Looking Back


It’s been a long time now, since I stepped into a London theatre to watch a play. In fact, it’s been a long time since I visited Covent Garden. One sees the same thing differently each time.

Like watching a movie for the first time, one focuses on the plot, dialogue and characters. Watch it a second time, the focus may shift to the background, the furniture, scenery and other details.

On my first trips to CG, I was mesmerized by the amazing stalls and their products. Later visits brought out the entertaining street performances and fringe activities. Yesterday, I became fascinated by the people being mesmerized by the amazing stalls and entertained by the street performances. It’s like I’m the audience and everyone else is part of a dynamic unscripted play.

Such is Moira Buffini’s Handbagged to me. One has to grabble with two Queen Elizabeths and two Margaret Thatchers for two hours, including dealing with the various personalities played by the same two men throughout.

The play revolves around ‘what might have been said’ over 11 years when the queen and the premier met weekly in private. There is a pair of older queen and prime minister looking back at a pair of younger queen and prime minister, sometimes conversing with them, occasionally disagreeing with “I never said that!”.

I won’t say more except it’s a play worth watching.

Back again at the old market place with the crowds unceasing – I see a younger me mingling, milling, shopping, searching, waiting, wandering – watching me watching her. Time changes everything.

What do we see when we look back at ourselves?

What do we want to see in the future when we look back at ourselves now?


 Joan Yap


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