepts to swallow on a nice Saturday night out with old friends.
My verdict after watching? As the blog title said: It was horrible.
There, I've said it, honest truth, swearing on George Carlin's grave (RIP, you funny man). I'm sorry, Shaiful, there's no other way to put it. This review, coming from me, doesn't matter whether I've not dabbled in theatre in such a long time. This review, written not as a friend with nothing but praises, but a member of the audience.
Now allow me to explain my displeasure.
The girl, allergic to the sun, runs freely in the open, only when the monsoon seasion arrive.Where's the logic in this?
And so the 15 year old Sophelia is allergic to the sun, and only "run freely in the open" when the monsoon season arrive.
Erm hello, I'm not some science student and never will be lah, but SRSLY, from what I know in my almost 24 years of existence in Singapore, the concept of Day & Night is still in the works for Planet Earth, even during the Monsoon season! The sun will still continue shining over the pouring rain and dark clouds and what have you, so no way, NO friggin way would a girl supposedly allergic to the sun be allowed to run freely in wide-open fields when the Monsoon season come. But the girl dies at the end of the show, so.... it could have been all that running she was doing in the pelting rain.
The lead characters talk a damn lot in the rain
Sophelia meets Adrian, 15 years of age, aspiring weatherman, who plays with his handmade Anemometer in the same wide-open field as Sophelia, the same place where they talked, played badminton, and fall in love eventually with each other's quirkiness: Sophelia's home-schooled and doesn't have any friends. Adrian's the geek adorning the obligatory geeky glasses. Everything supposedly happened in the horrible weather.
SRSLY, have you guys ever tried having a conversation with a friend IN THE POURING RAIN?!: your hair gets into your eyes, your clothes get soaked heavy, you get damn short-fused because you are a Singaporean that carries a million electronic gadgets that happen to be not waterproof (camera/handphone/mp3player/laptop/
Let's just say, I'm all wrong about what I saw: you can't exactly re-create a rain scene in a live theatre performance. "They could be underneath a sheltered place! Or covered walkway!" you could argue. Aye, come on, tell me lah, who will go and play with his wind-speed measuring device in the shelter, huh?!
And another one. "They could be meeting each other at night, what!" Let's go back to the concept of Day & Night, shall we? You mean the home-schooled Sophelia wasn't taught Science, har? If Nightfall occurs every single day, why the fuck does Sophelia only come out during the Monsoon season when she could have came out anyday during night-time?
Everything could be condensed into perhaps an hour
2hrs 30 mins was about how long we sat there: the length of a Bollywood movie, without the song and dance sequence. And in a live theatre show, you are not blessed with a device called "the remote control". There's no "fast-forward" button, you see, to skip through really forgettable parts.
Act 2: apparently Adrian's father died in Act 1, and it was revealed at the start of Act 2 on how he died. A bloody long monologue by Adrian's Mother & her eulogy, dedicated to a character that hardly formed an impression other than the role being taken by the rather hamsum Taufik. A bloody long monologue, that, if taken out of the play, wouldn't affect the storyline at all, other than giving the girl who was acting as the Mother a chance to drama-mama-wayang-wayang abit.
What else can you remove? Remove the cheesy pop-culture references (Rihana's Umbrella). Remove Adrian's parents: their characters are pointless & doesn't move the story forward. Remove the guy that hangs around with Adrian, because a "popular guy" like him would never hang around with a geek like Adrian. Remove Sophelia's doctor: yes Shaiful, you would like to have a small part in every play you direct, but only Quentin Tarantino does it perfectly in Pulp Fiction as Jimmy. Remove that big fat guy (sorry,Aishah) that is supposedly the future Adrian, because squeezing such cheap laughs from us doesn't fucking help improve the show in the end.
Kill your Sound & Lighting Crew, lah
Yes, we can save alot of time if we could have a faster fade-out in changing the scenes. And Sound, make your music "fade-out", don't cut completely. It's irritating. And since the play is called Monsoon, I didn't hear a drop of rain, but I have aplently of thunder instead.
And yes of course, she died.
Sophelia died. Yes, of course she died. Somebody/bodies in Shaiful plays always die. But we don't know why. It's not explained. But of course when we watch theatre, we're expected to make educated guesses or come out with our own conclusions: the girl has XP and she died from all that accidental exposure to the UV Rays. Or a heartbreak. I don't know. And now I don't really care.
The Saving Grace
Praise teh Ceiling Cat, we have The Saving Grace: Chong Yi Han, one of the playwrights, stole the show, acting as Sophelia's grandmother. Clearly, he wrote for himself the best lines as well: how very sneaky of him.
Other than that, there were some cheesy lines in the script which had the audiences roaring with laughter, and me going "this is so lame" and Audrey going "Yes, you did have a lame leg" and Joyce going "now Rashad has one" and roared in laughter in our own little show at the back of the theatre.
Okay, fine. Let's be forgiving, and look at the whole picture: the guys that put this up are a buncha youths. They don't get paid to do this. They apparently rehearsed in three weeks, whilst some of them serving NS somemore. I only paid SGD$8 to watch this. No way should I expect it to be some professional theatre stuff, right? Not quite true. I've been to school productions and gone "wow, this is good!"
And Shaiful has been doing Yellow Chair Productions for almost 2 years now, but I'm still watching stuff which is of the same quality & cheesiness as I've seen from two years ago with Tainted Flower.
Okay done. Now hit me with Hate Mail.