News Performing Arts

Severed limbs, poisoned nuns, Joe Chia and more: Malaysian theatre returns with a vengeance this Syawal!

NOW that puasa season is officially over, some very illuminating stuff will be taking place over the next few weeks across Kuala Lumpur. All aboard, it’s time to return to the theatre!

Refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle you with some insane stories and breathtaking action, the bestest and freshest talents of the vibrant performing arts scene will debut some highly-anticipated projects this Syawal. In any case, here are a few we wager could potentially change your life, and then some.


Taman Neapolitan, or short, contemporary Malay plays dealing with some real stuff

Five Arts Centre‘s TIGA gave three fresh talents the chance to direct but also served as testing grounds for the written works of Sharifah Aleysha. After young playwright Arshad Adam participated as director, he felt particularly inspired by that show’s format.

With Taman Neapolitan, Arshad admits to deriving off TIGA‘s concept but this time he takes on the role of writer, providing three aspiring directors three short Malay plays. These pieces provide his perspective on topics like suicide and LGBT acceptance and are notable for addressing themes considered taboo to conservative Muslims.

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The stage omnibus presented by Projek BB comprises such interesting titles as Shit Happens, Neon and Beromen, to be directed by young storytellers Omar Yunus, Surnia Fizul and Azzad Mahdzir respectively. On top of starring students from Revolution Stage‘s acting workshop, you might catch a few familiar faces in the cast — news anchor and broadcast journalist Izza Izelan stars in Shit Happens for instance!

Given Arshad’s self-written and self-directed THISability impressed us at Studio RS back in February, we’re excited to see what he can pull off in Taman Neapolitan. Also on his team is actress Anissa Aziz, who assumes the role of producer.

Taman Neapolitan runs from 22 – 31 July 2016 at Studio RS. Tickets are priced at RM20 and more information can be obtained by contacting these guys on their Facebook event page. Follow Projek BB on Facebook to find out more and look at behind-the-scenes pictures!


Antigone, a tragedy first written over 2440 years ago but now stars Dawn Cheong

We wrote about this play a couple of weeks back so best check that out for best results — if you remember, we called it the most exciting show of July and gushed over the fact it stars Dawn Cheong. Haven’t already pledged allegiance to the actress? We’ve got your back: you can book tickets to Antigone now.

Sophocles‘s old, old play details one girl’s defiance of the state in honour of her brother who was deemed a traitor and refused a proper burial.

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When both of Antigone’s brothers Eteocles and Polyneices kill one another in battle, her uncle Creon inherits the throne. Creon however refuses a proper burial for Polyneices, who he believes was a traitor. Antigone goes against Creon’s law and buries Polyneices himself, but must then face the consequences.

It’s a dark, nerve-wracking story more relevant now than ever, retold through the words of Anne Carson, a Canadian poet known for intimate truths and searing imagery. This staging at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in less than two weeks also marks the international premiere of Carson’s translation!

Antigone runs from 21 – 31 July at klpac’s Indicine. Tickets are RM45 for adults and RM35 for concessions (students, the disables, TAS Card members) but you can contact Amanda Ang at amanda@theatresauce.com for more information! Check out Theatresauce for some amusing promo material!


Titus Andronicus, or goodness gracious, someone was bound to stage this murder fest

When Theathrethreesixty announced a collaboration with the KL Shakespeare Players in conjunction with Shakespeare400, both had just come out of highly-successful productions. The former put out Bare Beckett while the latter toured with Shakespeare Demystified: The Merchant of Venice.

As such, it remains a very exciting mystery that both will be joining forces to deliver the Bard’s most violent tale.

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Titus Andronicus tells the story of Titus, who has just returned from a ten-year battle with the Goths. With him are his prisoners: Tamora, Queen of the Goths, along with her three sons and her secret lover, Aaron. After Titus murders the eldest son, Alarbus, Tamora and the other survivors vow to exact revenge and they pull no stops — rape and decapitation are some of their tactics.

What follows is a crazy, bloody chain reaction which ends on a high (body count). Directed by Anugerah Seni Negara-recipient Christopher Ling and starring Lim Kien Lee in the titular role, Titus Andronicus is one of many huge things taking place as part of this year’s DPAC Arts Festival.

These guys have also got one heck of a team — Zen Lin Tan will be designing these character’s world, Yusman Mokhtar will be doing lighting, while TMJB‘s Shaun Chen is on music duty. Oh, and did we tell you that Michael Chen is also on board as fight director?

Titus Andronicus runs from 30 July – 7 August at Black Box, DPAC. Tickets are priced at RM48 (regular) and RM38 (concessions) and can be obtained via DPAC. Check out Theatrethreesixty, KL Shakespeare Players and DPAC Arts Festival on Facebook for more information!


Nunsense, or an award-winning off-Broadway laugh-out-loud affair with nuns

After Sister Julia accidentally poisons 52 of her fellow Sisters at Balakong, five nuns take it upon themselves to raise funds for the burials. Reverend Mother Mary Regina, Sister Mary Hubert, Sister Robert Anne, Sister Mary Leo, and Sister Mary Amnesia borrow the Shear Madness hairdressing salon and host a variety show with more than 25 original songs and bucketloads of humour.

Richard Gardner directs this popular off-Broadway comedy for Gardner & Wife Theatre and he’s got his performing arts superfriends along: dance educator Joseph Gonzales serves as choreographer while Llew Marsh is musical director on Nunsense.

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Most excitingly, you also get to see performing powerhouses like Shanthini Venugopal and Junji Delfino bring the house down with their pipes! If you enjoyed what Whoopi Goldberg did in Sister Act, we know for a fact you’re going to love this.

Written by Dan Goggin in 1985, Nunsense swept up a number of Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Off-Broadway Musical and Best Off-Broadway Book and Music.

Today, it’s the second longest-running Off-Broadway production of all-time. More than 25,000 women have played the roles of these Sisters worldwide, and at six sequels have been produced. Featuring amnesiacs and former circus performers as nuns, this is stage comedy at its zaniest and most approachable.

Nunsense runs from next Wednesday until 7 August at PJ Live Arts and 27 – 31 July at PenangPAC. Tickets are priced at RM88, RM108, RM128 (VIP), RM588 (6-pax Premium) and RM688 (6-pax VIP). Reduced rates available for schools and charities, just contact Donna at 012-230 2469 for details!


OPIUM, or one explosive site-specific experience that will blow your mind

We’ve been compiling information from the team about this one as it’s quite out of the ordinary — read a general introduction to the project in a piece by Swee Chin Pan and understand these artist’s motivations in the follow-up by Sueann Tilaka. OPIUM combines top performers from Malaysia and France in what it sets out to do.

This isn’t strictly a stage play either (far from it, we reckon) as it’s more of a themed multi-disciplinary showcase of artistic expression.

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From France, OPIUM presents singer Mathilde Limal, visual artist Anne Deguerry and cellist Florian Antier. Representing Malaysia meanwhile are HANDS Percussion and its founder Bernard Goh, dancer Wong Jyh Shyong, fashion designer Joe Chia and calligrapher Ong Chia Koon among many others!

This also marks HANDS Percussion’s first ever site-specific performance — audiences are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes as they will be walking from site to site. Taking place simultaneously across three separate sites, OPIUM will split its audiences into three groups who must traverse from one site to another before the magical finale outdoors.

According to Bernard, OPIUM is based on the unexpected influence of his crafty, creative late grandfather. His message with OPIUM is simple: positive choices lead to a positive outlook in life.

OPIUM runs from 26 – 31 July 2016 at DPAC. Tickets are priced at RM128 and RM115 (DPAC members and HANDS club members) and can be obtained from DPAC. Find out more information on the performance from HANDS Percussion.


What do you think?

You now have RM150 to spare. Which one of these would you watch (do the math)?
Taman Neapolitan
Antigone
Titus Andronicus
Nunsense
Opium

quotes

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Know of anything else we need to take note of that’s happening soon? Make sure to tell us by dropping a comment or sending us mail, we’re constantly on the lookout!

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