Bayley: "The Innocent"
Buckley: "One for the Angels"
Hullett: "In My Secret Garden"
Morrison: "Sacrificial Lamb"
Drama Feste 1993 was held on 30 and 31 August and it showcased much talent not only in the staging but also in the depth and sensitivity of themes explored in the scripts.
Hullett opened with "In My Secret Garden", which was written by Alfian Sa'at. This script-winning play follows the young life of a Chinese boy who was taken care of by a Malay family. The racial taunts and conflicts experienced by both the boy and his surrogate mother was handled with a raw wit that belies the emotional pain and tension of the characters. Symbolically, the parable of a gardener who took care of a tree that belonged to his neighbour, resonates for the audience the social dilemma of this play. It won also for best actor and best directing.
Bayley's "The Innocent" probes and disturbs the audience. When a little boy was picked up from the streets and brought home by a kind-hearted man, little did he suspect that his world would turn upside down. As the play unfolds, the child's seemingly wanton actions eventually led to dire consequences. What then constitutes 'innocence', the play intends to ask.
Morrison's "Sacrificial Lamb" was an ambitious attempt at examining the abstract theme of individual freedom vs authoritative control: Staged as a Socratic trial, Eu Jin is being brought before the High Council for having written a play that propagates individual freedom. The intellectual recourse did not lapse into cerebral distance for the audience but rather, was given a visually dramatic treatment; the actors literally play out the protagonist's writings, and even take on a life of their own, to question the writer's professed right of control over them.
"One for the Angels" by Buckley, is inspired by a short story about a salesman who convinced Death to grant him an extension on his life, until he is able to make the pitch of his life. However, Death had to find a replacement for him, by midnight, and did so, in a boy, one of whom the salesman is fond of. Invariably he made the greatest pitch of his life, one for the angels, just before midnight.
"Glamoor" from Moor was a bold piece set in a beauty saloon which intends to break the audience's prejudice against stereotypes as well as to bring home the theme of loneliness faced by ordinary people. While brightly staged with realistic props and costumes, and an ensemble that sparkles with verve and energy, the play's serious intention was not lost on the audience and it won the best play award.