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Theatre review: Fluid by The Theatre Practice gently challenges notions of theatre

Published on Jul 10, 2014 11:42 AM
 An image of the experimental theatre production Fluid, directed by Liu Xiaoyi. -- PHOTO: THE THEATRE PRACTICE

Actress Li Xie pulls back the heavy black curtains and enters the dark theatre as an usher would, flashlight in hand, its thin beam bouncing off audience members and the exposed scaffolding of the ceiling.

This opening moment of Fluid, directed by Liu Xiaoyi, is a sign of what is to come: the pulling back of the curtains on the art of the theatre, that tiny light in the darkness that attempts to examine, bit by bit, what this mysterious, chameleonic art form really is all about.

On one level, Fluid tells the tale of a certain elderly cashier named Wong, and his chance encounter with the art of performance. He glimpses a group of children singing and dancing in what appears to be a rehearsal and, on impulse, signs up for a six-day performance masterclass. Except that we never see Wong. His story is a 'radio play', unspooling from a whirring phonograph on stage.

But the beauty of Fluid, which clocks in at just over an hour, is its bird's eye view, so to speak, of what regular theatregoers may take for granted.

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