by Christopher Liew (15S06E)
<且行且珍惜> (pronounced as qiě xíng qiě zhēn xī), meaning to appreciate as you walk on, was the theme of CLDCS’ latest stage production.This year’s installment of performances offered a cornucopia of audial and visual delights, entertaining the audience with a unique blend of drama and music. This was further topped off with shots of delightful humour, all on one stage, lighting up the performing arts centre with yet another impeccable production in this season of arts & aesthetics. Living up to it’s rather ruminative title and theme, the show showcased dramas and songs which drew upon the emotions of romance and friendships that we might experience in our lives as youths, inciting anyone to ponder over the relationships we already have as we march on through our lives in junior college.
Perusing the programme for <且行且珍惜> I found it strange how they had decided to have a <歌创> (Songs) segment right smack in the middle of the show. What I found even stranger was their decision not to amalgamate <歌创> and <戏剧> (Drama) into creating a single fluid and homogenous piece. To be frank, I had a tinge of uncertainty and anxiety, for fear that the production would turn out rather disjointed, but also great curiosity on how they would bridge the gap between the banks of <歌创> and <戏剧>. Thankfully, my worries proved to be unwarranted.
The show began with the curtains pulling open to a white screen, with a couple of pseudo James Bonds creeping out from behind the curtains.Their entrance only excited the audience as livened up the atmosphere using a humourous micro-skit to tell everyone to switch off all mobile devices and enjoy the show. Following which, the screen behind flickered to life showcasing a mini documentary on the makings of the show, complete with cast interviews and short snippets of self composed songs, piquing the curiosity of the crowd gathered at the Performing Arts Centre.
With all the teasing out of the way, and the mood up, the show began proper. The night started off with a light hearted drama set in the Qing Dynasty <清朝>, entitled Existence or
<存在> , bringing onto stage a beautiful set encapsulating elements of the era itself. <存在> follows the story of ābùlǔbā <阿布鲁巴> who serves as a note taker for the district court and the curious case of an altercation between a aristocrat and a fruit seller on a street over a broken vase. The play stayed true to its context with its script and the complements of exquisite traditional costumes, but takes a turn in a different direction by adding contemporary elements, as well as injecting pockets of humour throughout the drama which effectively stripped away the bore and monotony that might entail with its historical setting. In one instance, a character by the name of nàlǎn <纳兰>, a Caucasian businesswoman, spontaneously erupts into catchy lines of promotion, something you and I would hear on a television commercial. <存在> executes with great finesse in the areas of entertaining and captivating the audience with clever wit and dramatical humour, and proved to be thoroughly reinvigorating after a long day. However this was at the expense of the play’s protagonist, ābùlǔbā <阿布鲁巴>, and the theme of existence faltered in the course of the story.
The show continued on with the performances of self composed songs by the CLDCS members, the stage had now becoming a platform for the CLDCS members to effuse their emotions through song and lyric, with many of their songs showcasing sombre melodies and lyrics on heartbreak and relationships. The segment began with ‘Horizon’ <天边> sung soulfully by Zhou Si Hui (周思慧). The song conveyed the emotions of a girl who does not have the confidence to confess to a guy she really likes, but what topped it off were the nuances in the tone of her singing which made all the difference. Following it up was probably the most memorable performance entitled ‘Love Bento’ <爱的便当>, which entertained not only with its joyful tunes, but the many hand gestures and actions employed by the duo on stage to accentuate the lyrics of the song. The next few songs brought about dynamism to their musical repertoire with an ensemble consisting of a guitar, bass, piano and drums accompanying the vocals for songs like ‘XX’ <某某>. All in all, the emotional singsong of this section of the show set the tone for the next play, <好人卡> or ‘The Good Guy Card’, which would bring on a wave of emotional turbulence.
~PLAYLIST FOR THE NIGHT:
1) 天边 (Horizon)
“You’re a good guy, but…”, this is the play titled ‘The Good Guy Card’ <好人卡> in its very essence, one which tells the story of rejection and heartbreak. The play centered around a good decent young man, Wang Xiao Wei, who is exasperated by his twenty years of being single, and often being rejected by girls with the cliched “You’re a good guy, but…”. However, after the final straw, he throws away his ‘good guy’ persona and is compelled by his casanova of a friend to learn the ways of picking up girls. The results of his new skills help him get closer to the girl he really likes, but he loses himself in the process and becomes ignorant of those who really appreciate him. Things take a step further in the opposite direction for this former ‘Good Guy’ as his love life turns awry as he discovers that the girl he likes was already in a relationship with one of his good friends. The play was executed with precision to detail as well as tip top acting by the cast, especially during its most dramatic scenes, like the ‘slap scene’, which was delivered with finesse, courtesy of Liu WenQian. Despite the plot seeming rather blasé, it was made up for by the acting and the small details carefully thought of by CLDCS, such as tunes that were sung by Zhou Si Hui during the transitions between the scenes, making the play progress smoothly.
Their entire performance caps off with CLDCS’ final song, <心中歌唱>, as the cast, musicians and singers took to the stage for their last piece of the night. The audience reciprocated with resounding applause, congratulating them for their wonderful performance. <且行且珍惜> was the culmination of countless hours of hard work and grit, where many of the cast members often rehearsed and prepared till ten at night in the weeks before, just for this night alone, putting everything aside solely for this presentation. It is without a doubt that CLDCS did not fall short of an excellent performance this year, which had both the cast and audience smiling cheerfully from ear to ear as the night came to a close. Now, we can only wonder what CLDCS would do in next year’s production to top this one.