Brand new play from Afiza Asram foregoes thought and analysis for pleasing stage compositions and entertainment value.
Directed by Afiza Asram & K’n Ridzuan
Starring Afiza Asram, Khairunazwan Rodzy & Hushairi Husain
Recently, news broke out on a play inspired by sodomy allegations against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. Bold subject matter and promising loglines aside, CubeArt‘s latest offering at Projek Bilik Sempit is carried by promising names including Revolution Stage founder Khairunazwan Rodzy and Festival Filem Malaysia winner Hushairi Hussain. Perempuan Perang details the struggles of one woman, wife and mother who must deal with her husband’s incarceration because he may or may not have engaged in sexual acts with a transsexual friend. Put behind bars for sodomy, her husband insists that he cannot remember what has happened (“semuanya kabur“) during the alleged incident. But upon curtain call, not much has been gleaned from the exercise. The biggest drawback is the play’s flimsy script — aiming for quick and easy female empowerment, Perempuan Perang lacks real talk about the alleged crime or how it affects its protagonist’s family and her perception of herself. Instead, Laila spends more time demonstrating unwavering loyalty and demonising the play’s unseen trans figure, all the while simply accepting her husband’s evasiveness. Even when she finally reaches breaking point, there’s something disingenuous about the whole thing. Across 40 minutes, these capable actors and touted talents feel underutilised due to a script which lacks enough depth. To its merit, hair-raising song sequences, catchy directing and solid vocals lift stage proceedings enough to maintain a level of watchability. But by sidestepping the issues, does Perempuan Perang say anything at all?
Perempuan Perang was held from 23 September – 2 October at Studio Revolution Stage, Dataran Pelangi Utama, Bandar Utama. For more information on what else is happening at Projek Bilik Sempit make sure to check out Revolution Stage or scope out our event listings.