Saturday, November 19, 2011

Games for playing and plays for watching

Finally, after a long drought of worthy PC games available on the market, suddenly the floodgates have opened and now I am spoiled for choice. Great timing too, 'cos I would have been too busy to give any of the above much attention anyway. But once this week is over and the year starts winding down, there's enough material here to keep me off the streets and out of trouble. XD

Caught the 'Richard III' last night with Mel. Very efficient presentation using minimal set. Just a quick arrangement of a few furniture elements to depict spatial and power relationships between the players make amazingly diverse scene changes quickly.

'Richard III' is usually played to test the boundaries of the Elizabethan Era M18 rating for violent content, though the violence was mostly sanitized by abstractions in Mendes' version. Here, the plots laid bare by Kevin Spacey playing Richard III reveal the inner workings of a twisted supervillain's mind, and seeing how they pan out in reality is what's fun. The bodies are really just a foregone conclusion.

Dark humour abounds with the juxtaposition between lines laden with intense drama and snarkily casual asides. It shows the awkwardly human cracks in the many social masks that Gloucester (a.k.a., Richard III) deftly switches between on his painful and bloody climb to the top of the Royal heap.

Great play, glad I caught it. But the real drama of the evening took place right after curtain-call with Spacey halting the applause to pay a personal tribute to his high school drama teacher whose early mentorship encouraged the development of Kevin Spacey, the actor of stage and film that we know today. Oh, did I mention that said teacher was seated in the audience with us, having flown in from Taiwan to audit the performance? Yes, that puts a context to what would otherwise have been an odd outburst onstage. And with the tribute came a rallying call to continue supporting Arts Education in school today! Can I have an "amen" to that, brother?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Left behind

What do you say to the kids who have found out that their final grades don't permit them to move up to JC2 along with their friends in the coming year? In a system that thrives on its rigour, education here inevitably brings about casualties. In situations like these, all I can do as CT is to help the distraught adjust to their situation and encourage positive thinking so that they can bounce back from this, their first truly major setback in life.

Honestly, it is better to face retention in JC1 now than it is to receive an unsatisfactory grade at the 'A's in JC2 next year. Although that's not very comforting right now, there is wisdom in the statement.

I wonder if I should tell them about my own horrendous experiences as a student of their age? I've not decided yet whether that would cheer them up or depress them further.

Meantime, the kids who are movin' up have to deal with survivor's guilt. I have an emo class.