by Megha Bhattacharya
The world of 2020 brought about a lot of changes in the world. One of the most interesting changes has been to see the power of art and creativity; art flourished in the constraints of movement. One such piece of art is Toy Factory Singapore’s Still Sailing – Affection, Infection, and other Afflictions – a digital theatre presentation written by Andy Pang.
The play is a story of two strangers in neighbouring cabins in a cruise ship and their relationship, camaraderie, and soul search while being stranded on the ship amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19. What started off as an uncomplicated story of a twenty-something girl & a twenty-something boy next door, the play took us on an engaging journey across different themes and talked openly about a lot of topics we usually just brush under the carpet especially in Singapore.
Joshua, a compulsive gambler, runs away from home to tackle his debt woes while his seemingly brazen neighbour, Cindy, strikes up a conversation in order to beat the boredom of the ship. It was very refreshing to see topics like rape, consent, gambling, toxic relationships, addiction being portrayed with an undercurrent of satire yet honest and thought provoking.
The production, in spite of being very simple, very creatively let the characters and their stories be in the focus. Taking the advantage of this being a digital theatre, a lot of emotions and flashbacks were tackled tastefully with really good editing work. Actors Marc Valentine (Joshua) & Tan Rui Shan (Cindy) played a myriad of characters with natural ease and very convincing accents.
What stood out is the versatility of the actors and their representation of the diversity in Singapore – from an uppity heir of a hotel chain to a bubble tea stall owner raised by a single mother. There were some really delightful tongue-in-cheek dialogues and the screenplay kept the audience rapt with attention. Though I’d have liked to see the usage of more sound and music to depict the mood of the scene better.
All in all, it was a great watch sitting right on our couches – taking a journey through Cindy & Joshua’s complex yet heartwarming relationship while they try to find their anchor in the troubled waters of COVID-19 and their life. Highly recommended to anyone searching for a ray of hope and comfort during this time!
Still Sailing is running until 6th December 2020 (Sunday), 11.59PM.