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Review

Abdul Multhalib Musa: Travelling with Moving

By Eva McGovern Stillness. Stasis. Movement. Action. Sitting in traffic on the way to Wei Ling Gallery to see Abdul Multhalib Musa’s recent solo show Twist, I didn’t have a book, newspaper, I-pod or other useful strategy to pass the time en route. I glanced at my taxi driver who was reading an article on […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 18, 2008

Big Art and Little People

By Rachel Jenagaratnam Some confessions ought to start this piece off nicely: First, when asked to review Multhalib Musa’s recent exhibition at Wei-Ling Gallery, I had absolutely no idea who the artist was. The exhibition’s Chubby Checkeresque title, Twist, suggested milkshakes and black-and-white linoleum flooring, but these American dreams came to a halt when I […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 17, 2008

Of Boys and Breath Mints

By Yasmin Zetti Martin What kind of school has toughening-up camps that they force their “effeminate” students to attend? The kind of school located in front of a railway station that is known as a red light district? Or is this just the school playwright Shanon Shah went to? The school in question is the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 11, 2008

Shirley Lim’s Layered Confection

By Grace Ng A daughter rapes and kills her father. This was how I first came to know Shirley Lim – through a short story entitled Mr. Tang’s Girls that I had to analyze for a literature class. Lim grew up in Malaysia but moved to America in her twenties. It is from her diasporic […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 2, 2008

The Virtues of Sin

By Gabrielle Low In Bernice Chauly’s small but substantial collection of poetry and prose, The Book of Sins, words indeed rage forth from the page, and they do so with a searing yet unembellished forcefulness. It’s hard not to note, first and foremost, the urgent, pounding rhythm to some of the lines in this collection. […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 19, 2008

Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”

By Kathy Rowland Persepolis is based on the best-selling graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi. Directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, featuring the voices of Danielle Darrieux and Cathering Deneuve, it won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, along with a clutch of other international awards and nomination. Like […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • February 14, 2008

Tembak: Low Yi Chin & Chong Kim Chiew’s “A White House and A Temporary Road”

By Zedeck Siew A red Chinese box-altar stands on one of The Annexe Gallery’s upper levels; its idol, a cross-legged figure with a white beard, looks over a space in which two-by-fours, of varying sizes and each encrusted with a layer of fresh asphalt, lay scattered. Some distinguish themselves: “Platform” has a panel raised as […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 11, 2007

Every Frog Has Its Day

By Amir Hafizi Urgh. For some reason, when the arts community decides to embark on a production that have frogs who dream of singing, they get all “cheesed out”. All that reservoir of cheesiness, all that pent-up corniness. Yes, that corny energy, unleashed upon the unsuspecting public. Just look at “Frogway” ‘s television spot — […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 27, 2007

Tembak: Wed 28, Feb – Wed 7, Mar 2007

By Kakiseni Kg Berembang Mon 5, Mar 2007 Kg Berembang was a place I knew about only because its children had been staging, with the efforts of a group of volunteers, wayang kulit performances to tell the history of their village. I was also vaguely aware that the community was having problems with the Majlis […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 9, 2007

Death and Tears

By J-Teoh Fancy costumes and hoity-toity language do not generally agree with me in the theatre, so it was with much trepidation that I went to see Wong Phui Nam’s Anike: A Play In Verse (at Dewan Budaya USM on the January 26th and 27th, it also played at Jalan Bukit Bintang’s Wisma SGM the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 1, 2007

Enjoy the Silence

By Shanon Shah The semi-autobiographical domestic drama by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, Betrayal (staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre Pentas 2 between January 5th and 14th), starts off with a scene between a pair of former adulterous lovers, Emma and Jerry. From their conversation we eventually learn that, apart from their affair, another […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • January 16, 2007

Roti Bakar With Planta

By Lucy Friedland I don’t bother with film shorts in the States. I think of American shorts as a training ground for young, credit­ card-toting wannabe filmmakers, who haven’t yet honed their chops enough for someone — besides their parents -­- to fund their first feature. Why muck around with American shorts, anyway? When hundreds […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • December 20, 2006

Stiff Monster

By Amir Hafizi Watching the KLPac production of Frankenstein in Love, I was somehow reminded of a play I saw at a high-school theatre competition about 10 years back. It was a staging of Keris Laksaman Bentan, a popular text about the assassination of Sultan Mahmud. Everyone had packets of rose syrup hidden under their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • November 9, 2006

The Funky Guru

By Matt Armitage Finding out about international acts performing live in Malaysia can be a bit like playing with the lottery: you never know what to expect. There are the popular, well-advertised stadium shows, like the Pussycat Dolls and INXS, of course — but more interesting are the smaller shows, promoted through word of mouth […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 24, 2006

Why Care?

By Lainie Yeoh Should I be afraid to point a camera at something if it’s wrong? A few nights ago, I watched a stout, thuggish man collect RM2 from people parking along Tengkat Tung Shin. I was tempted to point my little digital camera at him and record a video, to later upload on Youtube.com […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 19, 2006

Lepidopterists – the Musical

By Jess C Those who are familiar with classical Chinese literature will have heard of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, the legendary, ill-fated ‘Butterfly Lovers’ of yore. When Dama Orchestra — almost synonymous for their high quality and unique presentations of Shanghai-style shi dai qu — decided to stage this well-loved tale as the group’s […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 17, 2006

Listening to Pomeloes

By CH Loh What do the films Lelaki Komunis Terakhir and Gubra have in common? Obvious answer: they were both Malaysian films that stirred local controversy in recent times. Less obvious answer: they both contained music by composer Hardesh Singh. When one talks about film, composers rarely get mentioned. “Film is not a medium for […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 11, 2006

Pillage the Village

By Amir Hafizi The programme leaflet for Anak Bulan Di Kampong Wa’ Hassan, staged recently at KLPac, has a sort of disclaimer. Roughly translated, it says: ‘Far from a romantic lament about a nostalgic Malay kampung, the play is an exploration of the true value of a kampung filled with original characters; and the true […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 27, 2006

Domestic Stress Test

By Zedeck Siew At the door to Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan, which ran between September 7 – 10 at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Stor Teater, one is given a slip of paper titled Stress Test: the printout contains eight floral configurations, subtly coloured to appear — as the eye moves across the page […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 20, 2006

Sejarah Masa Depan

By Saifullizan Tahir Majlis pelancaran buku From Majapahit to Putrajaya –– yang mana saya terlewat dan bila sampai majlis sudahpun selesai. Mujurlah berkesempatan duduk sama menikmati teh tarik bersama beberapa teman yang masih berlegar di situ. Pada ketika inilah saya dirapati oleh Kathy untuk membuat ulasan buku Farish. Ulasan buku saya yang sebelum ini adalah […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 7, 2006

Street Smart Heritage

By Zedeck Siew The entrance to Khoo Kongsi, perhaps one of Penang’s most iconic locations, is a porte cochère that precedes facing rows of empty shophouses; buntings line this street tonight, announcing ‘DiGi’s “Amazing Malaysians” and “Madame Heritage Heboh”. Up ahead, a banner saying Anak-anak Kota spans the wall that is the back-end of an […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • September 6, 2006

The Scenic Bridge of Ipoh

By Nigel Skelchy There is always that moment of trepidation when a curtain rises on a musical for the first time. If the impact of the first scene is less than a sonic boom, it muffles the rest of the musical. What more an all Malaysian musical written by two untried and untested neophytes? It […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 24, 2006

Bohemian Academy

By CH Loh Long long ago in a galaxy far far away there was a land whose people enjoyed a good twist or two, and whose womenfolk wore tight fitting kebayas that accentuated their curves, and original songs and movies were peppered with naughty fun. It was a bygone era — when it was all […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 24, 2006

Baggage Check

By Amir Hafizi Break-ing (Ji Po) Ka Si Pe Cah, at first glance, looks like an ‘Osman, Mutusamy, Lai Kok Seng’ production. You know, a forced ‘muhibbah’ project. Just like in those text books we used in school. They even mention it in their website, touting it as an “inter-cultural collaboration” between three theatre directors […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 22, 2006

Music Has The Right to Children

By Zalina Lee I was sent for the opening ceremony of the 27th International Society of Music Educators (ISME) World Conference, a weeklong affair at the KL Convention Centre, and it turned out to be a banquet dinner, along with the obligatory speeches and formalities, and NO CONCERT. I was initially very impressed with the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 18, 2006

Life is Beautiful

By CH Loh Twenty years ago in a small basement room in a school in Singapore there was a piano, and on weekends a secret gathering took place around it. Young aspiring divas would convene and live out their dreams of stardom, emulating their favourite Broadway heroines belting out show tunes with attitude and imaginary […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 3, 2006

You Must Go On

By Philip Koh This double review first appeared in Sunday Star, Aug 1998. Damned To Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) By James Knowlson Samuel Beckett – The Last Modernist By Anthony Cronin Samuel Beckett is a master of 20th Century literature. He straddles world literature casting his influence beyond his Anglo-Irish, French, German […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • August 2, 2006

Tidak Seniman Hilang di Dunia

By Yati Hj Kaprawi Melalui seni, U-Wei Haji Saari sentiasa meneroka alam pemikiran baru. Isu-isu dan sifat manusia yang kompleks seperti identiti sesuatu bangsa pun dipaparkannya. “Kalau takut meneroka, baik saya berhenti berfikir,” ujarnya. Kali ini U-Wei mencabar lagi isu identiti bangsa dengan pementasan barunya bertajuk Wangi Jadi Saksi. Ia mengisahkan peristiwa bersejarah dalam dunia […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 27, 2006

Rockin’ in the Free World

By Chuah Siew Eng Music as a tool of political consciousness doesn’t happen often enough — perhaps unsurprisingly for a society wary about the uncontrolled consequences of freedom of expression. But that rare occasion of bands banding together to bandy an important issue did happen recently when, on the last weekend of May, groups like […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 12, 2006

Il Diva

By Lisa Ho Most people know that an opera “ain’t over till the fat lady sings”. Originating from a reference to Wagner’s Brunhilde singing the “Fire Song”, the sight of a shrieking fat lady in a steel bra and war helmet seems to be the accepted image of divas who sing in fat, polished tones […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 4, 2006

Artistic Intifada

By CH Loh The Wall: Breaking point Representing the concrete wall being built to fence off the West Bank from the rest of Israel are seven huge grey vertical panels on the stage at the Drama Centre, Singapore. These panels dwarf the seven characters whose lives revolve around the towering slabs. But just when their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • July 4, 2006

Free Winnie

By Ruhayat X “Apa erti semua tadi tu?” kata makcik yang telah mencegatkan dirinya bertentangan dengan aku tu. “Saya… tak berapa faham.” Aku gunakan terma “makcik” tu in a loose sense, sebab sebenarnya kalau aku berselisih dengan dia di jalanan and I didn’t know she had a grown-up daughter, hiris pergelangan tangan aku takkan sangka […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 29, 2006

A Room with a View

By Zalina Lee Theatre diva and award-winning set designer Edwin Sumun is the interior decorator for the recently opened Top Room along Jalan Kia Peng. Edwin’s magic touch had transformed what was the upper floor of a restaurant into a jazz bar. The night we were there, he was also the MC, a stand-in manager […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 21, 2006

Alien Nations

By CH Loh We learn something new everyday. I for example learnt that the new politically correct term for foreign workers — you know, the people who tend our kids and clean our homes 24 hours a day (if possible, if not then at least 18 hours), clean the streets, serve us drinks at the […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 20, 2006

Unequal Partnership

By J-Teoh Are double bills the fashion nowadays? Directed by up-and-coming 20-year old director Goh Fung Shuan, Noise Performance House’s double bill Brothers. Beloved kicked off to a colourful and flamboyant start with Brothers. A coming-of-age tale of two orphan boys, not actually brothers, who leave their welfare home on a journey into the world, […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • June 17, 2006

No Higher Love

By J-Teoh Spending a Friday night out with two unmarried, middle-aged Englishmen who still live with their mothers is not my idea of a fun date, but apparently personal ads can be deceiving, especially in the case of Graham Whittaker and Gus Gascoigne, at the Actors Studio Greenhall, Penang. Still, you would have to play […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 7, 2006

Sedang Ingin Bercinta

By Remin Noir Apa sebenarnya berlaku pada petang panas terik hari sabtu 15 April yang lepas? Khabarnya terjadi satu peristiwa kontroversi di dalam iklim hiburan muzik di Malaysia. Ramai karyawan muzik Malaysia yang tidak bersetuju dengan acara keramaian yang jelas menganak-tirikan kelompok pemuzik tempatan. Asalnya acara sebegini adalah bertujuan untuk bersuka-ria malah juga menikmat nuansa […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • May 5, 2006

Pent-up House

By Sherry Siebel Maybe far too many evenings spent captive watching fusty, antediluvian and embarrassingly démodé British Airways Playhouse productions over the years in the name of journalism have caused me to despise them more than a little. They’re always the goddamn same. They’re always mawkish farces, which means that the usual accelerating kerfuffle arising […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 25, 2006

Instant Latte Theatre

By Lainie Yeoh ROJAK! ended with a shower of empty Marlboro boxes, several successfully aimed at my head — and one actually thwacked me in the eye. I reckon this is the only show I’ve been to where the reviewer was attacked before the review was written. ROJAK!, presented by The Oral Stage with their […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 20, 2006

The Umur of Innocence

By Ruhayat X Masa sekolah rendah dulu aku ramai member Cina, sebab parents aku for whatever reason lebih suka bergaul dengan cikgu-cikgu Cina colleagues diorang. Ada sorang member aku tu, nama dia Mun. Mun ni badan dia gempal. Muka dia bulat, kulit dia putih bersih, bukan kuning-kuning macam setengah orang Cina. Aku dengan dia start […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 14, 2006

Where Muftis Fear to Tread

By Toni Kasim Gubra raises a whole pile of socio-religio issues — some may even consider it somewhat overburdened — and in a heavily censored society, you really want to credit Yasmin Ahmad for using narrow windows of opportunities to test the limits of national and social discourse, even if some viewers may come away […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • April 14, 2006

Putting the “Ha” Back in Harold Pinter

By Ruhayat X The Homecoming, typical of Harold Pinter’s plays, starts out innocently enough, with a normal domestic scene between an old man and his son. It is not long, however, before you start realising that, as it is with life, what you see on the surface is not all that it seems. The plot […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • March 29, 2006

Salesman Yang Hidup

By Faisal Tehrani Terlalu banyak yang baik-baik untuk dikatakan mengenai produksi Death of a Salesman arahan Roselina Johari Mohd Khir dari 17 hingga 20 Oktober lalu. Dalam bulan Oktober ini Jabatan Teater Akademi Seni Kebangsaan di bawah pimpinan pemenang SEA Write Award 2001, saudara Zakaria Ariffin memberikan kita Syakuntala, Death of a Salesman, Mak Yong […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 22, 2001

Haunted Theatre: Not Happy Together

By Pang Khee Teik It is supposed to be a scene of bittersweet romance. Two female Chinese Opera performers, Mei (played by Li Yan) and Nan (Lee Pei) lie together on a bench under a hanging paper umbrella. As Mei moves to the chair to get ready to leave, Nan kneels down and helps her […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 22, 2001

Smorgasbord: A-Z of Spinning Gasing (Rampai Sari: “Spinning Gasing” dari A ke Z)

By Amir Muhammad Klik di sini untuk versi Bahasa Malaysia yang diterjemahkan oleh Abd. Latiff Bidin. A is for ARIFF. A campy Malay character played by Edwin Sumun, which explains why the campiness is more convincing than the Malayness. I kept waiting for him to come out with the revelation that he was an adopted […]

  • Azwan Ismail
    Azwan Ismail
  • October 17, 2001