Performance Reviews

REVIEW: Kenduri Kendara conveys faith, gender and humanity through intimate projections

By using all the elements of a traditional ‘kenduri’ to talk about issues about faith and gender, Kenduri Kendara encourages guests to immerse themselves in the message.

Sebuah persembahan | The Keepers Studio
Dengan kerjasama | Sisters In Islam
Dengan sokongan | INXO Arts Fund & Kakiseni
Rakan Forum | Projek Dialog
Rakan Perabot | Wood & Steel Coffee . Furniture . Art
Rakan Studio Latihan | Space.Toccata
Rakan Lokasi Persembahan | Makespace

Penerbit Eksekutif | Azzad Mahdzir & Hui Woon Tan
Pengarah, Penerbit, Penata Seni | Azzad Mahdzir
Penerbit | Yana Al-Yahya
Pengurus Pentas | Armanzaki Amirolzakri ‘Zak’
Penulis, Kerjasama Kreatif | Zed Adam Idris
Pembantu Pengarah GEROBOK | Qistina Ruslan & Amanda Nell Eu
Pembantu Pengarah SUAP | Arshad Adam
Pembantu Pengarah SAMAR | Ariff Kamil
Kolaborasi Hiasan Dalaman | Adam Azriff
Pengarah Muzik | Ayop Azril
Muzik trailer “Trofi” | ADAM KASTURI
Penata Cahaya | Syamsul Azhar ‘Sam’
Pemasaran | Pang Khee Teik, Alia Affendy, Twit Teater & Zed Adam Idris
Kewangan | Farah Idayu Kamsari
Koordinator SIS | Syarifatul Adibah

SUAP corner

The loudest thought we had as we walked into Makespace in Quill City Mall was how elaborate the setting is. Kenduri Kendara consisted of three sections. SUAP is a space for a feeding ritual that lets guests feed each other, GEROBOK is a corner for people to understand the general controversy around the taking off (and wearing of) the hijab through means of conversation. The set-up flows like a stream-of-consciousness, highlighting the core elements of a ‘kenduri’ in a hyperbolic but artistic manner. It’s divine in its own surreal and postmodernist way.

SUAP effectively deconstructs the celebration of food in a ‘kenduri’ by pushing people to overcome their awkwardness, and nothing does that more than feeding a complete stranger with your bare hands with a handful of rice. The intimacy creates discomfort, hence cuts to the chase of the actual anxiety that one might feel at big kenduris.

At the heart of it is SAMAR, which holds all the elements together through the story of a couple and the trials they go through in marriage. It feels like an backhanded remark to the atmospheres of ‘kenduri’s, where the wedding is over-romanticized while the reality is hidden behind a veil. The story itself is middle-of-the-road, characteristic of your typical Malay dramas, although the way it’s portrayed is noteworthy. The way the director (Azzad Mahdzir) uses the transitions and the space is wonderful, where even the changing of clothes is punctuated with emotionality and rhythm.

One of the set designs in SAMAR representing an oil rig
One of the set designs in SAMAR representing an oil rig

Props goes to the actress, Nadia Aqilah, for the subtlety in her acting carries her through those timelapse scenes gracefully as she spends time away from her husband, contemplating over the uncertainties she feels about her marriage. The play ends with a powerful diatribe from Nadia, who talks about the injustice she goes through as she’s left incapacitated by her inability to void the marriage herself due to how the divorce laws are written.

There is also a level of profundity in the fact that someĀ  of the characters are invisible. The absence of the couple’s child ensures that only the couple is paid attention to. When the couple go through divorce counselling, the ustaz-cum-counselor is replaced by the audience, as the couple tell their side of the story of the other’s irresponsibility to us; the gaping, unflinching audience.

Kenduri Kendara works in creating an experience that prods you into contemplation. The projection and the lighting brings you into an open house, if the ‘kenduri’ Melayu was directed by Andy Warhol. Although the play SAMAR borders on the cliche, it still comes off as mildly thought-provoking, although slightly blurry and open-ended – like the name suggests.

If any boundaries were broken, it was in the visual intricacies of the space. Kenduri Kendara definitely sets a high standard in terms of what a stage setting could be in spite of the underlying weakness of its script.

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