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The Guilty Ones

Think cabaret, with singing and dancing, bright lights, short skirts, a myriad of crimson and black and a pair of bright yellow eyes watching as the drama unfolds. This year, Stage 52 a co-curricular activity (CCA) under the School of Film and Media Studies (FMS) of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), drawing inspiration from the sexiness of Moulin Rouge and the raw, unadulterated essence of growing up of Spring Awakening, decided to go with something a little more risque for their second annual production, The Guilty Ones.

As the lights dimmed in the new Musicbox Theatre in NP on the 10th and 11th of June, the magic began as dancers swayed their hips and barmaids twirled around tables to serve a group of men who they might’ve just wished had never stepped foot in their bar.

Through a story of love, rape and regrets, The Guilty Ones sends the message that no matter what trials come your way, there is still hope. For a team, whom many are first timers, and with no external help, the end product was definitely more than anyone had expected.

When one thinks of student productions, most of the time we picture a minimalist set and props, basic make-up and costumes, minimal lighting, basically, minimal. But to the Director, Joshua Brandon Cheah, 19, a Year 3 Mass Communication student, this musical was all about breaking boundaries. “The whole theme and setting of the play may seem a little risqué for a student production that is being staged in school, but we have to be professional about what we are doing.” he said.

None too shabby for a student production.

A musical set in the 1920s is no easy feat. To get the look of the 1920s, the Art Department had a lot work cut out for them. With such an extravagant script, an extravagant set with a revolving stage definitely put the script to the test. Let’s just say, these students went all out, and even hung glittering lightbulbs from the ceiling to create the glitz and glam of the 1920s.

However, with a beautiful set and a compelling script, the technicalities did not do the play justice. The wireless mics gave off plenty of feedback and sometimes, the actors couldn’t be heard. Instead of using mics, they should’ve done without them entirely so the audience wouldn’t get so distracted. But other than that, the play was carried out excellently with the actors trying their best to perform and stay in character despite the circumstances.

Not only does this play break the boundaries of the stereotype of student productions, it also goes to show that all is not lost in Singapore’s art industry. It is a common misconception amongst many Singaporeans that the arts sector in Singapore is lacking in talent but with youths like Joshua and his team, who’s to say that we don’t?

Alessandra Cory Marcelo

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