Ong Keng Sen’s “Lear Dreaming”
The kids in front of us had slouched, yawning tremendously, into their seats in the School of the Arts (SOTA) auditorium. But i absolutely adored Ong Keng Sen’s Lear Dreaming, as did several neighbouring individuals who, overcome by emotion, had started sniffling toward the end (this had nothing on the cough-o-meter, which went through the roof with spurious coughs throughout the performance).
In brief, i liked:
- the amazing competence of everyone involved in the production – not fusion for the sake of it or fusion to hide inadequacies in performing traditional arts to expected standards, but a coming together of people already well-versed in their own art form to produce a beautiful symphony of tonal colour and narrative texture,
- Noh master-performer Naohiko Umewaka – an immensely tragic figure,
- contemporary pipa exponent Wu Man – a purple feather has never seemed so evil,
- leading vocalist in traditional Korean court music, Kang Kwon Soon – astonishing control of vocal chords,
- Rahayu Supanggah with his ensemble of gamelan musicians – that little comic foretelling of doom and destruction,
- electronica expert Toru Yamanaka – almost seamless melding of sounds with live performance,
- Scott Zielinski’s green laser lights that depicted a sea in which the King drowned,
- Hanson Ho’s visual play on Chinese characters.
A good end to my Singapore Arts Festival run for this year. Wasn’t able to stay for the post-performance talk because i had to pack for the beach holiday. (Bag weight and space could be more than halved if i hadn’t grown (old enough) to prefer some creature comforts while on vacation!)