Take Me Out

Richard Greenberg's Tony Award-winning, Pulitzer-nominated black comedy comes to Singapore. And it is rather surprising considering. Yes, there are homosexual themes and gratuitous male frontal nudity, but there was nothing overtly sexual involved. So, we should be thankful for small things that it even made it to our shores. But then again, the lacked of advertising may also have contributed to the barely half-full theatre on a Friday night. Pity. The other half of the theatre was missing out on a play that is still relevant to our times, even more so in Singapore, despite it being first staged in 2002. 

Superficially, this penis-fest - as the producer, Tim Garner, himself describes it - utilises baseball as a metaphor for Life and Religion, and Homosexuality as a surrogate for all social inequality; but on a deeper layer, it explores themes of bigotry, friendship and society's responsibility for its basest members. With an international cast, this rojak (is it a Singapore-production? Or a NZ production?) production had good actors (standouts included Hayden Tee, Chris Bucko, Tim Garner and Kynan Francis) and a good director (Peter Lucas). However, it was let down by poor lighting and, possibly, a lack of orchestrations (didn't Andrew Llyod Webber win a Drama Desk for this?). Lead actor, Juan Jackson, is a fine example of the male specimen, but at certain scenes his connection with his character's seemed very tenuous. The conundrum and emotional conflict that he should be experiencing was absent. Hayden Tee brought the most consistent laughters in his un-self-conscious, cheekily closeted flamboyance role. The words of Greenberg was smart and witty, double entendres aplenty but yet sharp, piercing and honest at times.  

Understanding a bit about baseball and the mentality of sports fans will definitely enhance the enjoyment of the play, but it's not really necessary. However, the total alienation of this particular sport to an average Singaporean may also have contributed to the poor attendance. Sure, the male nudity is there to titillate. but other than a small minority of the LGBT community, and an even smaller group of straight people, I doubt it really is that much of a draw (from a financial point of view).


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