Just came back from catching a stage rendition of the story “Closer”, put up by Pangdemonium, with a cast comprising of Adrian Pang as Larry, Tan Kheng Hua as Anna, Keagan Kang as Dan, and Cynthia Lee as Alice.

I watched the movie, starring in the same order of characters, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman. I loved the movie, even if I didn’t remember much about it. It was extremely intense, it made me feel sad and poignant, and I thought it was brilliantly cast, with each actor playing out their role to perfection and with smooth chemistry.

Tonight, watching the stage version of that same story brought back memories of the movie, and hearing the dialogue spoken by local tongues certainly made it easier to comprehend parts that were lost to me during the movie. I felt that the 4 cast members were great stage actors, even though this was the very first time I’d watched Keagan Kang on stage. But, as much as I would like to laud the play, I realised I can’t really do it without reservations. It could be a feeling that is entirely personal, because I still want to praise them for their excellent skills on-stage, but the whole play turned out pretty flat, and it didn’t seem to flow very well from scene to scene. As my friend puts it, there seemed to be this lack of dramatic climax to the show, and as I mentioned about how the movie was before, there was this intensity that appeared missing during the duration of the show, which stretched beyond its expected 90 mins. It started a bit late past 8pm, and with an approximate 15-20 minutes of interval, the last scene ended close to 11pm.

Natalie Portman’s Alice Ayres made us want to empathise with her who was like a fallen angel still with a hint of dark innocence surrounding her, but I couldn’t feel the same from the play. Perhaps that is the difference between stage and screen, it’s easier, with the right editing and musical scores, camera angles and close-ups, to bring across messages that stage acting sometimes can’t portray.

But the positive thing from catching this was definitely the better comprehension of this modern tale of love, lust and lies. There was this line by Alice that said, “It’s a lie. It’s a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully, and… all the glittering assholes who appreciate art say it’s beautiful ’cause that’s what they wanna see. But the people in the photos are sad, and alone… But the pictures make the world seem beautiful, so… the exhibition is reassuring which makes it a lie, and everyone loves a big fat lie.” I thought it makes a lot of sense in our world today, don’t you think?

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