I first came to Hamlet in high school. We watched the Kenneth Branagh movie, had to analyse the “To be, or not to be” speech. Analyse in the sense of reading it closely and saying something about what Hamlet is really saying. My teenage self was excited with the possibilities of that. I could claim that Hamlet was saying anything I wanted. I merely had to gather the evidence. I gathered the evidence, like a detective, but the evidence did not support my arguments. Reading used to be an exercise in power, in imposing meaning on the text. I learned that the evidence determined what claims could be made of a character and a text. Reading became a listening exercise. Shakespeare is challenging to…
Diari Wanita…Episod Kak Ani & Nyonya is a production that deals in doubles. Presented in February at Istana Budaya, it tells the stories of two women from two different countries told in tandem, as guided by the vision of one director, Rosminah Tahir. One story illustrates the journey of YB Dato’ Rohani Abdul Karim, our Minister of Women, Family and Community Development (the ministry supported this production), with anecdotes from her childhood, teen years and young adulthood presented through monologues. The other is a comedy by Indonesian writer Wisran Hadi, staged for the seventh time – our very own Madea! – telling the story of Nyonya, a young matriarch trying to protect her wealth from both a wily antique dealer and the determined grandchildren…
Jafar Panahi is maybe best known as the Iranian filmmaker who smuggled an illegally recorded film out of his home country in a USB drive hidden inside a cake. This Is Not a Film was shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won many awards but the story of his career started out a little more simply and involved no baked goods that we know of, with his first feature The White Balloon released in 1995. I showed up to Kelab Filem Bangsar’s screening of the movie knowing only the title and that they’d be serving food. Rumah Titi’s front drive was turned into a makeshift wayang pacak with some very simple ingredients: a digital projector, a laptop and a white sheet hanging…
GOVERNMENT policing affecting freedom of expression in the arts is not new. Comedy group Instant Café Theatre was banned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for a period, over a decade ago. This was after the actors defied a government directive to remove “all references to government policies, government agencies and mention of any person dead or alive.” The Seksualiti Merdeka festival was banned by the police in 2011. In 2013, police questioned artist Anurendra Jegadeva for an art piece expressing solidarity with Muslim Iraqis, after a report was lodged alleging the artist was insulting Islam. From live performances to festivals to art pieces, the government is now demonstrating their interest in policing the showing of films. The latest government action impacting the arts…
This is the flyer for Sudden Death, a participatory performance in memory of Teoh Beng Hock.
1. Light a candle for Teoh Beng Hock.
2. Lie on the ground, on your right side.
3. Position left leg 90 degrees away from torso. Right leg should be pointed 45 degrees from your left leg.
4. Position both arms 45 degrees from hip.
5. Don’t cry. Don’t emo. Don’t ‘improvise’. Just stay still until candle burns out, and pay respect.
Sudden Death was directed by Mark Teh, and performed numerous times in 2009, the year of political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s death. It was first performed in Findars, 6 Aug 2009, as part of the final Improv Lab @ Findars’ Space. It was also performed at Pekan Frinjan 5.0, organised by Frinjan, in Dataran Shah Alam in 7 Nov 2009 — not too far away from the MACC building.
Following that, Sudden Death was included as one of the 7-part theatre piece DELUSIONS 惑 KHAYALAN: The Year In A Word 今年一字 Setahun Dalam Kata, produced by Pentas Project, which took place in Annexe Central Market, 17–20 December 2009. The Annexe performance also included a projection of Teoh Beng Hock’s silhouette by Bryan Chang, which the participants could lie down beside.
From the Sudden Death performance at Annexe, Central Market (picture courtesy of Mark Teh)
In this performance, Mark Teh was highlighting his concern over the deaths of many individuals in custody from 2003–2009, and noted that through the politicking and media spin, Teoh had become an abstract concept to Malaysians. Teoh was not the first to die in police custody, although as the first ‘political death’, he became a symbol of the power abuse all Malaysians could be subject to from the authorities.
In January 2011, a coroner’s inquest will rule that Teoh’s death was neither homicide or suicide. In July 2011, the Royal Commission of Inquiry then officially attributed the death to suicide, though many doubts lingered over the case.
Recently, on 5 September 2014, the Court of Appeal set aside the coroner’s open verdict in the inquest, and unanimously ruled the death was caused by multiple injuries from the fall, a result accelerated by an unlawful act or acts of persons unknown — inclusive of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers who were involved in his arrest and investigation. [Click for more info]
The flyer in this picture above was taken from the Annexe performance. Mark Teh is (to gloriously simplify) a part of arts collective Five Arts Centre. You can follow his personal updates on Twitter at @whoismarkteh.
On 5 Oct, those in Johor will be able to enjoy Five Arts Centre’s production of Gostan Forward (performed by Marion D’Cruz and directed by Mark Teh) in JB Arts Festival. ∗
Southeast Asia’s first festival of ideas, the Cooler Lumpur Festival, returns to Publika this weekend with the theme #Fast. Established in 2013, the festival aims to provide audience members with great discussions and dialogue. If you believe in the power of a good idea, this is the festival for you. This is our selection of events from the festival for you, dear reader: Friday, 20 June #Fast Talks: Opening Keynote – F**** Censorship! by Miguel Syjuco, 830-930pm This years #Fast Talks Lecture series at the Cooler Lumpur Festival will be opened by distinguished Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco who represents the bright future of Asian literary talent. Beginning a series of lectures by distinguished guests, with the ever present and timely topic of censorship and…
The PJ Laugh Fest is Asia’s biggest annual comedy festival, and it officially kicks off today with an eclectic range of comedy shows for the next fortnight. These are the shows we recommend: Faulty Towers — The Dining Experience 14 May–1 June, 7:30PM (and additional 12:30pm show on weekends); RM185 (Dinner), RM165 (Lunch). Fans of the beloved British comedy series Fawlty Towers will get the best of its gags and a wonderful 3-course meal, served by the neurotic Basil, domineering Sybil and language-challenged Manuel (characters made famous by John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs). Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong — so make sure you come for the food, stay for the laughs, and let Faulty Towers serve you the…
The KL International Jazz & Arts Festival returns this year with yet another noteworthy lineup — expect performances by acclaimed international jazz stars and the best local talents. The highlight of the festival will be pianist/vocalist Diane Schuur, a longtime disciple of Dinah Washington and other legendary jazz singers of the ’40s and ’50s. Schuur has racked up two Grammy awards and three Grammy nominations in a recording career spanning nearly three decades. Also of note amongst the international artists are critically-acclaimed jazz pianist Keiko Matsui, and Grammy-nominated recording artist John Beasley. Malaysian artists performing include Jordan Rivers Band, Rachel Guerzo and Bassment Syndicate.
THE SEA IS OURS is an anthology of Southeast Asian steampunk. We are looking for steampunk stories that are set in Southeast Asia, or secondary worlds that evoke Southeast Asia, with Southeast Asian protagonists, in any of the countries that make up the region: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. We are looking historically and technologically-innovative stories. Steampunk, for the purposes of this anthology, is defined as an aesthetic that combines technofantasy, anachronism, retro-futurism, an alternate history / world, and the evocation of an incipient industrial revolution. How does the steampunk aesthetic look, feel, sound, smell, or taste like in these regions? What kind of technologies would grow in resource-rich SEAsia? What do…
The most interesting theatre show in Klang Valley this month is likely White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. The playwright, Nassim Soleimanpour of Iran, conceived an idea for a show that could travel without him, and would require no directors, no stage, no rehearsals. Every night, an actor receives the script and performs a cold reading of the text to a live audience. Much of what delights about the show is seeing how dramatically the energy and feel of it changes depending on the actor onstage, and the audience members pulled up with him/her.
It’s a show that addresses the more sinister questions of life with a lighthearted voice — but the questions will stick in your head after. The point of the show is to be surprised, so we don’t want to give away anything — but do make time to watch it. The play is performed in three languages in Malaysia (KL and Penang): Malay, English, and Mandarin.
Below are the details for talkback with the people behind White Rabbit Red Rabbit (including playwright Nassim Soleimanpour), and a theatre workshop for those interested.
A workshop for theatre makers, playwrights, theatre students and theatre goers.
Is it possible to have theatrical performance by a non- the theatrical frame? And if, the frame is subverted in this way, is it still theatre? Or has the whole event evaporated back into life?
DATE: Feb 24 & 25 (Mon & Tue) TIME: 7.00pm- 11.00pm VENUE: Five Arts Centre @TTDI, Studio (Address:27,27A, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman 7, Taman Tun Dr.Ismail, 60000,KL) FEE: RM60/pax DRESS CODE: Dress Comfortably PAYMENT METHOD:
1.Bank into The Instant Café Theatre Company (Bank Acc: RHB Bank 21403500133062), send the bank in slip to the email below.
2.Pay cash to Hui Ting (Stage Manager) OR Tania (F.O.H) during the performance of White Rabbit Red Rabbit.
Kindly email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a slot. Limited to the first 30 applicants.
Nassim Soleimanpour is an independent multidisciplinary theatre maker from Tehran, Iran. Best known for his play White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Dublin Fringe Festival Best New Performance, Summerworks Outstanding New Performance Text Award and The Arches Brick Award (Edinburgh Fringe) as well as picking up nominations for a Total Theatre and Brighton Fringe Pick of Edinburgh Award. Nassim is an experienced public speaker, most recently as a panellist for the In Conversation series.