男男自语 (A Language of Their Own) - Singapore Arts Festival 2012

An experiment that barely passed. Or should I say a borderline fail? Looking at the show itself, the story may have been groundbreaking and titillating back then, but in the current time it lacks bite. As such, the script, not the (dated) plot, needs to engage the audience. This brings us to the Chinese translation. The translation works due to the beauty of the language. The rhythm and cadence of the tonal form is well suited to convey the emotions. However, it fails in its literal translation. Furthermore, there is a striking discordance between the setting of Asians in America lamenting their culture and identity yet speaking in Mandarin. Which leads us to the standard of Mandarin by the actors. Other than Oscar, the others were passable. If the production was by Taiwan or China, perhaps the aural pleasure may improve the experience. The only effective scene in Mandarin was when Robert compared relationships to language. Lastly, there was also a visual dissonance lbetween the Actors and their Characters, particularly Robert and Ming. There were some good one liners and witty zingers, however the soliloquies and monologues got too trying. Less is sometimes more, and this is also where the ?deliberate lack of physical contact may have been detrimental to the show. Oh, and I hate long epilogues. Lighting and blocking needs improvement too.

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