The Creature and the Horse

Weekends are a mystery. You yearn for it for five straight days. When it falls, you sleep through it. Waking up, both ways, in the evening of a Sunday is jarring.

And so it goes.

Back to what we witnessed over two weekends.

* * *

I have tried to visit the NT archives to watch Frankenstein. Suffice to say, my lack of planning didn’t get me anywhere. Hence, it was a real treat to watch it on the large projection at the Esplanade Theaters. Being the last showing in the calendar, the crowd was surprisingly large and squeaky. Well, the squeaky part was not a surprise. After all it was the version where Benedict Cumberbatch tumbled around half-naked.

Through the eyes of the Creature, Boyle and Dear allowed the audience to learn with him on his newfound sensations, to cheer for his survival, and to sympathise with his longing for companionship. Standing in stark physical contrast yet mirrored as the Doctor’s darker persona, blazing under the huge canopy of light, Cumberbatch and Miller delivered the roles as complements. Within a simple stage setting, they brought alive (pun intended) the purity of basic human desires and the hopelessness of pursuing perfection.

Perhaps because I am familiar with the original book, I am happy that they downplayed the main themes. It would have been expected. It would not have caused a permanent forward lean.

* * *

My affinity with horses begin from, well, the very beginning. Their grace amazes me. Their galloping power stuns me. And also, I am secretly envious of their mane, one that is much more tamed than my own. So naturally, I was more than excited to visit the big white tents.

Beyond an equestrian performance, Cavalia brings together the natural beauty of the two worlds. The majestic horses weaved effortlessly through the stage in beautifully choreographed routines amongst flowing costumes and unbridled riders. The live orchestra was remarkable where it paced the high-spirited tempo and maintained the seamless transitions. As the studs pumped through the scenes, the powerful and loving intimacy between man and horse was tingling and endearing.

I cared for the performance more than I expected that I would. Not because I fell really ill that morning, but because it was touted as a circus act. Thankfully, it was not even close.


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