Overflowing profanities, an evil sock puppet, and coal black humour — if these pique your curiosity, then Singapore Repertory Theatre’s take on the Tony-nominated Broadway play, Hand to God, would be right up your alley.
A foul-mouthed sock puppet by the name of Tyrone takes over the forearm of his creator — the shy and mild-mannered Jason. While Tyrone was meant to be a prop in Margery’s (Jason’s mother) Christian Puppet Ministry, Tyrone had other plans — he comes to life, announces he’s Satan, and proceeds to wreak havoc in his path.
Think Elmo — but with less time spent on teaching kids about the alphabet, and more on making sure every single dirty thought in Jason’s head, and every dark secret, is out in the open.
While it’s easy to whittle this wickedly hilarious play down to being about a possessed sock puppet, it is actually about so much more. Directed by Guy Unsworth, starring Daniel Jenkins, Janice Koh, Ann Lek, Thomas Pang and Gavin Yap, Hand to God examines a teenage boy coping with grief and loss, married with a brutally honest reflection of life.
We caught up with the main characters of the play, Jason (Thomas Pang) and Jessica (Ann Lek), to find out more about their characters and the production.
Hand To God is a pretty controversial work of art to perform in a city like Singapore. How do you think it fits into our society?
Thomas: Controversy is one of many ways to open a discussion. With Hand to God, it’s a number of topics: community and grief, family and identity, adolescence, et al. Singapore is no longer a purely conservative society governed by touchy subjects– the fact that we’ve gotten this far with our play is a testament to that.
Ann: It openly discusses issues pertinent to our society (e.g. Parent-child communication, religion vs pragmatism) that Singaporeans may not openly discuss because of our culture of keeping quiet and non-confrontational.
What are you most excited about the play?
Thomas: Ironically, its characters are some of the most relatable and vulnerable I’ve ever met. That probably says something funny about me, but we’re all awkward and freaky and broken in different ways, Hand to God just puts all that in a pressure cooker and blows it up.
Ann: The script is brilliantly written, the characters are witty and the play is so fast-paced!
Do you ever wish you could have a puppet like Tyrone to speak your mind in real life?
Thomas: I’m an actor. I make money being a puppet.
Ann: I never thought about how empowering it might be to speak through a proxy, in this case a puppet. I think working on this play has, if anything, encouraged me to speak my mind more and not hide behind figures.
What’s your favourite line from the play?
Ann: “You are so far back in the closet, you’re in Narnia.”
What can the audience expect from Hand To God?
Thomas: It is so. Much. Fun.
Ann: Hand To God takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride, facing uncomfortable emotions head on and confronting difficult but necessary topics. Remember to breathe!
Dates: 19 April — 6 May
Times: Wed–Fri: 8PM, Sat: 3PM & 8PM
KC Arts Centre — Home of SRT
20 Merbau Rd
Contact: +65 6221 5585
Book your tickets here.