On January 7, 2023, L'Oneiros smashed the limitation of "what VinUni students can do'' to pieces with a musical named "Obelus" - one of the most spectacular creations in the history of VinUni - after months of preparation, 12 songs written specifically, and a team of more than 50 people working non-stop. As an audience who spent 60,000 dong for the ticket (I got a discount due to being a student and buying tickets early), here are my personal feelings about Obelus.
At first, my feelings toward Obelus were both excitement and annoyance. Excited because a lot of my friends are involved in the play in different roles, from actors, script writers, to backstage, but annoying at the same time since among them are my colleagues who work with me in a project, and it was being delayed for quite long because of Obelus. That's why I hesitated a lot, not knowing whether I should buy a ticket or not, until I accidently came across a character that looked exactly like Hatsune Miku (who I won't say is Matthew), and then, before I realized, I already ordered a ticket.
Unfortunately, "Hatsune Matthew" didn't show up, but I didn't feel frustrated at all, because I was so absorbed by the scene on the Obelus train that I totally forgot about him. I fell in love with everything: the scenery, the backgrounds, the paper props that look so real, the real costumes that look like drawings, the music, the choreography, etc (except the mic and subtitles). They are so beautiful, even make me feel like I've just fallen into a world inside a picture. I don't know about others, but in my opinion, the props deserve an A+.
Now, about the highlight of the whole musical: the actors.
Talking about all of them would probably take an entire day, so I'll tell you about two of my favorite characters, Taylor and Jasmine, who are perhaps the most obvious symbols of the two worlds. At this point, you might be surprised and want to refute me, but let me explain first. The reason I chose these two characters as symbols is because they have one thing in common - except the gender - which is that both of them have scenes of "dissing" Andrew.
The scene where Taylor argues with Andrew is the climax of the play, when Andrew decides to return to the real world, leaving her, the others, and his own passion for painting behind. There are no words that can describe what Bui Hong Nhung showed on stage at that moment. She has really captured the essence of Taylor, a girl who is extremely angry and sad for being betrayed by the person she has placed her trust in. I think you also agree with me, because every line of Taylor is followed by a big applause from the audience. In my eyes, She is the symbol of Andrew's inner artist, what he will always love, never stop cherishing, never stop wanting, but forever denying, even willing to give it all up for material life, for fame and “success”, or in other words, to “become” Jasmine.
I have to admit that my perspective about Jasmine is a bit one-sided, because Mai Xuan Tra is a good friend of mine. However, I believe that you also were impressed by her cool, confident, and very “sassy” style. She does not have the same explosive argument with Andrew as Taylor, but throughout the play, she is the one who mocks Andrew the most. I know a lot of you did not like Jasmine (well, she is a villain after all), but I like her, not only because my dear friend is so good at acting, but also because I feel like she's the only one in that black and white world that carries the spirit of the color world. She clearly understands what she wants, understands what her passion is, and lives with it, regardless of anyone else's thought. In my opinion, she is “Taylor” of the black and white world, only, her passion is more pragmatic than the other.
It was my thoughts on the two girls that left the most impression on me in the entire play. There are still a lot of characters we can love to hate or hate to love, however, I will leave that to you. Let us know what you think about Obelus in the comments section, we will be happy to hear how you feel.
And finally, I have a few words to say to Andrew.
Perhaps you still wonder why your project is continuously rejected by your boss, right?
The reason is very simple, because you don't belong there.
Boss, Jasmine, and Timothy too, they don't understand your art at all, and they're not obligated to understand, because their mission is to make as much profit as possible for the company, for themselves. In this world of greed and exploitation, they don’t have time and effort to enjoy art or serve the community. There's no place for color in that black and white world, Andrew, so, you have two options to survive: either erase your colors and turn yourself into black and white like them, or separate from them to find a new horizon that suits your color.
And in this play, Andrew chose the second option.
I cannot say whether your decision is right or wrong, because the only person who can decide that is yourself. Taylor might hail you as a hero without even knowing what you have given up, Jasmine might laugh at your face and call you a coward. If you like, you can listen, but remember, the most important things here are: What do you think about yourself? Are you happy with your current life? And do you feel your sacrifice was worth it?
If the answer is “yes”, then congratulations. Try to maintain that "yes", because it is not easy to achieve. However, if the answer is "no", then please look at your hands again.
You...no, do you see the ticket you're holding?
The train is coming.
Are you ready for your own adventure?
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