About 2 months ago, my desire to gain some knowledge and appreciation of the arts available in Singapore became quite strong. I want to be immersed in some of the finer things in life, and I thought perhaps I could start with the theatre and performance side of art. But I was conscious of my lack of knowledge in the arts and worried if I’d be spending my money and then not understand a thing happening on stage.
Then I chanced upon the synopsis for ‘Drum Tao – the Rising Phoenix’ and I knew this would definitely be the first concert I attend at the Esplanade!
The day finally came! I watched it on my own, but wished the Man could have watched it with me. Nevertheless, being on my own also gave me the chance to observe, form my opinions, take in the sights and sounds, and thoroughly enjoy the performance without the need to interact.
As this was my first ever concert at the Esplanade, I went overboard with the instructions to be seated at least 15 minutes before the start of the show. I was in the theatre 25 minutes before 8pm, the slated start time of the show. I ended having to shift my legs so frequently in order to let the other patrons get pass to their allocated seats. I was doing that till 2 minutes before the show! Hello? Being on time was not to be taken literally you know.
The air in the theatre was slightly foggy, and the lighting was so ‘romantic’ that any photograph taken with the mobile phone was crap and not worth trying anyway. So I just sat there, absorbing the atmosphere, watching people streaming into the theatre. Well-dressed couples, normal couples, families with young children in tow, and ordinarily dressed singletons like me made up the group mix for the show.
Finally, the show started. I was immediately separated from reality and sucked into the beautifully choreographed scenes brought out by the movements of the performers and the rhythmical beats of the drums. My heart began to follow the beats of the drums instead of its own rhythm; every beat of the drum resonated throughout my body and my eyes were fixated on the beautiful performers on stage. I drank in the appropriate positioning of the performers and the lighting, and the flowy costumes accentuated the gracefulness of the performers.
The male performers were muscular yet lithe; the females were svelte and graceful. It was a perfect blend of yin and yang. The playing of the musical instruments – drums of various sizes, flutes, cymbals, shamisens and zithers combined to lead me along the journey of the performance. The costumes were not very colourful and visually stimulating, but that allowed me to focus more on the music and energetic moves of the perfomers rather than be distracted by the costumes. That said, the costumes were stunning in their simple colours (white, silver, black, then blood red for the finale) but intricate details. Again, yin and yang. Perfect.
Despite the mostly serious ambience of the performance, there were moments which had the audiences in guffaws, and the moments were quite well timed to give the audience a break from the melancholy. I would have preferred the entire performance to remain sombre though.
The performance ended on a high, with the performers waving their thanks to an almost full-house standing ovation. I was still reeling from the passion exuded from the performers as I staggered out of the theatre, joining the hundreds of patrons filing out of the exits.
I walked out of the theatre, and into a vibrant, lively Esplanade. There were so many people who were out enjoying themselves on a Friday night. There were also free performances at the Waterfront. Friends chilling out, and couples basking in each other’s company under a wonderfully clear night. Children who were still wide awake and prancing around. Boy, shouldn’t you be in bed now? Right, they are not my kids. Shut up.
As I made my way home, walking past the lively crowd and beautiful lights, I dreamt of how the Esplanade would have made the perfect dating spot if the Man and I were still dating now. Life has moved on for us though; no use thinking of the what-ifs. But I will definitely be back, and the next time, I hope I would be able to enjoy the time with the Man…