PETALING JAYA, March 16 — Theatregoers can look forward to new shows by the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (Klpac) following a five-month temporary closure due to the movement control order (MCO).
The theatre company is back again on Thursday, beginning with a recorded performance of Kevin Kerr’s Unity (1918) that will be streamed online via Cloud Theatre.
The Actors Studio production revolves around a small town called Unity in Saskatchewan, Canada amid the 1918 flu pandemic that claimed 20 million to 50 million lives.
Kerr’s play which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2002 examines the arrival of a deadly virus in a remote town and its residents’ attempts to survive, find love and deal with death in the face of one of human history’s deadliest epidemics.
A relevant piece befitting the new normal as Malaysians commemorate the first anniversary of the MCO, Unity is directed by Tung Jit Yang and co-directed by Dawn Cheong.
“We wanted to give life to a theatre that could no longer hold an audience.
“We wanted to tell the stories of these ‘fictional’ characters living a real moment of our collected history, a historic moment that has tragically become our lived present.
“I hope this recording of Unity sends a message that we are not gone, that the essence of the arts, the theatre, of story remained alive and thriving, adapting to the times, refusing to expire,” said Tung.
The play which was shot in Pentas 1 at Klpac features 11 diverse actors including Claudia Low, Sukania Venugopal, Jon Chew, Ho Lee Ching and Qahar Aqilah.
This production is inspired by the Dogme-95 movement, a filmmaking movement which started in Denmark that excludes special effects and technological gimmicks to concentrate on the story and acting.
The play will also be streamed to a global audience with two international streaming times for New Zealand and the US.
Ticket sales will go to the actors and artistes as well as raise funds for Klpac and The Actors Studio that recorded an RM2 million loss due to Covid-19.
After Unity, Klpac will open its doors to audiences with The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat’s Bollywood Dreams from March 24 to March 28.
It will be Klpac’s first live show with audiences since October 2020.
Bollywood Dreams is a labour of love by theatre veteran Datuk Faridah Merican who spent almost two years trying to stage it.
“With multiple cast changes and other setbacks due to the constantly shifting schedules, I decided to bite the bullet and pushed ahead for an online premiere in 2021.
“Then, just two weeks shy of the recording date, our prayers were answered when Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri announced that live performances would finally be allowed (after much lobbying), albeit with strict SOPs in place.
“It was nothing short of a miracle. We are grateful, relieved and excited,” Faridah said.
Bollywood Dreams is based on Malaysian playwright Mark Beau de Silva’s multi-award-winning play Big Head Potato Head about ordinary folks with big dreams.
The charming tale tells the story of two brothers growing up in 1980s Sungai Petani who escape their mundane lives by re-enacting scenes from their favourite Bollywood films.
The cast line-up includes Tin Raman, Ian Skatu, Ranessa, Theyakaraja, Charles Roberts and Alyce Michelle Joseph along with two musicians Sivenesh Gopal on the tabla and Shaan Yogasingam on the sitar.
Klpac is encouraging the public to buy a ticket to help them stay afloat — the theatre company has to raise RM3.3 million by December 2021 to allow them to pay staff, artistes and crew.
Online premiere: March 18 (8pm)
Malaysia — March 20 (3pm, 8pm), March 21 (9am, 8pm), March 27, 28 (8pm)
Price: RM35, RM70, RM100 (Patron of the Arts)
For ticketing information and other time zones, click here.
Preview Night: March 24, 25 (8.30pm)
Ticket price: RM24
Normal show: March 26, 27, 28 (8.30pm)
Ticket price: RM60, RM80, RM100 (Patron of the Arts), RM45 (TAS Card, seniors above 60, students and disabled).
Click here to purchase or call Klpac box office at 03-4047 9000 (e-tickets only, strictly no over the counter sales).