Review: forth by make/space

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Despite facing numerous setbacks, including a last minute change in performance venue, make/space has managed to produce a short, introspective piece in their third production that offers (to this writer) an abstract interpretation of the realization of how a friendship has changed over the course of time, channeling their pain, heartbreak and obstacles in life to create a deeply personal performance.

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forth opens with a sequence where the four cast members displayed some interesting movements, including crawling on all fours along the floor, and rapid, sudden trust falls with each other. This was a promising start to the performance, and the girls’ movements felt sharp, rehearsed and deliberate, conveying the sense of a troubled mind amidst the melancholy of the backing Sigur Ros track.

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Although initially appearing to consist of disparate scenes, if we take forth to be a piece that charts the evolution of the relationship between four girls, one can join the dots and formulate a more cohesive plot from the seemingly disconnected scenes. Physical, dialogue-less devised scenes focus on displaying the bonds the girls share, from playing cards with each other, to playfully bumping and wrestling with each other as they deviate from a united attempt at choral humming.

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On the other hand, Alexis Goh Weiying’s esoteric scripted scenes sees those bonds bend and change with time and experience: Anthea Julia Chua and Chantel Foo meet in a park and pretend they’re on a first date, perhaps with some truth to their playful flirting, while Risa Ann Wong and Seah Wang Ling play a strange game of Scrabble, each word taking on a deeper significance when Risa’s character, abrasive and snappish in her speech, has an almost physical reaction each time Wang Ling trumps her previous move. As the girls navigate the new landscapes of their everchanging relationships with each other, the devised scenes too showcase a change in their relationship, as the four fall asleep forming a human chain, yet taking turns to wake up, eyeing the others suspiciously, curiously and wondering if things can truly remain the same.

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In many ways, perhaps the change in venue to Le Danz was a blessing in disguise for make/space. The high ceilings and mirrored walls of the dance studio make for a seemingly larger performance space, and one almost feels a crushing sense of scale as the girls maneuver their way around it. Yet this works to their advantage, as their movements are big enough to allow the audience’s attention to focus on them when performed, but intimate enough to feel threatened by the sheer amount of space that surrounds them, creating a sense of uneasiness that follows throughout the play. As forth comes to an end, the girls come together and wind up freestyling to The Ramones’ ‘Hey Ho, Let’s Go’, letting go of their pain and distance in a final burst of genuine joy and nostalgia.

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As with their previous works, make/space continues to defiantly resist easy interpretation with its enigmatic choice of storyline. Yet forth feels like a turning point for make/space, a production that suggests a sense of maturity, and a step up from make/space’s previous production of Figs, more focused and brimming with a quiet heartache. Staying true to forth‘s message of moving on and accepting change, one imagines that make/space can only continue to grow and develop as the young company keeps on learning, polishing and honing their craft to bring us even stronger works in future.

Photo Credit: make/space Facebook

Performance attended 25/8/17

forth plays at Le Danz (222 Queen Street) from 25th – 26th August  and 2nd – 3rd September. Tickets available here

forth
When: 25th – 26th August  and 2nd – 3rd September
Where: Le Danz (222 Queen Street)

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