Saturday, August 05, 2006

Alchemy Haven

Midmorning on Saturday, chemistry practical laid out in the process of exquisite compilation. It is strange, to say the least, how doing something as conventionally frustrating as a practical report can be so cathartic an experience. The very nature of the report requires extensive didacticism and serene, precise organization. The very normalcy of such a feeling inspires a sense of comfort and confidence within the confines of one's labour, and the care that one places in the mathematical precision required by sets of calculations is a testament to an unbridled love of order and organization as needed in all the myraid things of the earth.

Organization, minimalistic elegance and unfettered simplicity are the attributes of the day, a fitting counterpoint to the chaotic mess of school life and the excess of acronyms that must be painstakingly adhered to and paid to by services of pliant lips.


Which brings me to the next topic, Haven. A mildly entertaining spectacle of sincerity, a concatenation of laudable effort, a commendable debut of directorial diligence, diffidently delightful dancing, dames, (dowdily dressed), drawling daintily dulcet duets, and nicely drawn backdrops.

I'll spare you the details of the plot, which is rather conventional. Suffice to say that Haven was not as bad as I thought it would be. The dancing was not bad, some of the songs were quite good, veering off the all-too-common NDP-esque medleys that I feared might dominate. The acting was fine, barring the irritating didacticity of the speech, and the flatness of some of the dialogue. The play is sharply divided into two halves in terms of mood - one half is at once relaxed and comedic and features prominently white-clad Indians and Joshua Hoe. The other half takes itself too seriously, is overbearingly preachy, and features Abraham, Pastor Jo, and Victor. But in all the play and the actors acquit themselves well. Abraham exudes "goodness", the Victor guy the opposite. The girls, as usual, acted and sang like they were born to it. And perhaps they are biologically conditioned to acting, being better able to express emotion. Victor sang like he was in a boy band, words slurred, shaking a fist at the world. I suppose that was somewhat appropriate.

One thing I didn't like was the way Christianity was inserted into the play. Granted, there's an obligation, but the way it was done was rather explicit and excessive, with all the "good guys" being Christians and the evil or maladjusted characters being non-Christians. There was also that joke about Shiva, which I thought was insensitive. It seems to me that Haven is trying to portray Christians as possessing all the moral ground. This was unlike Godspell, which expounded on the virtues Christ embodied, which was good, because it is evangelism based purely on the positive values that Christianity possesses, and not the negative values that the rest of the world is apparently drowning in.

The Japanese soldiers were well acted, especially when they were conversing in (faux?) Japanese. I had feared that the Japanese were going to talk in some hackneyed imitation of a Japanese accent. They don't, except the Japanese commander, who spouted a few English phrases in a Japanese accent thick as molasses and authentic as far as I could judge, being unacquainted with the intricacies of the Japanese way of speaking. Which is a good thing, in any case.

All in all, a reasonably enjoyable experience, although I wouldn't watch it again. I shall see how others make of it.


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