In the small but homely space that houses Revolution Stage, a launching ceremony for a fundraising event was held. A corner of the room decorated with a leaning double bass – a backdrop to esteemed guests such as Lynn Loo, Bront Palarae, and Khairunazwan Rodzy. As it reaches its 11th birthday, Revolution Stage is growing up and entering a new phase.
The night commences with a conversation about what’s to come amongst the guest speakers. Providing platforms to new, independent art practitioners was the crux of the discussion. Khairunazwan (or more affectionately known as Abang Wan) started the conversation by emphasizing that he wants the production house to be an avenue owned not by specific individuals, but by all of us, for all of us – whether it’s the partakers of theaters, musicians or anyone of that ilk.
Revolution Stage is mostly known for Projek Bilik Sempit, a project which welcomes a myriad of productions into their blackbox, and utilize the intimate, narrow space, with big ideas of the theatrical kind.
“We provide a space for indie practitioners who are not capable of affording more expensive venues”, said Abang Wan. “The problem is that claims for necessary equipment and facilities also increase for us”.
The underlying keyword beneath all of this is “sharing”. Abang Wan stresses that this is not about garnering sympathy, but about creating empathy and understanding of the current situation in the art world. “Whatever is happening to the scene, is also happening to us, hence ‘Kita'”.
Lynn Loo, a representative from Kakiseni, also spared a few words to rally people to give support to the arts.
“The arts has always depended on the grassroot. Without the grassroot, it can’t function”, Bront Palarae stated as he talks about the importance of supporting initiatives like #UntukKita.
Beyond mere observations of flaws ad faults, there were also more optimistic plans for the future that are already in the works; all for the benefit of pioneers and visionaries of the independent scene . One of which is the formation of an award show, named Anugerah Revolusi Teater Indie, or ARTI. It stands out in its initiative to reward participants who wield the tools of creative guerilla marketing well and those who dish out amazing theatre pieces with a low budget.
There’s also Projek Berteduh, a residency project that offers accommodations to artists looking for inspiration, or simply a secluded environment for them to ruminate, contemplate, and create. “We were inspired by the people that end up bunking into our studios. We have musicians, playwrights and poets, and the whole lot”, said Sherry Ghazali.
Not to forget, Teater Muzikal Kita, a musical theatre gathering talents from multiple facets.
In the #UntukKita schedule itself, there are plenty of intriguing and educational events to go to. Kopi dan Career, for example, invites the likes of Bront Palarae, Sharifah Amani and Shafirah Aleysha to share their experiences and some valuable insight into the working world for art enthusiasts. This also comes alongside musical shows (Akustikaloka) and even some physical exercises that can satisfy your spiritual needs (Yoga Fit). Furthermore, plays will also be staged to liven up the two-week fundraiser, such as Kesah Fenomena Big Bang and Ibu by Creeptheatrics. The final event date under #UntukKita would be on March 12 (The complete timetable can be found on their Facebook page).
In the interest of supporting a fresh and thriving underground, the independent scene needs all our help. Revolution Stage, among other production houses as well, have left a proficient and prolific trail. A trail that can only last with sustainable assistance from all of those who subscribe to it. Going to events such as these is one of the steps which we could take to ensure an everlasting vibrancy in the scene.
“We have to stop (the independent theatre scene) from being entombed. From being buried” – Abang Wan
The launching ceremony started of a bit somber and foreboding but ends on a hopeful note. All of which symbolized by the shutting down of all the lights, but eventually candles were lit to brighten up the room once more.