[By Bryan Lee Ming Jun]
Every year, Taylor’s Society of Performing Arts brings back their signature event – Sparties Shorties 4SQUARE! From 12th to 15th of October, SPARTans performed to give us the best theatrical experience possible. Through the unique Sparties Shorties tradition, each individual play has their own venue to invoke different tones and emotions that make their world special.
The featured plays were titled: Death, Celebration, Perseverance, Despair and Birth; with the central theme that explores the main aspects from our own cycles of life.
DEATH: Inspired from the film “Locke”, Director Axam Maumoon wrote the play to have the drama centered on the intense dialog between the characters, likewise to the movie. In the first play, we are immediately drawn to this intimate piece on the broken relationship between a father and his daughter, and their reunion after the funeral of the father’s ex-wife.
The play’s setting takes place in Lecture Theatre 20, where the crew sets the environment to reflect the dark and sorrowful tone of the story. Furthermore, their conflicting dialogs drives the audience to analyze the issues portrayed, such as the disconnection between family/close friends, our vulnerability towards other people’s judgement and the denial of our own problems. In the end, this play truly motivates us to fix one’s relationship, stand up for ourselves, and redeem ourselves by improving our flaws.
CELEBRATION: The bright and mellow lighting quickly suggested a more light-hearted theme for this play, as we changed our venue to Lecture Theatre 12. This story explains a homosexual couple’s struggle to live a happy life and their journey to start a family by adopting a child. These are true stories for the LGBT community in real life on complications between legal rights to own a child and how society condemns their public affection. It truly makes the audience rethink the limits of love.
As director Amirul Zain quotes, “The love between homosexual people has more depth and meaning than what society perceives it to be. Love is not just on the surface, but is more than meets the eye, as everyone has a right to be happy and to celebrate.”
Lastly, it is a beautiful tale that could inspire many people to chase your dreams and to overcome people’s judgement.
PERSEVERANCE: Next, the setting is switched to the Experimental Theatre, where the next play features two female casts that are playing the same character. However, that character has her different sides, namely the dark and the light. As she fights with the pain and loss from the past, immense tension ensues between the two actresses as they battle out their inner conflict. Their portrayal of self-harm and depression reaches out to the audience in an overwhelming and impactful manner. The true values of the story teaches us to fight our own problems and to confront our fears of the future.
The play closes with an uplifting message: “Tomorrow will be a good day.” Director Sheryl Lynn expressed that sometimes we may overlook the other side of our problems, positive or negative, it is important to take care of yourself:
“Don’t lose yourself, accept yourself and love yourself.”
DESPAIR: A tale that contains aspects of humor and intense turmoil, Despair is the story of how a man’s idea got stolen from his co-worker for their advertising company, and this causes an emotional dispute between the man and his wife as she convinces the man to stand up for himself and not let others walk over him. He stubbornly argues with his wife as he doesn’t want to admit his mistakes. It depicts the harsh and realistic struggles of relationships, theft in the corporate world and self-reflection on our actions.
The play contained heavy vulgarity to invoke realistic dialogs that we use in real life.
“Vulgarism has been part of our daily conversation, to be our stamp on what we have to say. I wanted to portray a relationship that is more realistic and not the typical lovey-dovey manner, there is always ups and downs.”, said Director Selven Razz.
BIRTH: This story is about an old man that meets a young girl and she teaches him about the life lessons such as the limitations of same sex love, overriding the value of friendship from greed, and the fear of growing up.
To wrap it up, Birth ties together all the previous plays with their existing issues to sum up the difficulties society faces today, and how the death of a generation can give birth to a new beginning.
Director and President of SPART Alex Vorosmarthy explains that: “To have two different generations, one passes away, and another is reborn into a new relationship, for a new beginning.”
*All photographs were taken by Moonis Em