By: Kendra Ng
Henrik Johan Ibsen is often referred to as the father of realism and to take on his plays requires a sustentation of constancy. Our Company – a Singapore theatre collective did an adaptation of Ibsen’s classic: A Doll’s House in June at the Drama Centre Black Box.
Weaving together the themes of deception and love; Our Company’s adaptation hits close to home. The ever-lingering question of whether you are really in touch with life is a constant on a general level in Singapore. Life in Singapore is sheltered and the pressure to have it “all put together” is a constant. Akin to being in a pressure cooker; the question of what will happen when problems that are evaded have to be faced is eminent.
Playwright Michelle Tan makes Ibsen’s play her own through her razor sharp wit and keen observations of the struggles that belie the security and happiness of Singapore. The adaptation is interlaced with the climbing of the corporate ladder, domestic struggles and therapy sessions. The intrinsic value of relationships and the commitment required as well as how trust and deception are divided by a thin line is constantly highlighted.
Dear Nora has well defined syllogisms. KS Yeo takes on Thomas who is seen reading letters to Nora throughout the play bridging the original ending to the chain of events. There is a stark disjointed flow in text as the occasional mix of colloquialism interspersed with the original scarcely embellished text does not settle in well together.
Collectively, Dear Nora was enjoyable. Ethel Yap (Nora) , Ellison Tan (Christine) and Andrew Mowatt (Dr Rank) stood out amidst their counterparts and drew you as they built onto each other’s characters and responded in kind.