Our writer dropped by Universiti Malaya to witness Anomalist Production’s latest offering, Skrip Untuk Ali, and walked out feeling proud of what these young guys have achieved.
Composed of University Teknologi MARA (UiTM) students from various fields, Anomalist Production is very passionate about show business. In fact, these guys have been churning out short films and notable university-based theatre projects for some time now. We first wrote about their deal back in April.
Skrip Untuk Ali was held in Universiti Malaya’s Kompleks Perdanasiswa. The two-hour long drama marks the team’s official debut outside of UiTM.
Plastic chairs, carpets and mattresses faced a cage made of heavy-duty rope and an iron frame. The set was simple, containing only a coat rack, a radio on a bedside table, and a bed.
Written by Annazerul, the play is an original full-length feature which tells the story of Muhammad Khalifah bin Abdullah. Khalifah is an aspiring actor and dancer. After a series of events in his life, he undergoes some changes and all hell breaks loose.
In essence, Skrip Untuk Ali is about a man who loses himself to art. There are many things touched upon in the Khalifah’s tale and we suspect that closer inspection could reveal many more layers to the story.
Skrip Untuk Ali is lifted by some truly amusing comic lines that showcase Annazerul’s strength as a writer, but unfortunately goes on for quite some time. There are several points long before the ending at which the play could have ended strongly. This is a script that shows big potential and it could have benefited greatly from some extra editing.
There’s not much to say about the production design; things are kept very simple, with just static LED stands providing light. Sound-wise, there are some minor mixing issues which result in spoken lines being drowned out but this is a show that can survive without too much technical competence.
It’s difficult to overlook the influence of recent theatre productions in their work.
The most obvious example is the usage of a simple peach-coloured cloth which is worn by actor Amira Saberi. Amira plays 11 different characters in Skrip Untuk Ali and the way the cloth is worn dictates which character she was playing. This concept was done to great success in last year’s Lembu, which won its lead performer Ameera Ramlee a Best Actor award at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.
Both leads truly shine, lifting the entire show to new levels with their take on their characters.
Zulhusni Zamir‘s portrayal of protagonist Khalifah is effective. In Skrip Untuk Ali, he plays just one role; his Khalifah in turn plays other roles for a living.
Zulhusni’s commitment to the stage makes for a riveting watch; he manages to pull off his multiple characters with ease. One moment he’s the legendary Tok Janggut, the next he’s the murderous Nadim. There is a clear distinction between his characters, and we applaud the work he’s done in developing each one of them.
Co-star Amira too pulls off her eleven characters impressively. Her stage presence is strong; she commands the space and really commits to her characters. There’s a scene in the play which sees one of Amira’s characters summoning the spirit of Tok Janggut by singing in a Kelantanese dialect. Meremang bulu roma.
She goes from being a kampung girl to a Kelantanese shaman to an Indonesian lecturer and a number of other characters in the two-hour long play, and she thrives through it all.
Both of these young talents really pushed themselves with Skrip Untuk Ali and their hard work has not gone to waste; their combined effort is the thing that ties the entire production together. Because of them, Skrip Untuk Ali gets our seal of approval.
What Anomalist Production has done with Skrip Untuk Ali is fascinating because there is probably no other show like it in town at the moment.
These guys make us proud of new-generation theatre makers because we get the feeling that they’ve done their best, for now.
Most importantly, they’re actually doing it. They may not come from a theatre background but they love the industry, and now they’re part of it. Skrip Untuk Ali may not have been perfect – there are many things that could have been made better – but the point is that these guys are planting the seed.
At RM12 per ticket, Skrip Untuk Ali was extremely accessible to students and the general crowd. We do not know whether or not they have a sustainable business model, but we laud their attempt at bringing theatre to the masses.
That said, we eagerly await Anomalist Production’s next showing. In the meantime, we highly recommend that everyone go and check out what these guys have come up with and immerse yourself in their spirit.
Skrip Untuk Ali runs until the 10th of May. All shows are at 8:30PM, with additional 3:30PM shows on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are priced at RM12, contact Nisa at +6017 938 6764 or Deyja at +6014 263 7010 for reservations.