What I really enjoy about theatre is that it’s a liberating art form. It’s often used to explore ideas that aren’t mainstream. Mimi Fan is a prime example of this in Singapore literature. When it was first staged in 1962, it shocked more than a few sensibilities because it was rather progressive and liberal for its time. The annex even features a newspaper article touting Mimi Fan as a controversial play.
The first time I heard the term “retelling,” I expected it to refer to reimagined fairytales. I didn’t exactly expect these to be simply be stories inspired by fairytales. Stepsister, however, is exactly that which I had originally expected of a retelling. It builds upon the well-loved fairytale of Ashputtel, blood and all. It was entertaining with its dark humour as it continued to tell the story of how it might have continued. Stepsister was more detailed since it’s a novel rather than a short story but stylistically, it still very much read like a fairytale.
Good satire makes you laugh while simultaneously reflecting on the subject matters. Rooted in reality, it makes you wonder how serious these characters are (very) but then on second thought you realise that they’re world views are so black and white, they couldn’t be for real. With that in mind, Borowitz used satire very effectively in Family and Other Catastrophes. Emily was so neurotic but with the kind of mother she had, it kind of made sense. Her sister Lauren, was fully committed to feminist social activism, in stark contrast to their brother, Jason, who was a desperate divorcé and quite the sexist.
Izzy was such a refreshing and hilarious character. Her personality shone through the blog posts and her annotations on hindsight. Once in a while, the details she shared bordered on TMI (too much information) but in a diary sort of blog that’s not exactly unusual. If you like no holds barred narrations that flow with stream of consciousness, you’ll be in stitches laughing over The Exact Opposite of Okay.