By Sharaad Kuttan January 28, 2009 Categories: Entertainment
If you haven’t experienced KL’s contemporary Malay-language theatre scene yet, this is the perfect opportunity.
Teater Kompilasi Volume 1 under the artistic direction of Nam Ron, featuring four plays centred on the theme of murder and power, might just be the chance to sample developments in this scene.
“I have worked with Nam Ron on a couple of projects and I find him to be one of the more exciting directors in theatre here,” says Jo Kukathas, who is the artistic heart of Instant Cafe Theatre (ICT), famed for its satirical reviews.
Several members of this production were seen in a recent ICT production.
“The experience in Malay language theatre is much more direct and it feels more true. There is a feeling of artifice in English-language theatre,” she adds, in her endorsement of Nam Ron and his anak teater acolytes, who, she believes, are developing their own voice.
Coming out of Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA), graduates like Ameerul Affendi and Zahiril Adzin are blurring the lines that used to seem so clearly defined between language streams in theatre.
Zahiril who is directing Teruk and Ameerul who acts in three of the four plays, were last seen together in Instant Café’s revue. Before that they acted in the multi-lingual production, Aircon, which played to full houses and had audiences roaring in laughter and tearing through the Kedah Malay and English.
“I work with them because they are so exciting and their work in fact transcends language,” says Jo, noting that the new voices in Malay theatre are raw and fresh.
Her enthusiasm has its roots in her recent collaboration with Nam Ron in Breaking / (Ji Po) / Ka Si Pe Cah, together with director Loh Kok Man. In fact, the three directors can date their collaboration to their participation in the transnational Asian Contemporary Theatre Project run by Tokyo’s Setagaya Public Theatre from 2002 to 2005.
As local critic, Sumit Mandal, notes, ironically, “it was in Japan, and not Malaysia, that the three first collaborated, and came to realise the challenge of language in the intercultural encounter.”
Kok Man adds his voice to the endorsement of Nam Ron’s successes at creating a vibe in Malay theatre in contrast to the general government-driven state of the scene.
For Kok Man, the question of language need not be central to the experience. More important is the “language of theater” which he defines as the ways in which concepts are dealt with, lighting, sound, stage sets and costumes are designed to create a complete work. It is also, he believes, the director’s ability to deal with social and political concerns.
“I think that Chinese theatre has become more quiet these days. And it doesn’t deal much with politics or social issues. More with love and family issues,” says Kok Man whose last production was based on the classic anti-totalitarian text Animal Farm.
He likes to watch what Nam Rom does, not because it is Malay theatre, but because it is interesting. He agrees that some Malaysian audiences are committed to particular languages and his productions strive to provide them an entry point with subtitling and greater physicality in the acting. “Some English-educated members of the audience were angry when they found out that Animal Farm was in Mandarin and demanded a refund on their tickets,” he recalls, to underscore the challenges in creating these encounters. He gave them their refund.
With the working titles, Teruk (Critical), Tambat kaki (Bound feet), Stabil (Stable), Pokok Kelapa Sayang (My Beloved Coconut Tree), the four plays began as reflections on the theme of murder.
“It isn’t murder necessarily in the physical sense of the word, but also spiritual,” explains Nam Ron. Their explorations lead them very soon to questions of competition and power.
Teater Kompilasi opens tonight and for those willing to take a chance on some potentially stimulating theatre, curtains up at 8.30pm.
Where : Stor Teater Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Jalan Dewan BahasaWhen : Tonight until Sunday, Feb 1Time : 8.30pm; Matinee: 3pm Sunday. Feb 1.Ticket: By minimum donation of RM20 Contact : Sherry Abdullah 012-9110557 , Siti 017-2367550 Website : http//rumahanakteater. blogspot.com
sumber dari Malay Mail