The Weight of Silk on Skin (2015), Review

The Weight of Silk on Skin
11 April 2015, 8:00pm

Review

Worth the weight

Thought monologues were boring? Think again.

It is very, very rare that you come by a one-man show that keeps you riveted to your seat from start to finish. So excuse my excitement while I announce that this is indeed one such occasion: Adrian Pang delivers a scintillating performance in this play that is absolutely top-notch.

The Weight of Silk on Skin is a monologue detailing protagonist John’s unadulterated hedonism, in things and in life. Already in his late forties, John muses at the start of the play if he should attend a charity event where he would likely bump into his first ex-girlfriend, Anna. He then recounts his life together with her, back in New York.

Playwright Huzir Sulaiman’s script won Best Original Script at the Life! Theatre Awards 2012, and for good reason: it is at once poetically crude and crudely poetic; eloquently lascivious yet startlingly high-minded with the final revelation. If there is ever a model for transnational plays, this is it: The Weight of Silk on Skin straddles Singapore and New York, effortlessly transitioning between them with silky lyricism. Huzir even manages to slip in Wildean aphorisms like: “Sometimes, the most exciting part of a marriage is the real estate.”

But the star of the play is none other than the man himself, Adrian Pang. Although Huzir did write this script with Ivan Heng in mind for the part of John, Pang steps into the role for this re-staging with verve, and delivers a sensational performance. Pang traces his character’s trajectory perfectly: arrogant and playful as the alpha male at the start, but slowly revealing his vulnerability as he yearns to return to his first love; at all times maintaining his witty snark. This performance runs the gamut of emotions, and Pang runs with it: his cynicism as a middle-aged bachelor, his anger after the breakup with Anna. Pang even shows off no less than four accents.

Credit must also go to set designer Wai Yin Kwok and lighting designer Lim-Yu Beng. The set is exquisitely furnished, with glossy sheens of opulence. The lighting too is equally impeccable, with the background of the set achieving a magical transformation from black to red to cyan, all through the use of lighting. Kudos to director Tracie Pang for orchestrating such an incredible combination of stellar elements – this is a five-star performance that should not be missed.

Sometimes, you get a team of artists that are all in their prime, hitting peak form at just the right moment. The result? Pure magic. Poetry in motion. This re-staging of The Weight of Silk on Skin is perfection, redefined.


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