Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review of Wild Boar at Silk Road Rising

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Wild Boar. It was written by Candace Chong, and the Chinese to English translation was by Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith. The adaptation was by David Henry Hwang. It was directed by Helen Young. It was about a man named Johnny (Scott Shimizu) and he worked for a paper with his old professor Ruan (F. Karmann Bajuyo) and Ruan's wife Tricia (Christine Bunuan). They are investigating the disappearance of a famous journalist, Mu Ne (Fin Coe). Johnny has had an affair with Tricia, and is now interested in an old girlfriend, Karrie (Emily Marso). It is about bad decisions, freedom of speech, and deception. I found this show confusing and because of that I wasn't able to invest completely in the plot and many of the characters, but I enjoyed some of the performances.

One of the biggest problems with the show was the metaphor that gives the show its title. It seems like they were trying to make a metaphor out of the wild boar, which Johnny hunts with his friends. But the problem is that I can't figure out what it means. And if it isn't a metaphor, then the scene of the boar hunt is sort of useless. I was thinking the boar was maybe Ruan and how his life has been threatened before, but I don't see how that relates to Johnny or his setting the boar free or how Ruan is wild. Maybe the boar was supposed to be Mu Ne because some people didn't think he existed, like they thought they couldn't find wild boar anymore, but we never find out what happened to Mu Ne or if he even existed. So that still isn't a satisfying metaphor. It could be a metaphor for things suppressed by the government, but then they never really succeed it setting those things free. In this play they explain everything at great length, which wasn't always interesting and it didn't always make stuff clearer. It felt like they were trying to cram as many things as possible into the play, so the ending doesn't address the questions asked at the beginning because they've moved on to other ideas.

Tricia, I think, is a very complicated character, and I think Bunuan did a great job making me have sympathy with the character while seeing all of the character's flaws. She has cheated on her husband many times, but you see that she wasn't getting enough attention from her husband, so she felt lonely. It still wasn't the right choice, but you could see how she felt abandoned. I do like how she said what she wanted instead of waiting for some man to sweep her off her feet. And it seems that when she was younger she said what she wanted instead of cowering. Even though her husband was older, he was what she wanted and she didn't care what anyone thought. I do wish her character in the play had been defined by more than her relationship with men, but the actor is very clear about her character and her characteristics, so you can guess what she would probably be like in other situations that didn't involve men.

Your understanding of Karrie changes twice in the play, and I thought that was very cool and that made it so you were eagerly awaiting what she would say next and what new opinion of hers would be revealed. She has this really heartbreaking monologue, where she was talking about her child and the struggles of being a mother. It was delivered just beautifully. The actor really pulled you into her character's life and I'm sad we didn't get to see more of this character's story. Her character seems to change a lot right before the act break, and I really believed her transition, but it was still very surprising. She was talking about how she was so poor and she liked the government's plan for putting poor people in a city underground because it was better than where she was living right now and they might be able to afford things down there that they couldn't now. I can see why she might be tricked by a plan like that because her life is so terrible now, and she thinks, maybe this is a way I can make it better.

People who would like this show are people who like puzzling metaphors, underground cities, and women saying what they want. This show has some great performances, and I am looking forward to what Silk Road does next.

Photos: Airan Wright

No comments: