Sunday, March 27, 2011
"Once every two years, Club Singapore's members set aside their books, come together and put up a musical that attracts Penn Students and Singaporeans from all over the East Coast for one night only," the promo had explained, and that's about all I knew when those doors swung open and I was rushed, within the crowd, toward the stage. It might have been a rock concert or a celebrity jam. It might have been another country. Rachel Rachel Rachel, hundreds (it seemed like hundreds) were chanting, chanting the names of the other actors, too, the names of the musicians and the dozens of students who had worked for months to put on this self-parodying show. What is a Singaporean? What is a Singaporean Penn student? Over the next few hours, those questions would be answered in a smartly choreographed and well-paced theatrical spectacular that had Rachel Rachel Rachel laced through its zinging original songs, its well-told tale.
Every imaginable Singaporean stereotype marched onto that stage and then devolved or evolved, became more. Every imaginable Singaporean joke (it seemed to me) was elevated and exploited, delivered by actors having contagious fun and electrified by clever multimedia titling. All the while, behind me, sat those hundreds, that crowd, cheering the actors on—talking out to them or back to them, shaking hand-made signs, calling out awwwww in unison, as if those who had come to watch had rehearsed their lines just as religiously and vigorously as those who had come to perform.
Rachel Rachel Rachel, we hollered, when it was done, and then those on the stage took to tossing this petite, extra-special, she-can-do-it-all-and-so-she-will (Rachel, I know you don't think much of hyphenated of language, but heck, I keep using it here) student into the air. I've never seen anything like it. I might not again. But oh, was it something to leave my world for awhile to enter hers.
A final note: My husband admitted to having had a fine time. I have proof. I saw him laughing.