Dubbed as the Me Me Me Generation or the Millennials, we are pretty much known as a thoughtless bunch of youths – reckless, self-entitled and undeserving of the world that’s been the work of generations before. But are all those descriptions really true? If they are, would this be an issue of us rejecting the culture built before, or not being given enough chances to prove ourselves worthy?
After a dramatised reading of the piece last year at Centre 42, The Truth About Lying: Heresy and Common Sense for The Theatre finally brings this discussion onto the stage.
This is the final production out of three for The Finger Players‘ 2016 April season, along side productions The Collectors and Inheritance staged earlier in the month.
Held at the Drama Centre Black Box, this is a co-devised piece of work between the cast members and the director Tan Liting. Featuring stories from theatre veterans and young professional actors, the confessional nature of the performance reveals different sacrifices but the same dedication to the craft of acting.
The performance is kicked off with the cast members, Chanel Chan, Shafiqhah Efandi and M. Haja, appearing in all blacks – the signature fashion wear for rehearsals and acting school days. They then proceed to engage in every day actions, such as doing yoga, before bursting into a Britney Spears dance. And that, would set the tone for how the rest of the night is going to be.
Highly energetic and with a constant flow of role-playing, the entire performance alternates between monologues of their various characters and snippets of interviews conducted with anonymous theatre practitioners. The pace is rather fast, and sometimes, I get lost wondering which story I am following now, and if I missed out on a particular message that flew by me.
However, I must say that the fast changes and evolving on stage kept the energy of the show going even though depth would be sacrificed.
Food for thought is served as every possible scenario is presented – parental disapproval, lack of funds or opportunities and getting underpaid or bullied during the second half of the show. They are concerns that go beyond the assumed glamour and “chase of riches” that most people would associate with the acting career. These pointers are rather eye-opening and I would catch an audience member or two gasp every now and then. Suddenly, in-your-face truths are being spewed and the intensity keeps building towards an obvious climax. Perhaps, the first half of the show is simply a warm-up to this actual start of the performance?
Even though it can thread the thin line of being an endless rant of how unfair everything is, counterbalances are offered through the interviews being read out during intervals. The use of humour was also a powerful tool to keep the audience connected to what the performance has to say.
The set – consisting of a huge centre piece that is a mirror lined with light bulbs – reiterates the narcissism that millennials are accused of having, and encourages the audience to take a good look at ourselves, almost. The open concept set design leaves plenty to the eyes to observe and view the theatre in its truth, with no illusions to back it up.
Partnered with as bold a set as the performance itself, The Truth About Lying: Heresy and Common Sense for the Theatre is a good start to a discussion that the theatre industry should be having now. Even though this is a work that has to be refined further with perhaps, a clearer direction in its purpose, kudos to the team for bravely bringing up a topic that most would turn a blind eye to.
Originally written for Popspoken.