What If it didn’t stir up this much controversy?

Last week, Dark Light productions debuted with What If, written and directed by Wasaam Ismail and on one blog post a storm of controversy was stirred up. I had been dying to comment for a while, then figured I might as well pen my thoughts.

I was present for opening night and let me just state for the record I was fairly impressed. I honestly wasn’t expecting much, and what I saw on stage that night was rather uncomfortably real and several parts hit very close to home. However it seems that not everyone agrees judging from here and the play, and it’s director has been subject some very harsh criticism.

Let me start by saying some parts I do agree with. The promotions for play did seem to promise a revelation of sorts – a fresh take on relationships and it failed to some extent. However – I believe that most of the audience was able to connect to at least one situation that was portrayed. Whether it was being rejected by someone you love, or jealousy of watching someone you want, want someone else or even the slightly preachy Gabriella whom many of us have in our lives calmly explaining why we are wrong and right. And at the end of the day, art is about putting something out there and hoping that someone can relate to it and connect to it and in this aspect I feel Wasaam was successful.

The set, lighting, co-ordination was brilliant and I think that is very much a testament of Wasaam and the team at DarkLight's extensive experience in theater. They are not amateurs by any means and it showed. I have since been told that the lighting was done by Javin Thomas - he deserves massive kudos for it. It was very well done, very professional. However I do agree with the comment made about, ‘polkudu accents'. At the risk of being a bitch – I for one found it rather irritating to be honest. Also Keyshia Leitch was rather soft spoken and it was a struggle to hear her, which was terribly frustrating. In terms of the kissing, seriously guys we’re going to make such a big deal out of this? Maybe his er technique was questionable but I think everyone is making far to big a deal out of it.

Coming to the comments that the play was actually based on his past relationship, he is an asshole, and blah blah. Look OBVIOUSLY he drew from what he went through and what he knows. But to go as far as to insinuate that the whole thing was one big revenge and fuck you to his ex is a ridiculous notion. He drew on what he knew, on what he had seen and used artistic license. Also as far as I was concerned I thought he was very fair in his portrayal of both Matt and Rachell. You see both sides, you may agree with one or both or neither but it is up to you. You see how selfish Matt is at the end and you also see how rachell struggles to take her space. It was fair and balanced.

One major problem I had with the play was that I felt the talent of the leads was unbalanced. Wasaam far outshone Sam and to be very frank I felt a lack of chemistry between the two. This made the kissing slightly awkward and was a bit of distraction, but to be fair Sam fit her role very well and was quite good in her own right. It’s just next to Wasaam she dimmed.

I personally thought it was a well written and directed piece – perhaps it failed in terms of living up to its hype, but it did remind us of a few home truths that we tend to forget. Getting personal in the attacks is kinda silly and to be frank stupid. There are many improvements that could be made, but overall I enjoyed it a great deal and look forward to DarkLights next production.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Well said :)
chalana said…
i agree crazy shara!! Hehe ;)
Anonymous said…
I think it's easy to to dismiss audiences' negative reaction to this play as being a result of their prudishness. Although that may have been the case with some, I think there would have been far more people rushing to its defense had it been a good piece of theatre. It wasn't.

The fact that people could connect to some scenario in it, isn't a good reason to consider it "art" or even theatre. I didn't enjoy it for the same reason I don't consider an evening watching someone get their tooth pulled "art". Sure, it's cringe-worthy and obviously painful to the people involved, but how is that a useful experience for me?

In the end this play had nothing to say except to run through a series of unfortunate incidents which it seems happened to the writer/director. That's not art, that's just laziness...
A said…
Is there a link to said controversial blogpost?
Sharanya :) xx said…
http://lostqueenrants.blogspot.com/2011/11/uncomfortably-real-refreshingly-honest.html
Opera Ghost said…
True enough. End of the day, what people need to realize is that drama is subjective- an old but surprisingly unrealized truth.

That being said, I too think that all this business of getting knickers in a twist over the making out is a tad absurd. But the kissing which was devoid of chemistry and yes, technique(which is why stage kissing would have worked better) didn't serve any purpose in the play.

And of course all the personal insults going around- completely immature.

Well said, Sharanya :)
Opera Ghost said…
Oh, and the lighting was done by Javin Thomas, not Wasaam- FYI.
Sharanya :) xx said…
Apologies - I have edited the bit about lighting to reflect that :) Thanks for pointing it out!
WristcutterForEver said…
Wasaam has a lot to learn from his predecessors like Seneka Abeyratne, i fear. :/

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