Monday, May 30, 2005

If Giants Stand Taller

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

- Sir Isaac Newton

I just spent a pleasant Saturday night watching ACJC's "Camelot". As a lau chiau, the grandeur of Camelot did not suprise me one bit. Suffice to say, I've seen worse overseas productions brought to Singapore. If ACJC were to go on tour tomorrow, I'd gladly give up my day job to join them as a groupee.

The three centrepieces of the production were nothing short of inspired. Lancelot, played by Jared Kok (whom I've worked with before) depicted the arrogant, convicted yet vulnerable Lancelot with equal parts of passion, skill and comedic timing. Shue, playing Guinevere flowed from young maiden to canny stateswoman to forlorn lover with subtlety and nuance - if you blinked you'd miss it. Leon, playing Arthur, encompassed the essence of the boy-king, idealist-philosopher, and defiant loser against destiny's cruel hand.

There are three others I thought especially noteworthy.

I've worked with Hansel, the actor playing Pellinore. He displayed his growth as an actor with his canny performance of Pellinore. As a bonus he was by far the best singer of the lot (Postscript: Was reminded today he's got some serious vocal training). His comedic timing and stiff upper lip kept the production from taking itself too seriously.

Modred was suitably evil and conniving - an excellent counterpoint to all the goody-goodiness in the play. I've never worked with Razor, the actor - I know him solely by reputation. However, it appears his reputation preceded him. Bonus fact - he appeared to be the only one who was truly comfortable with the repainted bokken they used as stage swords. I suspect he's had some kendo training.

My greatest kudo's however, must go to Lady Anne, a role played by a young actress named Audrey. Lady Anne was not a big role, or did it have many lines, but Audrey made every moment she had on stage count. Her stage presence and excellent delivery enhanced the production in the manner a thread woven deep into a tapestry would - the vibrance of the colour may not show, but the strength lent to the tapestry as a whole was just as important.

In short, Camelot reminded me of what it meant to be ACJC Drama.

Yet, memory plays tricks on the mind. For a few precious moments, with the cast on stage, I heard shadowy voices and saw blurred faces imposing themselves over the young actors and actresses. Faces of former comrades that have sweated and bled on that stage. The ones that have come before. The ones that I stood beside.

I realised after a while that, of all the faces I saw, I did not see my own, nor did I hear my own voice. The humbling bittersweet tang of truth filled my awareness. It was sheer arrogance to think that I could stand among giants. Yet, once, some years ago, a man did stand among giants. Like Audrey, I once tried to hold a tapestry together. Perhaps that is why I identify so much with her performance while simultaneously being humbled by it. She does what I did, but she does it so much better.

On Saturday I have seen the giants of posterity. My chest fills with pride that I call ACJC my alma mater, unworthy as my own performance was. These giants stand tall, occupying far more than I could have reached. Yet, they stand on ground pressed firm, stomped flat, and nourished by the efforts of a mere man, and many other mere men that have come before.

I could not be more proud.


brrip said...

david didnt play arthur it was leon...

Anthony said...

My mistake brrip. You're right, I got the name wrong. It is indeed Leon who played Arthur.

Zen|th said...

I love that quote.

Anthony said...


It's one of my favourites too.