7 Jan 2011

marking Nanking - thoughts on a play

nelson chia's third take on the massacre was n honest, caredul attempt. he cleverly tried to stay out of the way of a subject to huge and intense to be easily interpreted, portrayed or even referenced.
however, he comes short of a deeper, more engaging delivery; because as he honestly adnits, after looking and reading the materials for so long, he does get numb to it.
but as the audience i am not numb and dont want to be. he tries to steer awat from shock value but the direction he is trying to orient is in the end unclear.
perhaps he can rest and come back with fresh hunger for a deeply disturbing subject most of us reduce to image and newsbyte: power, evil, and choice.
would being informed by the philosophers give the piece more depth?
could we ask what the average Japanese was doing, feeling and believing until the atomic hell befell them? did these ordinary souls not have any power of influence?
i want to come away challenged and changed by art.
but the poser at the end was a math question that could not do that. i can easily distance myself - i wont be pressing the button to release the bomb - yes, 250000 lives here, 300000 lives there...
and it's still faraway..but evil instincts - o have u never ever delighted in dark deeds..., perhaps that's too direct for our postmod milieu; but that is what makes art powerful: it seeks the truth.
HHistory will have subjective bits; but the truth still stares all the same. humankind has a dark side that can consume us all - unless - we face it and bring it to light.

i look forward to version 4.

1 comment:

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