When Change is You – Esther by Actspressions, Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC)

Esther (most right) inviting The Chairman for a personal meeting to save her people


Actspressions of Acts Church presented yet another poignant play called Esther, When Change is You, on 30th of September at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC), to a fully-packed auditorium.

Brought to life through the lenses of Director Darren Yeoh with original concept by Jason Ding, Esther is a clever and thought-provoking play that illuminated the Bible in a modern light – comparing the struggle of palace politics to company politics.


Director Darren Yeoh (front seated) with the cast of Esther
Director Darren Yeoh (front seated) with the cast of Esther
The play of office politics, which is comparable to the palace politics in the book of Esther in the Bible
The opening scene of Esther, showing how office politics is comparable to the palace politics in the book of Esther in the Bible


The play was set at a metropolis called The City built by a character called the Chairman. The Chairman represents King Ahaseurus of Persia and Media in the Bible, while Esther represents a girl belonging to the Outsiders, a marginalised minority group in The City. In this case, the Outsiders represent the Israelites in the Bible.


Loo Mark Chin starring 'The Chairman' with his assistant, starred by Daniel Ch'ng
The scene where ‘The Chairman’ played by Loo Mark Chin (right) discussed office affairs with his assistant played by Daniel Ch’ng


Working in obscurity for the well-being of her people, Esther suddenly found herself catapulted to political stardom as a wife of the Chairman. She applied to be a wife upon the advice of her cousin Mordecai who wanted her to warn the Chairman of a possible assassination he discovered.


Esther working in obscurity for the well-being of her people
The scene where Esther played by Deborah Tan (right) worked in obscurity for the well-being of her people, The Outsiders
The scene where Mordecai played by Winson (left) persuaded his cousin Esther to apply for the position as the Chairman’s wife


But lo and behold, the Chairman’s right-hand man, Hamaan, accused Mordecai for the crime. Together with Mordecai, Hamaan took this golden opportunity to evict all Outsiders from the city, in the name of protecting the Chairman’s life. Hamaan hated the Outsiders, seeing them as pests to be exterminated.


Hamaan intimidating one of The Outsiders out of his hatred for them
The scene where Hamaan played by Emmanuel (3rd from left) intimidated one of The Outsiders who was working for The Chairman, out of his hatred for them


Faced with the violent uproar of Outsiders against the eviction and the dissappearance of Mordecai, Esther was left all alone to make a decision that would impact her people. Pleading for the Outsiders would involve uncovering her true identity as an Outsider herself.


The scene where Esther was left alone to make an important decision for her people, The Outsiders
The scene where Esther was left alone, with several voices telling her what to do, before she decided to reveal her real identity to The Chairman


It is understandable how Esther would face great difficulty in pleading the case before the Chairman. The chemistry between the Chairman and Esther was an odd one, intertwined with politics and romance. Although the Chairman appeared smitten in his first encounter with Esther, he was clear of his primary reason for marriage, which was to provide a succession plan for his company. This closely resembled how the King of Persia might put his kingdom before the queen.


Esther and The Chairman
The scene where Esther flipped the thick book of rules in becoming the Chairman’s wife in their first encounter
The first encounter between The Chairman and Esther
The scene showing the first encounter between The Chairman and Esther


But Esther was witty to play the game of politics, using ‘company policies’ to find a way to meet the Chairman, whose time was filled with board meetings with Hamaan. Citing a company policy, she successfully bypassed Hamaan by appealing to the Chairman’s driving taste buds, of chocolate cakes and juicy lobsters.


Deborah Tan starring Esther, in a scene where she plotted to invite The Chairman for a personal dinner


Yet, while the Chairman came for dinner, she failed to speak to him without Hamaan. When the Chairman left the room to make a phone call, Hamaan unexpectedly turned to strangle her out of his hatred. But the Chairman returned in time, charging Hamaan with his crime.


The scene where the Chairman charged Hamaan of his crime of attempted murder


In the call, Mordecai found evidence of his innocence. Peace and order were returned to The City, and the affection of the Chairman for Esther, went beyond policies and procedures to one of a genuine spark of love.


The end of the performance where the Chairman attempted to steal a kiss with Esther
The ending of the performance where the Chairman attempted to steal a kiss from Esther


In the end, the play showed how ordinary yet extraordinary Esther was. All she took were small steps, from applying to be the Chairman’s wife to inviting him for dinner. Yet it is in these ordinary things of life that God used to turn the tide of her people. She was made extraordinary for the purpose that God gave her.


 “All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them.”

– Charles Spurgeon, British Particular Baptist Preacher


Also, in this play, we could see how Esther’s loyalty was tested for her people, especially in times of prosperity. She could have kept silent of her identity as an Outsider but she risked her life and spoke out for her people.


The scene where Esther remembered all the words said to her before deciding to defend her people, The Outsiders


“Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man, but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.”

– Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher, writer, historian and teacher


Lastly, this play shows that the trials in our life are merely stages to show God’s power and victory, because we have already won the war in Christ (John 16:33). If God can use Esther, an unassuming and ordinary girl, God can use you too to be the change in your family and workplace.


And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

(Esther 4:14b)


Note: All pictures are credited to Chester Kher Creations.


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