HOW can social issues be interpreted through dance?
The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in collaboration with Pentasila supported by The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat presents Langkau, a contemporary performance piece. This performance was a delightful combination of the two disciplines; dance and theatre. Langkau involves five dance and theatre practitioners who also happen to be educators at Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA). The show went on from the 4th to 6th August this year at KLPAC’s Pentas 2. This re-staging of a previous version of Langkau (2015), combined dance theatre and experimental theatre to touch on social phobia as the piece was based on it. Langkau featured performers Shahrul Mizad, Iefiz Alaudin, Murni Omar and Faillul Adam along with dramaturge, Fasyali Fadzly. The Daily Seni was given the chance to experience the performance. Here’s what we think of it.
Claiming to be based on social phobia, Langkau did not set out to attempt to tackle it or act to be above the issue. Langkau portrayed it as it is, without trying to be righteous or imposing. It’s almost as if they were saying “here is what social phobia is to us, and we want you to see what it looks like– to us.” The two hour show comprised of intense brow furrowing scenes involving movements, dialogue, lights and sounds intertwined with “intermissions” or “pauses” of the core five seeming to be rehearsing the show.
The concept of including the “pauses” between the movements, lights and sounds were a great way for the audience to digest whatever they had taken in before. The experience can be described as going through intense emotions trying to figure out what each movement means and then you’re given a “break” that is accompanied with casual “commentary” from the core five who made nods to the audience members, tugging at your sleeves slightly. This was refreshing because people might not have been able to grasp the idea of the show by just watching the isolated movements, the “gaps” in between subtly explained to us why the show is the way it is and what it aims to entail.
The movements by the core five represented movements and actions you wish you could do in real life. Your frustrations, acted out into plain sight, for everyone to see. The liberation of the inner you, your subconscious. Shahrul Mizad played a middle aged museum store manager who has his personal anxieties caused by being put down by a younger store manager. Iefiz Alaudin portrayed a restless but reserved young man who questions whether there are any good people left in the world after being discriminated by an old classmate. Faillul Adam and Murni Omar charmed the audience with their witty banter, performing and moving as washing machines.
Who would’ve thought this combination of characters would work, right? But it did, and it did ever so effortlessly. I came in with expectations that it would be hard to comprehend, but Langkau was indirectly direct. It was the perfect amount of confusing and explanatory. Contemporary performance virgins would have had no problem enjoying this piece of art by the brilliant Fasyali Fadzly, Shahrul Mizad, Iefiz Alaudin, Murni Omar and Faillul Adam. I look forward to more performances alike Langkau.