Isnin, 9 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Ready or knot


Musical comedy Marrying Me dances around the question of bringing a boy home for the holidays.

STILL no boyfriend, ah?" The holiday season means it's that time of year again to face down parents, aunts and grand-relatives as they grill "tragically single" daughters with that dreaded question.

"Men get that too," objects writer Mark Beau de Silva, adding "when you reach 30, it gets stressful. Parents don't ask about life and work anymore, they only ask about your relationship!"

"Even my dad feels I'm this very lonely creature living in KL. One day he suddenly requested the weirdest thing: 'at least get a dog'," says de Silva, laughing wrily.

Joining forces and frustrations with composer Onn San and US-based lyricist EllaRose Chary, de Silva penned Marrying Me, A New Musical, which tells the story of ambitiously single Stephanie, a firm believer of saying "I don't" when it comes to marriage.

Tired of her mother's dogged instance that she tie the not, Stephanie says "yes" to the one person she trusts: herself.

De Silva reveals that the seed of an idea started with an article about a woman in China who married herself.

Matrimonial madness: Stephanie Van Driesen milks her lead role as the quirky bride and Sandra Sodhy is her scheming mum in the musical comedy Marrying Me, A New Musical, playing at PenangPac and KLPac this month.

"Onn San said it was selfish of her, but I felt it was sad. There must have been something that drove her to it," he opines.

The musical, which according to director Christopher Ling is "roughly 60% sung, 40% spoken", will be staged at the Penang and Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centres this month.

Ling explains that Marrying Me is "a lesson in self acceptance, learnt through song."

"The reason I love Mark's writing is how it always starts so light and funny, with really grounded Malaysian characters. Then, when you get to love them, he introduces darker elements," says Ling.

De Silva points out that nowadays, most teenagers have parents who are fighting or divorced. Lightening the mood, Ling calls the musical a screwball comedy at heart.

"For goodness' sake, we've got choruses of singing aunties, matching big wigs and a production line of blind dates for Stephanie!" he gloats.

Stephanie Van Driesen, who plays the eponymous lead character, says such interference is precisely why her character is such a thorny gal.

"She developed these spikes to protect herself, they've no business directing my life," she exclaims.

De Silva reasons that the older generation must have had a reason behind their insistence that their offspring be lawfully wed.

"My grandmother was Taoist and she believed children's responsibility is to pray for their forefathers. Thus, not having kids is a curse. You need kids to pray for you, else you'll be a very sad ghost," he says, sounding dead serious.

"It's interesting how old people seem satisfied when they've done their role to get the next generation married. It's so engrained they don't give a sh** about the person they're 'helping'," says the exasperated songbird.

To this end, Stephanie's mum (Sandra Sodhy) devises a plan to get her daughter back together with old flame, Eugene (Tony Leo).

There is a reason old flames should stay that way though, as Ling and de Silva both agree.

"I tried to set myself up with an old flame, then was pretty quickly reminded why it didn't work out before," sighs de Silva.

Marrying Me, A New Musical will be staged at PenangPac, Straights Quay, Georgetown in Penang daily till Dec 8, and KLPac, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 13-22. Tickets are priced at RM53 (adults) and RM33 (students, TAS card holders). Tickets are also discounted to RM33 for shows on Dec 17 and 18. Visit or call 03-40479000, 04-8991722 to book tickets.

A new formula


Hit comedy show Lawak Ke Der will be staged in English for the first time.

HANS Isaac is no stranger to taking risks. In fact, a large part of the 42-year-old actor's career success can be attributed to simply this: Daring to roll the dice.

After 12 years as a fashion model, Isaac took a leap of faith and gave up his modelling career to try his hand at acting. He landed roles in numerous films and television dramas, even bagging the Most Popular Non-Malay Artiste award – twice! – in the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian. Later, he went behind the scenes and found his footing as a producer and director before finally setting up his very own film, TV and theatre company, Tall Order Productions.

The multi-talented star is rocking the boat once more with the return of popular comedy stage show Lawak Ke Der 3. Staged for the first time in 2011, the comedy show opened to a rousing reception, with tickets selling out within weeks and drawing a record-breaking attendance of 30,000 at the Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur.

Hans, who is the creative and managing director of Tall Order Productions, has decided to run one of the six scheduled shows in English for the first time.

Funnyman Kuah Jenhan will be joining Harith Iskander and Douglas Lim in the English staging of Lawak Ke Der 3 on Dec 6 at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Funnyman Kuah Jenhan will be joining Harith and Lim in the English staging of Lawak Ke Der 3.

"It's quite rare to have a local English live comedy show staged at a 1,400-capacity venue," Isaac said in a phone interview, referring to the Panggung Sari in Istana Budaya where the show will be staged. "Usually, you'll see foreign comedy acts booking these large halls, but even so, most will opt for a smaller venue."

Isaac is confident the English edition of Lawak Ke Der will set itself apart from other English-language comedy shows, especially those featuring overseas comedians. "Most foreign comedians tend to use foreign content. I think our show will give them a run for their money as our local acts understand the local culture," he explained.

Funnymen Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim and Kuah Jenhan are tasked to dish out the laughs in English during the show. "Harith is an established comedian, Douglas is known for his fresh content and Jenhan, an up-and-coming comedian, will pump new blood to the show," Hans said about the acts. "They will each perform a 30 to 40-minute set before ending the night with a (three-way) collaboration."

Harith and Lim will also perform alongside hilarious duo, Jambu – Zamatul Amri and Yussry Edo – and Nabil of Raja Lawak fame in the rest of the shows in Bahasa Malaysia.

Lawak Ke Der 3 kicked off yesterday and will run till Dec 8 with its English staging on Dec 6 at Panggung Sari in Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur. Tickets are priced at RM46, RM96, RM126, RM176 and RM196. For more information, call 03-4147 8600 or visit


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