Zombies on a bus, 16-bit Shakespeare, sodomy charges and more: Which stage play should you watch in the next four weeks?
MALAYSIAN theatre needs you. And it’s gone out of the way to put together five very special presentations over the next four weeks!
There’s a husband charged with sodomy, a zombie attack in a physical bus, and a linguist trying to preserve a dying language. Theatre fans who worry about tired, overused themes can rejoice in these five productions premiering soon across the city! As for those who’ve yet to step into a black box, now is a probably a great time to catch a play — after all, how often does one get to watch something like a 16-bit version of Shakespeare?
Here are five fascinating plays happening soon in Kuala Lumpur which could make you a theatre fan.
Eighteen years ago, then-deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy. His shocking incarceration traumatised his family and dragged them apart. His wife Wan Azizah was left to hold the family together and continue his fight. It’s one of the most controversial cases in Malaysian political and legal history — on top of wasting millions in taxpayer money, the case shed light on the political elite’s capacity for corrupt behaviour.
Torn between love, faith and perception, she chooses to go to war for herself.
But this latest play from non-governmental organisation Bebas Anwar and CubeArt Stage & Performance in collaboration with Projek Bilik Sempit doesn’t want to go into the legality of it all. Instead, it brings us to a household on a fateful day, when a father is taken away on charges of sodomy, leaving the mother in charge of her children and their shattering lives.
Focusing on the journey of an extraordinary presence who kept Anwar’s plight and family loud and alive long after he was kept behind bars, Perempuan Perang details one woman’s war to keep her children, husband and self sane and safe.
This latest play in Bahasa Melayu will star Festival Filem Malaysia winner for Best Supporting Actor Hushairi Husain, writer and Revolution Stage founder Khairunazwan Rodzy, and stage actress Afiza Asram. The director’s seat meanwhile is shared between Afiza Asram and CubeArt founder K’n Ridzuan, last responsible for Bulan Separa Penuh at YSDAF this year.
Catch it from 23 September – 2 October at Studio RS, Dataran Pelangi Utama, One Avenue, Bandar Utama! Tickets are priced at RM20/RM15 and can be obtained via +6011 2619 0591.
After Theatrethreesixty‘s rather rewarding Titus Andronicus, another Shakespearean tragedy lands itself in Kuala Lumpur and this one is definitely not short on potential. The story of Coriolanus gets a unique visual treatment in this upcoming staging at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.
Utilising 90’s video games as visual reference, this upcoming production directed by Theatresauce‘s Kelvin Wong with American theatre practitioner Andrew Peters guarantees an “animated, fast-paced, high-octane fantasy world”.
Coriolanus is one of last two tragedies written by William Shakespeare during the early fifteenth century. It tells of a Roman General named Caius Marcius who keeps his city safe from rebels and anti-government uprisings long enough to earn the title of ‘Coriolanus’ and gain support as Consul. Unfortunately, his rule barely holds because of his distaste for democracy and as a result, Coriolanus gets sent into exile, which prompts him to form dangerous alliances which will rattle Rome.
Running at a punchy 85 minutes, Coriolanus has some bright names: Amanda Ang, Stephanie Van Driesen, Sandee Chew and Aiman Asmawar play some of the story’s thirty characters amidst projections by Nicholas Chin. The play will be presented by The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat as part of Shakespeare 400.
Catch it from 20 – 23 October at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre! Tickets are priced at RM45/RM35 and can be obtained via KLPAC!
There are few things as popular as a zombie apocalypse. And a keen bunch of theatremakers want the imaginary phenomenon to transcend the internet. Sisiseni, who we featured at Iskarnival under our KITARAN banner, are known for their series of interactive Zombi Serang… series revolving around apocalypses. This is their latest edition and it will be held at Universiti Malaya‘s bus terminal this very week.
In Zombi Serang Bas, Sisiseni’s rough and tough characters finally reach that bus they spotted in Zombi Serang Joho. However, what’s going to happen now that our surviving leaders and audience members are trapped under such circumstances in an enclosed space like a bus?
This will really be up to you: Zombi Serang Bas is an interactive, site-specific experience which will give you the adrenaline rush and the freedom to show how useful you could be in such a situation. In fact, progressing the story requires audience members to pitch in and help ward the zombies away!
Delivered in Bahasa Melayu, Zombi Serang Bas will reunite the team behind Tyme Check‘s excellent Kau Rasa. It will also be directed by Nawfal Zamri and star young actors Han Zalini, Ghadafi Meliki, Atiq Taki and Surnia Fizul.
Catch it from 23 – 28 September at Terminal Bas, Universiti Malaya! Tickets are priced at RM30/RM20 and can be obtained via +6012 586 8294.
When independent DIY theatre collective The Lighters premiered Kenduri at a coffeeshop in Shah Alam last year, we were floored. For a bunch of unknowns, some of these guys were en pointe. But since those early days, The Lighters have been experimenting with different types of narratives in their quest to develop their storytelling ability. Dusk is their latest performance and their first to be held in a professional venue.
Does the day go by leaving us incapacitated of our true nature or will the beckoning night become an illusion which preposterously changes who we really are?
When young theatre practitioners risk their livelihood to put on a show, one would expect something with mass appeal to ensure ticket sales. This is not the case with The Lighters, who will be exploring four genres of performance in their main stage debut, namely absurd, physical, absurd-physical-minimalist, and monodrama.
Dusk is made up of four original shorts written by the collective. We’re expecting this new show to inject a bit of surprise into the independent theatre scene and perhaps even spark wilder creativity.
Dusk will see the return of the two leads behind interactive performance piece Kapangan at Iskarnival last weekend. Directed by Api himself, the anthology will feature writer Maya Zaharudin, educator Az’farr Baginda, actor Grace Ng and many others.
Catch it from 23 – 25 September at Black Box, Damansara Performing Arts Centre! Tickets are priced at RM35 and can be obtained via DPAC.
We wrote about this one last week and here it is again. Outstanding cast, top-notch team, award-winning script… what could possibly go wrong? The Language Archive is set to finally premiere in Malaysia and this time, actor Ghafir Akbar directs a staging by local production management specialists PH7. Written by celebrated American playwright Julia Cho, the play debuted in 2009 at the South Coast Repertory, California.
In The Language Archive, protagonist George is a linguist trying to archive a dying language. His subjects Alta and Resten however refuse to speak to one another, his wife leaves him, and his loyal assistant keeps her feelings for him hidden. Through these characters and their respective dilemmas, audiences will find acute observations on the way we use language in our daily lives.
On top of providing thoughtful glimpses of human culture and communication, The Language Archive also has a very impressive lineup of talent: Gavin Yap plays George, Anitha Hamid plays his wife Mary, and Farah Rani stars as his assistant Emma. Rounding up the lot are seasoned stage performers Zahim Albakri and Sukania Venugopal, who will be playing the last two speakers of an ancient language.
Catch it from 5 – 9 October at KuAsh Theatre, 48 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail! Tickets are priced at RM95/RM75 and can be obtained via Red Tix.