Armed with the lionised Singa, “Bags Down” Beng and “Move In” Machik, Invasion presents itself to be a didactic perspective on common societal issues.
At its core, the concept is amplified into a fungal epidemic to bring upon metaphorical mynahs and nation-wide vaccination – all symbolic of Singapore’s growth and the adverse consequences that fall upon the generations.
Under the guide of theatre guru Sharda Harrison, the strength of Invasion lies in its theatrical antics, brought out by its physical genre with a good injection of colloquial jokes to keep the audience involved through its hour-long performance.
We hear different viewpoints from taxi uncles to the working class, all “affected” by their situation. From “Bags Down” Beng’s viewpoint, development is detrimental when it comes with internal competition — take for instance, one plate of food between two groups of starving people. If the first group finishes the plate the first round, the second group will do the same without hesitation. The other alternatives include allowing both groups to starve, or both groups to fight for the plate… wait, what were they talking about again?
While the development may seem choppy, its entirety works when one understands the play’s intentions. The reflection of the paralysed lead, Damien Pang, leads him to confront the past and present of his “homeland”, whether it is a rejection of his father’s brutal treatment towards mynahs or an acceptance of the deadly infection, and even this is passed off as him “standing up for Singapore”. An ironic climax comes about when all too familiar spokesperson stands on the stage and proclaims, “More people! More money! More good! More!” At the end of the day, this is a passive servitude we embody in our (cough) citizenship.
The comical highlight is clear: the mind-reading session conducted by the courtesy lion and scientist, completed by tennis balls and furniture demonstrating their jest. The almost seamless flow of balls to translate Damien’s state of mind works against the outbursts of deconstructed acts, animalistic dance sequences and introspective phone sessions.
Perhaps because this is the fourth and biggest production of Bound Theatre so far, a local initiative held up by a group of nine who want a place beyond their secondary school’s drama club, the blunders are justifiable. It would be better to see Invasion as very ambitious, and yet, oddly apt to kick off the SG 50 year.
Invasion was held from Feb 13 to 15 at the Drama Centre Theatre. You can check out Bound Theatre’s page for future productions.