Elsie got free tickets to the Sunday matinee of this local Chinese musical If There’re Seasons… (天冷就回来). She asked me to go with her. I thought it was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon at the Drama Centre.
So, what did I think of the musical?
I enjoyed it overall but there was a vague sense of dissatisfaction after the curtains came down.
I spent the next few days mulling over the reasons behind that feeling.
What’s wrong? What’s not to like about If There’re Seasons…?
The songs were great. We are talking about Liang Wern Fook’s songs… songs from a time when my youth means invincibility. Such nostalgia. It is hard not to like the production.
The cast was great. George Chan (as 阿乐 Ah Le), Joanna Dong (as Rose), Sing Chew (as 静 Jing), Robin Goh (as 阿强 Ah Qiang), and the supporting cast sang and acted so well.
Singapore has great actors and singers (ok, Sing Chew is from Malaysia, but she became famous in Singapore).
The set was simple and well constructed.
Drama Centre was cosy and I have a comfortable seat with a great view.
So I’m left with the story. But it’s not the story per se.
It is the scenes… one scene in particular.
Let’s start with the gist of the main story.
Ah Le lost Jing his girlfriend to illness. He bade her farewell at the cemetery and flew off to New York to get away and to see if he can further his musical talents abroad.
He arrived in New York and met Ah Qiang and a group of Singaporeans working in a cafe. They were also budding musicians. He started working there too. He met Rose, a Singaporean girl who frequents the cafe, She is an aspiring actress aiming for Broadway.
In time, Rose developed feelings for Ah Le but Ah Le was slow to accept her. He kept thinking of Jing.
Finally, with the encouragements by his co-workers at the cafe, he decided to accept Rose only to find out that Rose has agreed to accompany a director to Las Vegas in exchange for a role. It was the big break she was waiting for. She wanted Ah Le to wait for her.
Disheartened, Ah Le packed his bags and returned to Singapore…to Jing.
2 months later, Rose turned up in Singapore, at the cemetery where Jing lay and asked Jing to let her take care of Ah Le.
Ah Le came and found out that Rose didn’t accept the arrangement. She came back to Singapore to look for him instead. She has chosen love.
Happily ever after.
A simple story right? But a good story is told through the scenes. And I thought one scene weakens the whole plot significantly.
The problematic scene: Ah Le expressed his feelings for Rose and Rose discloses her plan to sleep with Robert the director in exchange for a part in his show.
To me, if Ah Le was in a dilemma over his attachment to Jing and his newfound attraction to Rose, he seems to have overcome it quite easily without much struggle.
Again, if Rose has very strong feelings for Ah Le, she should have found it impossible to tell Ah Le about the exchange just when he confesses his love. How could any woman who just received the love confession that she yearns so much for break such an awful news at the next moment?
She could have just kept it from him. He doesn’t have to know. That would have been more natural, but it would affect the storyline.
So, this scene spoiled it for me. It wasn’t convincing.
A sort of disengagement from the story occurred. That’s not nice. I want to be swept off my feet and go where the protagonists go. I want to come out of the theatre in awe and be made speechless.
It didn’t happen and that’s why I was dissatisfied.
But I’m glad to know that many people didn’t have my problem and enjoyed the production tremendously.
Phew, I finally got it straightened out and out of my system. Now, I can move on.