Friday, 19 October 2018

The Tragicomedy of Errors 錯誤的悲喜劇

Caught the opening performance of The Tragicomedy of Errors at KLPAC on Thursday. Personally, I'm excited any time I get to attend a show happening in Pentas 1. 
Due to the mismanagement of the theatre personnel, two theatre companies were forced to rehearse at the same place. One rehearses the poignant play about an interracial relationship that was separated by the borders during the modern history, while another story was adapted from one of the greatest poet Tao Yuanming’s comedy– A depressed and anxious fisherman trespassed the Peach Blossom Land by accident, isolated from the troubled world yet insisted to go home. As the two groups struggle for control of the stage, resulting in chaos and numerous comic squabbles, their contrasting worlds begin to come together, creating surprising new layers of meaning that are tragically moving and comically erroneous. (KLPAC)
Huge cast, since it's two shows in one
Quite the turnout for opening night despite the rainy weather, walaupun tak full house. The lobby was busy, but not exactly buzzing. Ticket collection was  painless even though I was stuck behind people maybe trying to get last minute tickets at the box office. 

I suspect that there were a lot of Chinese-educated people in attendance, with only a handful of non-Chinese people or Chinese educated present. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just saying... I wonder how many people were having their first KLPAC experience this very night.

Personally, I'm not familiar with the Chinese speaking entertainment side of things to be stoked about anyone I should know but don't. Miau Miau I knew of, but don't follow her work (Some of the floral arrangements in the lobby outside Pentas 1 were for her). 

I was seated with a bunch of Chinese speaking (I want to say college...?) students, who were busy trying to take the perfect-lit wefie in the dimly lit Pentas 1 before the show started and were giving their two cents about the first half during intermission (they unanimously seem to prefer the slapstick-y Chinese production). A couple of them picked the worst possible time to move seats - as the lights were going down post intermission. 

In case you were worried
you were at the wrong show..
Because it's two different productions (Malay drama and Chinese slapstick-y comedy) on one stage, they take turns "dress rehearsing", so you're getting two shows for the price of one, but it just means that you'll be in your seat for a quite a bit. I probably should've checked how long the show was beforehand, and I forgot about the 15 minute intermission. 

The Peach Blossom half of the show I kinda got without the subtitles, but it would be nice if the nuances were better captured in English. People laughed at the slapstick. 

I'm kinda glad that both "productions" did not have ambiguous endings. That said, I don't know what business does Miau Miau's character have being there to start with (she was looking for Liu ZiJi), since we find out that she's with NEITHER company. Maybe she's in her own one-woman Waiting for Godot

I kind of forgot that Vernon Adrian Emuang was in the show until he showed up in the last half hour or so as the janitor trying to clear the room. 

It might be a bi-lingual show (Malay and Mandarin), there's trilingual subtitles overhead should you need it. Personally, someone could've better spellchecked the subtitles, but that's easy to overlook.

My bigger peeve was that the subtitles could've been better timed to sync with what was happening on stage -  the action on stage was happening faster than the overhead subtitles. I noticed and I'm saying this as a Chinese educated banana. 

Those niggles aside, I thought it wasn't too bad. 


Cast and crew taking their bow.
Excuse the finger.
If you're so inclined, you can probably still get tickets to the rest of the run, going on until Sunday's matinee performance.