Falling For A History of Falling Things

May 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

The first play of the T4YP season of 2011, A History of Falling Things, opened on 19th May 2011 at klpac Pentas 2. The cast of the play included the T4YP ensemble for 2011; Amanda Tan, Amir Yunos, Devyani Gupta, Kamini Senthilathiban, and Umesh Logandran, as well as T4YP alumni, Yusuf Amin. So how did they fare? A single word is not enough to sum it all up, so let us get more acquainted with the entire play.

The story revolves around two young people, a man named Robin, played by Amir Yunos, and a woman named Jacqui, played by Kamini Senthilathiban. These two young people are part of a small group that suffer from keraunothnetophobia – the fear of falling satellites. Sounds odd? Well, if you watched both of them during the play, you would definitely sympathize with their plight. Both of them meet online and begin a relationship of sorts, aided by computer technology, webcams and a friendly and helpful courier by the name of Jimmy. They are creative at the use of technology, even managing to have a virtual date with one another, complete with a candlelight dinner and dance. Through it all, they never leave their rooms, pink and blue cubicles containing their entire worldly possessions, including the most important item of all, their computers.

A History of Falling Things

Robin and Jacqui in a discussion about their future

Amir Yunos portrays Robin rather well, exuding a boyish charm that is rather disarming. You cannot help but sympathise with him as he explains himself, sharing his hopes, dreams and nightmares. Robin tends to rationalise things, having learnt how to irk his therapist Joan, portrayed by Amanda Tan, with his responses whenever she probes him during their therapy sessions. The therapist bears the brunt of his resentment, yet you cannot help but get the feeling that Robin knows that the only person responsible for his situation is him himself. Robin’s mother, played by Devyani Gupta, makes an appearance early on in the play, fussing over him, yet seemingly unable to give her son the understanding he needs in order to overcome his fears.

Kamini complements Amir well, playing Jacqui with an equal measure of strength and vulnerability. She traces the origins of her fear to an incident in the subway, when she realised that she was the only one who was paralysed with fear and not filled with emotions of justified rage. She manages to come across as a young woman who misses the simple things in her life before her fear set in. After meeting Robin, she discovers the strength that she lacks, and with the support from her father, played so well by Yusuf Amin, becomes determined to retake her place in the world.

A History of Falling Things

Kamini and Yusuf sharing a tender 'father and daughter' moment

Amir and Kamini are a delight to watch as there is a natural chemistry between the two. Jacqui becomes the centre of Robin’s universe, although he does not know it, as she opens up to him and by doing so, allows him to open up to her. Robin tries his best to make sure that Jacqui is happy, often relying on humour to put her at ease. She in turn becomes the catalyst he needs to break out of his own little world. They are able to foster a meaningful relationship that started with chance meeting online, but as their journey progresses they realise that the very fear brought them together is the thing that is keeping them apart.

Both parents, played by Yusuf and Devyani, handle their children’s situation differently, yet are able to share an understanding that only parents can. Like most young men, Robin resents his mother’s ‘intrusion’ in his personal well being, while his mother cannot help but try her best to be a good mother, often resulting in her being overbearing. Jacqui’s father uses a more laid back approach, and is often protective of Jacqui. He believes that she will be able to get back on track one fine day, but in the meantime, he tries to make the most of the situation.

A History of Falling Things

Jimmy the courier delivering Jacqui's most 'precious' parcel - Robin himself

The role of Cupid in the play falls to Jimmy the courier, splendidly portrayed by Umesh Logandran. Jimmy is the go-to guy for both Robin and Jacqui, and he dutifully delivers their items and messages. He is not above demanding an additional tip or two from supportive parents, as Jacqui’s father found out to his chagrin. He does come to the rescue at the end of the play, delivering the young man of Jacqui’s dreams right to her doorstep. Never mind that Robin screamed all the way there, Jimmy still delivered when he was needed.

So how did it end? Happily ever after of course, as the two finally overcame their fears and met up. They embraced and the audience cheered. And no, the ceiling did not fall on us all. Nor did any orbiting satellites.

Although The History of Falling Things has come and gone, you can catch the wonderful cast of T4YP in the following performances coming this year:

The Real Inspector Hound
28th to 31st July 2011

T4YP Sweatshop
30th to 31st July 2011

3rd to 7th August 2011

Food, Sex & Death
4th to 7th August 2011

Much Ado About Nothing
22nd to 25 September 2011

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