Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Swimming Instructor

A few friends and I watched the play called "The Swimming Instructor" yesterday.

The story is about this very Ah Beng swimming instructor called Guan who became the object of attraction of an ambitious marketing executive (Dave) and a spoilt rich girl who is sexually aggressive (Jan).

I suppose the attraction of the play is the unspoken expectation of lots of exposed flesh (checked), ripped bodies (checked) and nice swim wear and apparel by Bods Bodynits (checked).

Shallow as I am, I did expect a heavier and more intriguing story then I was splashed served with.

The scenes seemed patchy. The so-called innovative video which showed the thoughts/past/flashback of the characters, didn't seem to bring anything new into the story. The video scenes could easily have been incorporated into or implied in the live acting.

Guan does not seem to know what he wants and is confused about his sexuality. He kept mentioning about his fiance whom left him five years ago. There was also a best friend (Tong) in his past who confessed his love for Guan and which he rejected. Tong was found dead the next day and Guan has put the blame on himself.

It was unclear from the play whether the fiance was a woman or Tong and the fiance is the same person.

Dave has no time for relationships because of his career and his bad experience in love. He doesn't want to put himself out there and get hurt. He is attracted to Guan, but resist from acting out his desire, even though Guan has shown subtle interest in him.

Jan, whose parents are no longer in love with each other, as the father brings different women home often and the mother indulges in her own affairs to get back at her husband, is afraid of commitment because of parents. Deep down, she wants someone to love her, yet is afraid to commit and thus chooses physical intimacy over emotional solace.

The object of both their affections, Guan, however is still a believer in love and wants to find someone for a committed relationship.

There were a few sexually exciting but gratuitous scenes: heavy make out scene between Guan and Jan and Dave's naked shower scene.

This was a restaging of the original which was performed in 1999. In the original, Guan was almost asexual and there was no obvious interest in either Dave or Jan. It was more intriguing, as the audience was left wondering who did he like. Finally, Guan left for Australia without making his affections clear.

In the latest reincarnation, he was both attracted to Dave and Jan, but more to the former. The ending was to me, a cop out and didn't make sense. Probably to keep to the spirit of the original where no one was chosen, Guan drowned when he did one of his usual sink-to-the-bottom-and-last-as-long-as-he-can routine.

Acting was good all around, even though the three leads were first timers. Guan however was a little too loud; he seems to be shouting all the time in his portrayal of an Ah Beng. Though his chiselled six-pack abs did distract me a little from that weakness ;P

In short, it was quite a disappointing play. I was expecting a meatier plot. The eye-candy can only do so much, as it still boils down to the story.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10


William said...

Even skin couldn't save it? I'm shocked...

Andy Kuramoto said...

It does sound pretty boring indeed.. I think the only thing you can really do is.. watch skin o_o