Isnin, 20 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

A heart that's filial

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

The play Home Together aims to convey important messages through the stories of residents at an old folks home.

THE Confucian value of filial piety is about respect and devotion to one's parents and the elderly, central to most traditional Chinese families where children are taught to uphold this virtue.

But is it eroding in the face of modernisation and the busy lives we lead? Possibly, when you consider that Chinese New Year happens to be the only time when some families gather and reunite over dinner.

In this context, theatrical production Home Together aims to drive home the essence of filial piety and the importance of cherishing your loved ones and family while they are still alive.

Presented by the Bekas Journal Production Team, it will be a bilingual play in Mandarin and Hokkien (with English subtitles), and staged in Klang where Hokkien is predominantly spoken among the Chinese community.

The play opens with a scriptwriter going on a journey to research his new project, and finding inspiration from the stories of four residents in an old folks home who narrate their life stories to him over the course of the 90-minute production.

Material for the script was gathered from the company's own visits to such homes for the elderly, as well as interviews with their own parents.

Director Noah Yap, who also doubles as art director, says he often grapples with the sad truth of how much his parents have aged whenever he returns home to see them.

"It's saddening when we only go back during festive occasions; we don't know what might happen (to our parents) tomorrow," says Yap, 22. This view forms the primary basis of the first story – that people are so busy carving out their own careers, they hardly have time to think about going home.

Two other stories are drawn from Yap's observations of his own family's dynamics. One revolves around a hardcore gambler and wife-beater, who becomes comatose after an accident.

Upon waking, he realises that his family has left without a trace, and so he is forced to live in a home, his heart heavily laden with regret.

Yap candidly says the situation mirrors that of his own father, who gambled heavily in the past; however, his story has a happier ending as the family rallied to his father's side and he changed for the better.

Another story touches on the relationship between a woman and her daughter-in-law, partly inspired by conversations Yap had with his mother, behind his sister-in-law's back!

The final story focuses on courtship during the 1970s, when there were no mobile phones or social media to stay connected, and how lovers back then survived the trials and tribulations of romance.

Producer Robin Khor says the company aims to reach out and share the underlying message of Home Together with as many people as possible rather than try to cultivate artistic appreciation in a city that hasn't had too much exposure to theatre and the performing arts.

This is why they kept the ticket prices affordable in order to entice the masses, who should find the stories relevant and relatable.

"We even went down to coffeeshops and wet markets with banners and leaflets to promote and sell our tickets, so this marketing campaign is slightly different that way," says Khor, 21.

He also plays one of the supporting roles in the third story, as the son who is caught between his traditional mother with her own beliefs and a modern wife who detests the conventional customs that a woman must bear children.

"It is a very real situation and dilemma to relate to. In the end, not knowing who to choose, my 'mother' decides to check in at the old folks home alone because she no longer feels needed," says Khor.

"When we think about it, it makes me wonder how parents can raise all their children yet none can care for their parents in their old age."

One of the play's main cast members, Mike Chuah, says he is still working on getting his expressions and emotions right for a live audience as this is his theatrical debut.

Previously, he worked on commercials, TV dramas and films, which he reckons are quite different from what theatre requires of the performer.

For Home Together, Chuah portrays two aspects of one character – the gambling addict and the remorseful individual he becomes several decades later. He will also be singing a little, when his character reminisces about the music of his younger days.

What has his experience been like, collaborating with the younger generation? Chuah finds it tremendously satisfying, and is happy to support and see the young having dreams and such mature ideas.

"It's touching and some of us even cried while rehearsing our roles. That's how it spoke to us," he adds.

The production will also include live singing of classic songs from the 1960s to the modern era, replete with authentic costumes to suit each time period covered in the play.

> There will be two shows of Home Together on Jan 18, at 3pm and 8pm. Tickets are priced at RM15 each. It will be staged at the Hokkien Association Klang, Jln Batu Tiga Lama , Klang, Selangor. For enquiries, call 011-1122-6422 (Sing Ying).

Smells like teen spirit

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

IN ANOTHER life, Scott McQuaid might have been a martial arts movie star.

For a while, he was even getting parts – usually as the bad guy.

You may have seen him aiming a kick or throwing a punch somewhere in the background of 1990s Hong Kong hits Bullet In The Head and Ebola Syndrome.

So the question is, how does an English-born martial arts-obsessed fighter like McQuaid end up handling the performing arts curriculum at Cempaka International School, Cheras?

It's a long story, but we've got time to kill.

We're sitting at Coffea Coffee in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur waiting for Jez Izman and Ilyana Fizal – the two talented students about to bring his debut one-act comedy About Last Night to life, at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre this weekend.

He fills me in on the answer to my question in an accent that is unmistakably from Essex.

"When I was a kid I used to follow my brother boxing, and then I saw Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon, and that's how I got into martial arts.

"Then when I left school at 16 I found silat. There was this Indonesian guy teaching. It was very exotic."

His interest in silat and martial arts in general took him to Indonesia, and then to Hong Kong.

That's how McQuaid got into acting.

He'd found his second passion, aside from martial arts.

So, the impulsive teenager decided to go back to England and attend acting school, for two years, before setting off to try his luck launching an acting career in America.

He spent two years honing his craft in tiny basement theatres throughout the Big Apple and amongst all kinds of weird and wonderful artists, and then moved to Los Angeles.

But failed audition after failed audition, McQuaid came to an important life conclusion.

He went back to Britain to get a degree in Performing Arts.

During his studies, he realised that despite his love for serious drama, what he really excelled at was comedy.

Soon, he was writing, directing and acting in comedy skits. And when he graduated, the itch to do something different struck again.

"The day I handed in my last assignment, I went to the airport with my backpack, and got the cheapest flight to Asia."

After travelling around Thailand and Japan, teaching here and there, he came to Malaysia.

And that's where he eventually came across an advertisement for the position of drama teacher at Cempaka, where he's been conducting classes and directing the school's annual stage productions for four years now.

As he finishes his story, Jez and Ilyana arrive.

Both are talented 17-year-old students at the school. McQuaid has worked with them on a number of school plays and musicals.

He's always wanted to make his foray into the local theatre scene, but a busy schedule kept him from it – up till now that is.

He'd written About Last Night a while ago. And when he recently decided to stage it with BluBricks, the language and performing arts academy that he also teachers at, he knew he wanted to cast Jez and Iliyana as the leading roles.

"I wrote the play two years ago. It was inspired by my experiences as a teenager." That's how About Last Night starts off.

"The story opens with two strangers waking up next to each other with no recollection of the previous night.

"They then have to trace back events through a series of clues to figure out what happened."

In the play, Jez plays Adam, the guy, and Ilyana plays Eve, the girl.

This may be their first foray into doing a production out of school, but they are definitely mature enough to be able to discuss the play's themes without any giggles.

McQuaid gives us his best shot at describing the show: "Unexpected. Witty. Awkward. Playful."

> Catch About Last Night at Black Box, Damansara Performing Arts Centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on Jan 18 and 19. Shows at 8pm. Tickets are priced at RM50. You can book by calling 03-4065 0001, 03-4065 0002 or visit


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved