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27 & 27A Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia.

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Theatre

What’s That Smell?

By Zedeck Siew The shop-lot in Taman Tun Dr Ismail that the theatre companies Dramalab and Five Arts Centre share has a rehearsal space on the ground floor; last Monday, it was occupied by the cast of Ann Lee’s “Tarap Man”, the playwright’s first full-length play in nearly a decade. For a work of such […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 5, 2007

The Business of Theatre

By Jenny Daneels In reply to critical comments in an article we published last year on the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) and the venue’s anchor tenant The Actors Studio (TAS), co-founder and dramatist-director-actor Joe Hasham agrees to an interview with Kakiseni co-founding editor Jenny Daneels to help put things in perspective. Kakiseni is […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 6, 2007

Wayang Nakal

By Zedeck Siew At a crucial point in “Dua, Tiga Dalang Berlari”, an informal-by-form check-up on Wayang Kulit, performer Wong Tay Sy exits stage left, bowed, expression tired and supplicant, rear thrust up in the air. The play’s three actors have just performed a dramatisation of an interview with the dalang and Seniman Negara Pak […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 8, 2007

Tembak: Wed 9 – Wed 16, May 2007

By Kakiseni Opera Pinocchio Sat 12, May 2007 Once upon a time there was an old carpenter, Geppetto, who wanted a son. A fairy heard the man’s wish, and – as Geppetto lay asleep – granted the gift of life to a wooden puppet. This was how Pinocchio was born. However, the fairy neglected one […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 16, 2007

Metaphors Be With You

By Antares The moment you start focusing your attention on them, metaphors wriggle right out of the woodwork, springing from the ground beneath your feet like mushrooms. Back in 2000 – that pivotal year in which the Earth’s axis was realigned by the crowning of Neocon Emperor George Bush – I gave up on romance, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 14, 2007

Best Intentions

By Jess C I don’t pretend to be an opera buff, but I have seen enough productions to know what to expect. However, watching the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s latest music production, Mozart’s The Magic Flute (subtitled ‘Selected Excerpts in Concert’) was a totally new experience for me. According to its press release, Mozart’s […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 30, 2007

Other Than Angkor – Pt. 2

By Gabrielle Low Among the lesser-known temples at Angkor is a pyramidal mass of hewn stone blocks called Baphuon, completed in the 11th century as a representation of the mythical Hindu Mount Meru. Partly due to its size, the temple was also structurally unstable. By the time the French explorer Henri Mouhot stumbled upon Angkor […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 25, 2007

Other Than Angkor – Pt. 1

By Gabrielle Low ‘Stung Treng 216 km’ flashed on the blue signboard as our bus sped along the highway. I was only a third of the way through the journey from Phnom Penh to Cambodia’s northern outpost of Stung Treng — the name of both the province and its capital — near its border with […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 17, 2007

X Marks the G-Spot

By Ann Lee When can you call yourself a playwright? After a three-act play? After one or two drinks? When you have an agent? When you’ve made theatre for years, but never sat down to scribble something solo? When you become the Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia? These questions came to my mind as I signed […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 13, 2006

Questioning Mark

By Benjamin McKay In an attempt to uncover the mysteries of creative practice in Malaysia, and discern what makes Malaysian artists unique to their time and place, I plan to interview an array of local cultural practitioners over the next year. I begin this enquiry with a conversation with Mark Teh. Mark, 25, has been […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 14, 2006

Project Runaway

By Antares M! The Opera, staged at Istana Budaya from Thu 23 Mar to Sun 2 Apr 2006, is arguably the most ambitious and esoteric piece of music theatre ever conceived and produced in Malaysia. I’m awed by Saidah Rastam’s perseverance and stamina, and gratified that after such a protracted incubation, her monumental vision has […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 28, 2006

The Princess who Went Up a Mountain and Came Down a Hit

By Shanon Shah Judging from the last two big budget Malaysian musicals I caught at Istana Budaya – Hang Li Po & Rubiah the Musical – I was ready to dismiss its latest offering, Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical, as yet another patronising and jingoistic production that is spending a lot of money and clichéd […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 17, 2006

The Mat Salleh Speaks Malay

By Sherry Siebel Tiara Jacquelina has always wanted to play the immortal enchantress-princess of Mount Ophir, that most mystical creature of all Malay legend. And what Tiara wants, Tiara gets. So when the bijoux gem that is Puteri Gunung Ledang was released by Enfiniti Productions with great pomp and circumstance in 2004, the resultant recherché […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 7, 2006

Aunties In Agony

By Rebecca Duckett Penang playwright Mark Beau de Silva must have found his latest women characters from the Sunday market crowd: ordinary women who come along to the SPCA fair volunteering behind the stalls, women chatting on the benches along Gurney Drive in the mornings. They are not young but are dressed up gaily, with […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 3, 2006

Teater Saat Akhir

By Zulkifli Mohamad Saya menjadi Lipas Kudung selama 5 hari kerana nak menonton Teater Melayu. Apa tidaknya, ada tiga festival yang berlangsung dalam minggu yang sama: Festival Teater Wilayah Persekutuan 2005 di Taman Budaya Kuala Lumpur pada 17-21 Disember Empat Drama di Stor Teater DBP pada 19-22 Disember Minggu Teater ASK yang menampilkan empat monolog […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 9, 2006

Murder Most Foul (Can you smell the belacan?)

By Meng Yew Choong This is another whodunit for the big stage. Though it was presented to Singaporeans for the third time (in 1997 and 1998 at the Jubilee Hall of the Raffles Hotel), the difference this time was that it took place within the magnificent confines of the sophisticated Esplanade Theatre. Being my first […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 15, 2005

The Taste of Death

By Christina Orow We’ve all heard about the unusual delicacy that is the Shakespeare speech. Breaking through the initial layer of incomprehension is like getting over the initial revulsion to the smell of durian, until we take that first bite that sends us over to the other side. In a moment, all resistance to the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 7, 2005

A Theatrical Bermuda Triangle

By Jeremy Mahadevan German playwright Falk Richter’s Electronic City is meant to be chaotic or, as the programme would have it, “a panic-stricken farce from the inner world of contemporary busyness.” Consequently it’s full of people running around, bumping into each other, falling over and booming from the rooftops. And it has the potential to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 10, 2005

Happy Divorce Anniversary!

By Cyril Wong On a stage with only four scaffolding structures and two foldable screens, four actors come on to commemorate 50 years of the Islamic Republic of Malaya and Singapore’s National Day in 2007. This is a scenario dreamed up by two playwrights (Jit Murad from Malaysia and Haresh Sharma from Singapore) with two […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 22, 2005

A Night in the Life of Gavin Yap

By Kakiseni Paparazzi Despite the intense stage presence that he has, I must admit, it is a relief to watch a Gavin Yap play in which he is not present on stage, and you aren’t subjected to his usual bag of hyper tricks. Though he seems a little nervous about it, the Boy Wonder is […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 9, 2005

Waiting for Kok Man

By Jerome Kugan Written in 1952, at a time when Europe was intellectually paralysed by World War Two, Les Chaises (The Chairs), by the Theatre of the Absurd’s posterboy Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994), conveys the horrors of the dehumanisation of the individual and the community in Europe as a result of unchecked modernisation. Its Absurdist depiction […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 7, 2005

The Aw-Shucks Couple

By Jeremy Mahadevan If you go to the Kakiseni.com event listing for Romi and Joolee dan lain-lain and read the user comments, you’ll find people have been largely appreciative of the play, the only point of contention being a sort of mini Omar Sharif-Barbra Streisand controversy involving some silly hang-ups certain people have about a […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 25, 2005

Why did the Chicken stay in the Middle of the Road?

By Caroline Marshall “Is it a hen?? Or is it a rooster??” What would YOU do if you find a strange looking chicken amongst your own brood? Especially one that looks like a hen AND a rooster? Well, two children did, and they decided to take the problem to the learned, bijak-pandai members in their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 25, 2005

The Long And Winding Road

By Pia Zain & Simon Hegarty Pia: Athol Fugard is one of the great playwrights of our time. He has sketched the South African story – from apartheid to freedom – unlike any other. His writing talks about our interconnections as human beings, and it demands to be listened to, felt, experienced. A Fugard play […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 17, 2005

Canto Bard

By Pia Zain & Simon Hegarty It was an experience and an education for us (Simon and Pia) who don’t understand any Chinese languages to watch the recent production of The Taming of the Shrew. The play had been adapted by director Ling Tang and her cast into Cantonese, and then retranslated back into English […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 16, 2005

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Adaptation

By Lim How Ngean Adaptation mania has hit Chinese-language theatre recently. Starting with the concurrent showings of Lee Swee Keong’s Woman Born From Dragon and the Dramatic Art Society’s Blanche in July, it continued with the Cantonese Bard offering The Taming of the Shrew earlier this month at The Actors Studio Bangsar while Loh Kok […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 11, 2005

Matinya Seorang Petani

By Zulkifli Mohamad Sewaktu melangkah masuk ke Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, lampu panggung masih terang dan kita seperti dilindungi lelangit kayu yang bertaburan lampunya seperti bintang-bintang. Sekilas terkenang saya pada sajak Usman Awang “Bintang Di Langit Zaman” yang saya baca sewaktu di sekolah rendah. Drama Musikal Uda dan Dara pula adalah asalnya sebuah sajak Usman Awang […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 4, 2005

Back to Africa

By Kakiseni Rey Buono chides me: “If you had told me you were going to do an interview about my opinion on the KL arts scene, I would have said I don’t have the time.” But in spite of his obvious disappointment with the insularity of my tabloid questions, he kindly indulged. Until not long […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 19, 2005

Fine Young Communists

By Kam Raslan As the elderly leader of the now defunct Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) points out in his book, Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History – History (with a capital H) is written by the victors. Chin Peng writes, “History is the written testimony – or interpretations – of events by those […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 12, 2005

Farewell My Contemporary

By Kakiseni Saidah Rastam is not one of Malaysia’s best kept secrets. Her cutting-edge music has a reputation beyond our borders. She has been invited for the second time by Goh Boon Teck, director of Singapore’s Toy Factory Theatre Company, to compose with his company. This time, it is for a contemporary theatre piece based […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 3, 2005

Quality Time

By Lee Jia Ping My mom and I were watching We Are Family, the third and most recent instalment of Chinese-language theatre series Chup! Take A Break by Need Entertainment. In the middle of the first sketch, a ‘silent’ play in which two actors playing a mommy monkey and a dying baby monkey were slowly […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 20, 2005

Moral Police in French Clothing

By Toni Kasim Talk about a cruel coincidence. While the cast of Tartuffe was preparing for opening night at The Actors Studio Bangsar, a woman in Cheras was being robbed at knifepoint in her home by a group of five men and women. The next day’s article, ‘Group using religion to rob’, said that the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 19, 2005

You Are Not Alone

By Vanessa Surian The title didn’t inspire much confidence. A flaccid attempt at humour which I imagined would be replicated throughout the production. “eight” was fine. No bitchy remarks there. But: “(insert witty tagline here)”? Erm, I promised myself I wouldn’t do this but – (insert bitchy comment here). Nevermind. Whats in a name right? […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 3, 2005

Perhaps Think A Little

By Sharon Bakar Life Sdn Bhd 3 began with each member of the cast of thirteen bounding forward to introduce themselves and declare proudly, to audience cheers, “I am Malaysian!” National identity has, of course, to embrace ethnic and sexual diversity – there is no such thing as the “average” Malaysian. Yet you have to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 29, 2005

Icon, Guru, Beloved Friend

By Kathy Rowland I came late to Krishen Jit. Having grown up with Talking Drama with Utih, his review column in the NST which ran from 1972 to 1994, however, I felt I knew all there was to know about him years before we actually became friends. He was after all a towering figure in […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 29, 2005

Experiment in Bronze

By Antares On opening night of Monkey Business, director Krishen Jit wasn’t sitting like a stone deity in the foyer with an inscrutable look on his face, as is his wont. He was recuperating from another cardiac arrest in the National Heart Institute. However, those involved with Five Arts Centre seemed quite cheerful as they […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 7, 2005

They’ve Theatres, We’ve Monuments

By Anne James At the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards 2003 last year, sitting next to Ghafir Akbar, a fellow nominee for the Best Solo Performer, I was preparing myself to, basically, not win. So when my name was announced, I didn’t hear it at first. I only realised it when my husband Siva turned towards […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 10, 2005

To Bitch or Not to Bitch

By Jit Murad In the current spirit of fulsome, if not full, disclosure I should admit to a couple of things. First is that Faridah Merican had originally cast me as Hamlet in this play but during rehearsals we had a heated disagreement over padded leotards and Gavin Yap immediately swooped in to replace me. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 14, 2005

Our Hamlet

By Jit Murad First of all I’ll assume that the reader isn’t a seni kaki and wouldn’t mind a refresher synopsis of the play. By all means, please, if you already know the story, scroll straight down. If you don’t know it, let me say that Hamlet is a damn good yarn, although for the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 14, 2005

Si Pelarian dan Si Penderma

By Mislina Mustaffa Hannah & Hanna. Kedua-duanya remaja 16 tahun. Usia yang ingin keluar dari kepompong rutin keluarga. Usia di mana persahabatan adalah alternatif kebersamaan yang sangat penting. Dan usia yang kritikal dalam pembentukan psikologi dan sahsiah diri. Hannah dan Hanna bertemu dalam kekalutan pencarian identiti. Hanna, si pelarian Kosovo ingin mencari tempat berlindung untuk […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 13, 2005

Nature vs Nurture

By Jo Kukathas & Haresh Sharma Half a year ago, I brunched with director Jo Kukathas and Singaporean playwright Haresh Sharma at Top Hat. These two motor-mouthed wordsmiths discoursed in such an epic fashion that I had spent the last six months trying to edit down the interview. This is it, at last. At that […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 30, 2004

Saboturg

By Pang Khee Teik Again, many are shaking their heads at the dismal state of theatre this year. Nevermind the bad ticket sales, but where are the new original works? I missed Gavin Yap’s Wish I Were There and Life… Sdn Bhd 2, but managed to catch the three below, all original scripts in English […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 16, 2004

Theatertubbies

By Elaine Tan My co-reviewer, a sandy haired postulant, has been to a dozen or more live performances but only once to the cinema. She is four years old, the age that parenting guidebooks describe as blessed with “a vivid imagination leading to rich fantasy play.” Together, we explored the sudden boom in the business […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 9, 2004

Super Tweety

By Mislina Mustaffa Sinopsis persembahan ini memang epik. Inilah cubaan saya untuk meringkasnya: Ptuih! (nama protagonis) yang rebel bertengkar dengan bapak dan dihalau keluar. Helium Si Gas Nadir, abang Ptuih! yang sedikit autisme mengikut Ptuih! hingga ke stesen transit. Ptuih! merupakan bagai Superman kepada Helium, yang sentiasa memeluk patung Tweety. Helium memujuk Ptuih! supaya tidak […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 9, 2004

Notes from Underground

By Toni Kasim In Dramalab’s restaging of Huzir Sulaiman’s The Smell of Language and Notes on Life and Love and Painting, Zahim Albakri embodied two obnoxious characters in a way that really appealed to my tastebuds – never quite deciding whether I liked the pompous duo but never quite detesting them either. In painting life […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 3, 2004

Cruelty to Audiences

By Pang Khee Teik The World is a Comedy for Those who Think… Instant Café Theatre Road Show Presented by Instant Café Theatre Oct 27 -28, 2004, Grand Plaza Parkroyal Fifteen years of laughter packed into one night can be tiring to the jaw. After the dinner at the hotel Ballroom was cleared away and […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 25, 2004

Empire Writes Back

By Jerome Kugan Dear Mumsy, You wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve seen here in the big city. KL-ites (as they’re not so fond of calling themselves) are always on the move, always crossing each other’s paths, dredging up some kind of muddy puddle – just like the city’s namesake! And I’m caught up […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 24, 2004

Supermarket Theatre

By Pia Zain My late father was a strong supporter of the arts, and my family heritage has always included some interaction with the creative space. I should probably state upfront that I feel passionately about arts and culture, and creative expression. I should also tell you that I was a theatre producer, and co-founded […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 18, 2004

Five for Fighting

By Lim How Ngean The week-long national Malay Language theatre festival that filled the auditorium at Malaysian Tourism Centre last month to the brim has had a long history that dates back to the 70s. Organised by the then Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the event was formerly known as Pesta Tarian dan Drama […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 17, 2004

A Malaysian Jew in New York

By Pang Khee Teik When asked his age, Petaling Jaya boy Richard Chang, now a business news editor at New York’s Reuters as well as an Off-Broadway actor, says, “… if you publicize it, I may never getto play an ingenue or an old man again…” He shouldn’t have to worry. After all, he has […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 4, 2004

The Prophet’s Descendant and The Mystery Woman

By Shanon Shah Given the level of what passes for popular discussion on literature in this country, I am all for efforts to make literature accessible to a wider, especially younger, audience. I remember the days when I had to read Arena Wati, A. Samad Said and Usman Awang for my Kertas Kefahaman Bahasa Malaysia. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 6, 2004

Angry Ghosts Festival

By Kelvin K. Wong Having been disappointed by two out of three plays from The Actors Studio’s Malaysian Playwright Series, I admit to being quite sceptical about the fourth instalment. Gavin Yap, who pioneered the series with his not-that-sweet Sweet Nothing, has just staged his second play at The Actors Studio Bangsar (Sep 2 – […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 22, 2004

Homo-patriotic

By Alfian Sa’at Heard of the pink dollar? It’s the latest trans-national currency. It’s not actually pink in colour, and denominations don’t come in the form of queer three dollar bills, but the purported ability of the pink dollar to cross territorial borders makes the Euro seem like last century’s news. Some people consider the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 15, 2004

Brickfields Brat

By Zedeck Siew I find Childhood Reminiscence a generally enjoyable pastime, being someone who was sniggering about sex not too long ago. Brickfields… Now & Then was surprising for the same reason: I saw 53-year-old Thor Kah Hoong hop about, flail his arms, stand on a chair, squat on the floor, put his head in […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 6, 2004

Theatre of Experimental Sermons

By Toni Kasim In case you were wondering … demi Zaitun… is neither about olives nor a woman called Zaitun. Written and directed by Sasterawan Negara Noordin Hassan, the play derives its title from a Qur’anic verse – incidentally named The Fig – which begins: “By the Fig and the Olive… “. The sermonic thrust […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 21, 2004

Penang Pedagogues

By Meilu Ho “School does not let us scream, run whenever we like,” says agitated sixth-former Johann Dzulkifil. “We have to be… civilised.” Throwing decorum out the classroom window, he exploded in an uncivilised outburst of creativity when he took part in Young Theatre – Penang’s recent work-in-progress showcase, The Dragon Who Lost a Whisker. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 28, 2004

Higher Calling

By Lee Jia Ping Riding high on the commercial success of their last production Siddharta, the producers of Above Full Moon had billed this new production as a show that would take the local musical theatre scene to a ‘newer level’. In my view, it succeeded in that respect, as it showed that with the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 27, 2004

Fashion Opera? What’s that?

By Shanon Shah There’s a lot to love about OPs OPHELIA: A FaShioN opeRa. First of all, it is a performance presented primarily through movement. The fact that the performers managed to create with their bodies not only a series of breathtaking images, but also a coherent underlying theme and – dare I say it […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 8, 2004

Abusing Prisoners of Wars

By Pang Khee Teik Like prisoners of war, starved, feverish, I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness, beholding such strange visions I couldn’t tell which state of consciousness I was in. This was my experience watching the highly abstract and sleep-inducing Sandakan Threnody by Theatreworks, Singapore, a performance based on the events of […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 5, 2004

Young Hopeful

By Lorien Holland Diminutive Anne James is a heavyweight in the Kuala Lumpur arts scene. The 49-year-old has been acting and dancing – and occasionally directing – for as long as anyone can remember. Last month she won the Boh Cameronian Arts Award for Best Performer and later this week she will be playing an […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 18, 2004

We Are Special

By Dr Alvin Ng “They are just jealous because we are special” – Emily Spikerman The term “otak tak centre” may come across as derogatory to some people. But even when you say it nicely, for example, ‘psychological disorder’, it still means the same thing, and looked upon with the same prejudice. Mental illness has […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 8, 2004

The Bangsawan Hero

By Kathy Rowland If you were in search of some rest and relaxation in 1930s Malaya, chances are you would have headed to the nearest town and got yourself some tickets to a bangsawan performance. For a few cents a piece, you would have been treated to an evening of raucous entertainment – didactic, moral […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 4, 2004

From Melaka With Love

By Shanon Shah To turn a historical figure or moment into a musical, one needs a cult of personality, a particular chain of events unfolding an incredible destiny, that certain larger than life quality that only the sweep and pomp of musical theatre can justify. In The King and I, it was the clash of […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 6, 2004

White Man’s Burden

By Kam Raslan It could be said that Sir Frank Swettenham invented Kuala Lumpur. It was he who turned the combustible wooden town into brick with streets and clean water. With his imperial energy, vanity and colossal arrogance he gave order to the streets that we know today in the old part of KL. He […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 6, 2004

Angels And Devils

By Kathy Rowland With The Passion of the Christ raking in millions, religion is clearly in again, and there are few Catholic Saints with the cross over appeal of the 16th century humanist, lawyer, writer, diplomat and statesman Sir Thomas More. The play based on the man, now canonised as a saint, has been a […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 23, 2004

Irish Extras For Hire

By Elaine Tan In between writing articles for Astro Magazine and posing with the Dutch Lady fibreglass Friesian cows at Section 14, PJ, the Irish Ambassador found himself submitting to a lunch with me. It wasn’t a light lunch. We were dissecting that tricky word ‘culture’. “During my childhood,” Dan Mulhall says, “Irish culture meant […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 23, 2004

Jeritan Hati…

By Nizam Zakaria Jeritan hati seorang wanita yang mencari kebahagiaan dalam segala kesulitan hidup boleh diperhatikan dalam Monolog Seorang Perempuan, salah sebuah dari empat monodrama yang dikumpulkan bawah tajuk Malam Satu Drama. Projek komersial sulung Mekar Budaya Production ini telah pun dipentaskan di MATIC pada Mac 26 dan 27. Jeritan wanita tersebut memang bukan satu […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 15, 2004

Singaporean Couplings

By Pang Khee Teik On a makeshift tent by the Singapore River, Stella Kon took her place behind the microphone. The 60-year-old playwright, looking as matriarchal as her creation, Emily of Emerald Hill, was about to do some serious poetry slam. Her theme this evening was inspired by the People’s Action Party’s early campaign speeches […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 15, 2004

No Political Agenda

By Elaine Tan The elections are over: BN is still the ruling party, the oppositions are still yelping, Anwar is still in prison, and DBKL still controls the increasingly pushover KL theatre scene. In the midst of this, The Actors Studio’s stages Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons, a play based on the story […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 6, 2004

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

By Pang Khee Teik I was wondering where our Malaysian volunteers were. There were supposed to be 50 of them. The play had begun. A lady lying on top of a metallic frame was reciting lines, in somewhat clipped Japanese accent, about waking up and doing things and searching for meaning within daily routines. On […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 1, 2004

May 13 In Our Minds

By Kathy Rowland There aren’t many creative works which explore the riot that broke out on May 13, 1969 in Malaysia. Ibrahim Hussein’s 13 May immediately springs to mind, as do Datuk Noordin Hassan’s play Bukan Lalang Di Tiup Angin and Lloyd Fernando’s novel, Green Is The Colour. Of course, that’s not all there is. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 29, 2004

The Public Ineffectual

By Rey Buono Rey Buono has taught theatre for over 30 years in USA and Singapore, and presently in Malaysia. He had co-directed The Merchant of Venice with Jo Kukathas, and directed Gross Indecency and The Baltimore Waltz (which was also censored in parts by DBKL) for The Instant Café Theatre. In this article, first […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 4, 2004

Are ‘Theatre Baargers’ Elitists?

By Antares Uncle Ant’s Agony and Ecstasy is a monthly column. Uncle Ant will answer questions about anything to do with the world of arts, from how to maintain a soprano girlfriend, to how to pretend to be knowledgeable about paintings, to how to become a soprano girlfriend. Uncle Ant has an answer for everything. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 25, 2004

Island Fever

By Jerome Kugan You know what? I’m sick of reviewing. So, instead of a review, I’ve decided to write eight poems, each inspired by watching the eight short plays that made up Alfian Sa’at’s latest offering, Landmarks: Asian Boys Vol.2 (directed by Ivan Heng for W!ld Rice) which recently ended its sold out premiere run […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 25, 2004

Xenophobia, Necrophilia and Nostalgia

By Pang Khee Teik Marriage of Inconvenience: Playing Doctor It is always amusing when a country decides that its special brand of multi-racial harmony is only special for its own races. Malaysians, muhibbah as we are, tend to stop at the gates of globalisation and cast our collective disapproval on migrant workers. We blame them […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 19, 2004

Highlight This In Orange!

By Toni Kasim If you haven’t kept up with the brouhaha over Five Arts Centre’s permit to stage Election Day, do read Pang Khee Teik’s write-up Dealing with DBKL. Election Day, written by Huzir Sulaiman, directed by Krishen Jit, and performed solely by Jo Kukathas, eventually made it to opening night. It is due to […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 18, 2004

Thespians Anonymous

By Antares What happens when you pick 12 actors with varying degrees of experience and skill, put them on stage, and let them take turns telling personal stories and airing their private feelings about being Malaysian? I imagine it would be a colourful but chaotic hotchpotch. But what if you videotaped more than 200 hours […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 11, 2004

Isteri Bekerja Punca Perceraian

By Uthaya Sankar SB “Iruvar akan mengajak kita berfikir.” Kata-kata itu sudah cukup untuk membuatkan saya berminat menonton drama pentas (teater?) berkenaan di lstana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak pada 7 Februari 2004. Kebetulan, persembahan pada hari berkenaan adalah dalam Bahasa Tamil. Maka, saya berpeluang menonton drama pentas Tamil dalam Bahasa Tamil. Harapan yang saya letakkan pada […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 11, 2004

Dr. Mahathir’s Name Not Allowed?

By Fahmi Fadzil Note: According to Five Arts Centre producer Marion D’Cruz, Election Day has been given a “verbal approval” by the Licensing Department of DBKL to proceed with its performance at The Actors Studio Bangsar from Thursday Feb 12 to Saturday Feb 28. *** Datuk Bandar Y.Bhg. Kol. Datuk Mohmad b Mohd Taufek 9th […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 9, 2004

Kemunculan Kembali Seorang Diva

By Nizam Zakaria Malaysia Theatre Awards: Waterworks Tatkala saya pergi untuk mendapatkan tiket untuk menonton pementasan Dejavu, saya dapati tiket hampir habis. Keadaan dalam teater hampir penuh. Tatkala pementasan ingin dimulakan, masih terdapat beberapa penonton yang dibiarkan masuk dan duduk di atas lantai. Jarang benar rasanya saya melihat sebuah pementasan yang mendapat sambutan begitu hangat […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 6, 2004

Teachers, Mothers & Sugar Daddies

By Pang Khee Teik Malaysia Theatre Awards: Waterworks If you think the Chinese-language theatre in Malaysia is a tad melodramatic, you should have seen their awards show last Saturday Jan 31 at Matic. It seems that we cry at just about anything, whether suffering or celebrating or sitting down absolutely unprovoked. Leading the waterworks was […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 6, 2004

Punggung Saya Macam Mana?

By Zedeck Siew The restaging of Bidin Subari’s Anak Kerbau Mati Emak is quite aesthetically pleasing. Even unlit, the kampong house designed by lrwan lsmadi Shahrim and Razali ltam looks great (with crawlspace among the stilts, a creative third exit for the children in the cast), and, as the lights come on, does not disappoint; […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 21, 2004

Bisikan Lantang

By Nizam Zakaria Bisik merupakan sebuah antologi drama Melayu Singapura oleh tiga penulis mudanya yang berbakat: Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit, Alfian bin Sa’at dan Noor Effendy Ibrahim. Banyak kali saya diberitahu oleh beberapa orang rakan-rakan terdekat (dari Malaysia) bahawa sasterawan dan karyawan Melayu yang besar bertaraf dunia akan muncul dari Singapura. Mereka berkata beglni kerana menurut […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 14, 2004

Chennai Jam

By Charlene Rajendran In its sixth year of festive celebration, last year’s programme at The Park’s The Other Festival in Chennai, India, included works from Taiwan, the USA, France, and different parts of India. Connecting with the tail end of the week-long schedule of events at this festival last December, I caught two performances from […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 14, 2004

Not Another Gay Tragedy

By Mark Augustine A familiar story in the genre of gay fiction: wholesome, studious, clean-cut good-boy (sigh, gush, swoon) meets wry-smiling, over-sexed, truant bad-boy… who smokes! (gasp, oh no!) What ensues is an adolescent tale of adolescent tail and the forbidden love these two boys share but don’t know it yet, and WON’T know for […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 5, 2004

Krishen’s Durian

By Fahmi Fadzil I once read somewhere that a writer, over the course of his lifetime, is really writing just one piece of text. Therefore, for an editor trying to compile a selection of the writer’s works such that it represents his entire oeuvre as well as the writer’s personal journey of growth, the task […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 30, 2003

Communal Menses

By Alfian Sa’at It would be parochial to insist that Singaporean theatre companies only produce plays by indigenous playwrights, but one cannot deny that there are stricter expectations exerted by a local audience sensitive to post-colonial nuances. Globalisation’s double-edged sword: offering greater access to material texts from other countries and yet at the same time, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 24, 2003

To Kill a Lelaki Lembut

By Nizam Zakaria The riskiest gimmick in the Malay theater scene for 2003? There’s really no contest. Especially when the Lelaki Lembut (effeminate men) phenomenon is a much debated and talked about issue in Malaysia recently. Jangan Bunuh Sam (Don’t Kill Sam) is a play written by Zakaria Ariffin, directed by Nam Ron, and performed […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 24, 2003

The Silent Majority

By Zedeck Siew Like half of KL, I have the flu. At seven o’clock on Projek Suitcase 2003’s opening night, mucus blocked up my ears. This is inconvenient, but one side cleared up during intermission with a cup of coffee. Just in time for the shrieks of a bespectacled man with a blowpipe in Faisal […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 19, 2003

Kepelbagaian Dunia Melayu

By Nizam Zakaria Minggu lepas adalah minggu yang agak sibuk dengan adanya persembahan empat buah monolog di Stor Teater, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Projek Suitcase 2003 dianjurkan oleh Pustaka Cipta yang mempersembahkan sebuah pesta monolog oleh Teater Ekamatra. Dalam Projek Suitcase 2003, karya-karya oleh penulis-penulis drama yang dianggap tersohor di kalangan generasi muda dari Malaysia […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 19, 2003

Lyrical, Topical, Moving Asian Theatre

By Antares As a cross-cultural project for “ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year 2003” it was decided that a young Singaporean playwright-director named Goh Boon Teck – chief artistic director of Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble – be commissioned to conjure up a dramatic work incorporating diverse talents from six countries, which would then embark on a 6-nation tour. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 12, 2003

The Different Colours of Asia

By Jeannie Cotter It is the sea which unites different continents of the world. Inside, that sea, lived a mermaid. Hence, the birth of PRISM. PRISM, the brainchild of Yamasaki Yasuaki, was conceived based on an ancient landmark in Hong Kong and also on the idea of linking different ASEAN countries together on a theatrical […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 3, 2003

Weird Isn’t Always Wonderful

By Antares Call me an old stick-in-the-mud, but I’m one of those diehard conservatives who generally hopes to gain some pleasure, joy, insight, epiphany, revelation, or even simple amusement from an evening at the theatre. All I gleaned from A Cherry Bludgeoned, A Spirit Crushed was that the Chinese avant-garde has hit the big time […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 3, 2003

Wild Rice Celebrates an Orwellian Centennial

By Antares “In the world of Animal Farm, most speechifying and public palaver is bullshit and instigated lying, and though many characters are good-hearted and mean well, they can be frightened into closing their eyes to what’s really going on.” – Margaret Atwood It’d been ages since I last read Animal Farm, undoubtedly one of […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 27, 2003

Pratonton: Projek Suitcase 2003

By Nizam Zakaria Saya merasa agak beruntung kerana telah dijemput untuk menyaksikan pratonton “Projek Suitcase”, anjuran Pustaka Cipta yang mempersembahkan sebuah pesta monolog oleh Teater Ekamatra. Pratonton penuh bertenaga dan yang telah menampilkan dua buah karya baru monolog dari Malaysia ini telah diadakan di Stor Teater DBP baru-baru ini (dua buah karya lagi dari Singapura […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 27, 2003

The Edinburgh Arts Festival According to Toby Gough: How You Can Work There, With Your Show, or as a Temp

By Cheryl Lim After having scared his audience with the sheer magnitude of the competition between shows and the logistical nightmare of presenting a show at the Edinburgh Festival (Part 1 and Part 2). Toby Gough goes on to giving a few reassuring hard facts that will get your show staged, or, more modestly (but […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 20, 2003

Buddha and Other Jet Setters

By Pang Khee Teik Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen is often accused of being wanky. As the founder of Theatreworks, one of the bigger companies in Singapore (meaning they get good funding from the government), he is known internationally for his cross-disciplinary works. In the recent Search Hamlet, staged in a castle in Denmark no […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 14, 2003

Shakespeare, Inc

By Antares John Bell is arguably one of the world’s most accomplished Shakespearean actors without a knighthood – a likely successor to late luminaries like Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud. Local theatre-lovers had the rare opportunity to watch an old master at work when the Bell Shakespeare Company recently presented All The World’s […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 12, 2003

The Edinburgh Arts Festival According to Toby Gough: Perseverance and a Killer Instinct is What You Need Above All Else

By Cheryl Lim Last week, Part 1 of the notes on the workshop conducted by Toby Gough and John Lee on October 9 explained the magnitude and the scope of the legendary Edinburgh Arts Festival. Part 2 gets down to the nitty gritty: how can artists present their own work there? Saying it is an […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 12, 2003

The Edinburgh Arts Festival According to Toby Gough: A Mud-Wrestling Fight

By Cheryl Lim A group of local arts practitioners gathered at the Actors Studio Bangsar on October 9, 2003 for a two-hour workshop organised by Kakiseni in collaboration with Genting City of Entertainment, and conducted by Toby Gough, the man behind Lady Salsa as the artistic director, and a participant in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 6, 2003