Drama review: Dreamplay: Asian Boys II

Drama review: Dreamplay: Asian Boys II
Production still from a revival of Dreamplay: Asian Boys Vol. 1 by Alfian Sa'at. From left to right: Caleb Goh, Koey Foo, Jo Kukathas, Peter Sau, Rodney Oliveiro.

SINGAPORE - Wild Rice's In The Spotlight festival brings back some of playwright Alfian Sa'at's earliest works, including this first volume of the Asian Boys series, which premiered when he was 23, in 2000.

Dreamplay was lauded as being audaciously risque and provocative, a trailblazer that went where few dared to tread.

So the fact that this play no longer comes across as being incredibly controversial is, in fact, a remarkable thing - a reflection of how gay culture has crossed over from the ostracised margins and into the mainstream. The Singapore stage has given the pink play a place to call home.

Dreamplay unfolds within the structure of an allegory, loosely adapted from Swedish playwright August Strindberg's A Dream Play (1901).

The goddess Agnes (Jo Kukathas), daughter of the god Indra, comes to Singapore on a mission to save mankind. She discovers, with the help of the everyman Boy (Tan Shou Chen), that her terrestrial purpose is to put gay men back on the straight and narrow.

The work comes with raucous gags and easy laughs, and Alfian's early writing is gilded with a wide-eyed hopefulness and a raw lyricism that mixes gleeful camp and brash, in-your-face humour with rather straightlaced (and sometimes dreary) philosophising.

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