So here’s the rundown of Round Two of MPAC’s Night of Drama!
Essentially a family dramedy, where the humour comes from the ridiculousness of the drama that unfolds over…a bowl of salad? Behind the laughs and absolute absurdity of getting world renown fashion designer, Valentino, involved in your marital issues, the story highlighted some serious issues behind many relationships. Emily, the wife, grows agitated when her husband, Bob, decides to order a bowl of salad during their family dinner. The two get into a heated argument, the tension being occasionally broken by the witty responses of Valentino and the “Are you calling me fat?!” comments by the couple’s daughter. The story concludes with no real resolution, leaving much to be desired, especially since the story ends with you not really rooting for anyone.
I found it difficult to sympathise with Emily or even Bob as a matter of fact. Neither of them were willing to meet in the middle and reach a compromise, making it easy for you to guess what trajectory their marriage would go if this were to persist (hint: the opposite of upwards). All in all, it was a simple and fun start to the night but god I wish Bob had at least gotten his salad by the end of it.
You’re Not You
You’re Not You revolves around a man named Matt who can’t seem to shut out the voice in his head. The voice, his conscience or however else you may put it, confronts Matt for his wrongdoings, accusing him of being the reason why the people in his life had abandoned him. As a way to permanently shut the voice out, Matt, with a gun in hand, then shoots at the voice and it doesn’t take much longer before he pulls the trigger on himself. The show ends with Matt’s ex girlfriend, Drishti’s voice ringing through the room from his cellphone, apologising for how things had turned out to her ex who now lay lifeless across a sofa.
Given the nature of the play, it was hard to predict any other outcome. The voice in Matt’s head served more as an antagonist, indirectly revealing Matt’s dual role alongside being the protagonist of the story. Matt expresses his self loathing through the voice of a stranger, a means of justification to the audience for his decision to end his life. In his eyes, he was all of those horrible things mentioned and more. The guilt had built upon itself and ate away at his conscience before he finally decided to end it, once and for all.
The show is hard carried by the two actors featured, their vulnerability seeping through their honest performances. The subject matter was dealt with tastefully and was by far the most emotional show of the bunch.
Conflicts of Time
Time traveling? Deceit? Murder? All things that made me excited for Conflicts of Time. Skyler, a leading detective, travels back and forth in time – with the help of a magical antique stopwatch to save the victims she had previously failed to save. With the information of their deaths at hand and the ability to travel at least 48 hours into the past, Skyler manages to undo the murders of 3 victims and gains recognition for her achievements. Her success is shared with her husband, Hunter, who is ecstatic for her.
That is, until, he finds out about her secret. Believing it to be against his principles as a doctor, Hunter comes up with a plan that he believes will restore things as to how it should be with the help of rookie cop, Taylor. Driven by jealousy and a need for control, their affair develops into a partnership to take down the detective. Out of all the shows, Conflicts of Time had the most interesting antagonist. Hunter condemns Skyler for disrupting the natural state of life but plays God by dismissing the new equilibrium brought upon by Skyler’s actions by redoing the heinous acts. Taylor’s motivations in helping Hunter with his scheme remains unclear; was she driven by love or did she share the same beliefs? Despite the unanswered questions, a relatively simple story of love and lies had been propelled by the complex characters and non-linear narrative structure, making it my favourite of the night.
The One Where They Sing
Ah yes, the homage to the popular television series, Friends. We are introduced to the oh so familiar cast but not without a little twist! In addition to 5/6 of the roles being played by women instead of the original 3:3, we meet 3 characters (Monica, Ross and Phoebe) through song. Yes, a musical! They had taken the melodies of existing popular songs and had switched out its lyrics to fit the context of the situation.
Additionally, they had performed some songs from the show including Phoebe’s classic, Smelly Cat. A criticism for the show would be how the familiar characters felt a lot less familiar and more one dimensional, showing little of what makes them /them/ besides their names. Nevertheless, it was all in good fun and seeing the crowd (including myself) chime along to the catchy theme song during the final act definitely made the show worth the watch. The only real downfall was not recreating the scene in Season 4 Episode 7 where Ross had shown his mad keyboard playing skills. Alas, you can’t have it all.
What is Milk?
Was the theme of the night “men are trash”? It sure felt like it. Especially with this play. Yet another story about a dying relationship and an affair. This time, however, with the addition of the characters’ conscience, split into two devilish beings who egged on the fears and desires of the characters. Alex is unfaithful to her husband, Oscar, and the man she is having an affair with, the CEO at the company she was working at, with has his own agenda when she tells him that they should put an end to their relationship. A few lies later and a slip of some date rape drug in her drink, Alex wakes up in a hotel room with her boss, unaware of what went down while she was unconscious. By the end, Alex finds herself in jail after having been caught by two police officers including her husband, Oscar, for killing her boss. The true plot twist unravels at the end when the 2nd police officer, Milk, gloats about his participation in the events that went down the previous night. Revenge over getting turned down, Milk says what had motivated him in the violation of Alex. The plot twist is shocking. A bit out of nowhere, perhaps, but it did serve as some shock value.
Two individuals who had stolen the show were the CEO (or Mr. Skeevy McSkeevington as I would say) and the male actor who had played the people’s conscience, who should most definitely look into becoming a voice actor because goddamn, does his voice have some character.
Firstly, Why? Who approved of this? Who said that this was okay? From the title to the poster, I was expecting a melodrama of some sort, another tale of a broken relationship and once it started, I thought that that was exactly what we’d be getting. Except that it wasn’t. It was clear that something was wrong between the two but what exactly was it? You don’t find out what it is he is so angry about and you also don’t understand what her “I’m sorry!”’s were for. The audiences were left in the dark and by the time we had reached this point, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was off.
Oh how I wish I had been wrong.
“You’re not sorry! Your name is Carol!” and with those words, I turned around to see people staring at the stage, with a blank look on their face before their expressions turned sour. The crowd groaned disapprovingly and their middle fingers were thrown in the air. “I want my money back!” my friend says after the reveal, making me laugh. Maybe it was a funny gag or maybe I just have a horrible sense of humour. In a way, it was sort of perfect for them to end the night with something light-hearted by trolling the entire audience but god, did it have to be such a dad joke?
With the semester nearing its end and the stress levels of students skyrocketing, MPAC gave us an opportunity to unplug ourselves from our workload. Students alike got the chance to get lost in a world of fiction, connecting with people whom we were only briefly introduced to. MPAC managed to put on a show (or several) of great quality but more than anything, they offered us outsiders some insight into this club full of fascinating characters. The cast and crew left traces of their hard work and passion all across the stage that night and I believe that there is nothing more valuable than seeing individuals who clearly enjoy doing what they do, especially in the performing arts.